About the University
UMass Amherst is the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts system. The university is located in Western Massachusetts in one of the safest and most beautiful areas of the United States. The campus is within easy reach of many of the most vibrant and exciting metropolitan areas in the country. For example, UMass Amherst is 118 kilometers west of Boston, 219 kilometers northeast of New York City, and 543 kilometers from Washington, DC, the U.S. capital.
The University of Massachusetts Amherst is home to 28,000 students, including almost 22,000 undergraduates. UMass Amherst is a residential campus, with 60 percent of its undergraduates living in campus housing and eating in the University’s award-winning dining halls. For those living off-campus, UMass Transit Services provides free bus and van service to eight local communities. Exercise is easy in Amherst. Not only does the University have one of the best student recreation centers in the country, but the pictur-esque Amherst area is laced with hiking trails, swimming holes, and bike trails to explore.
A University of Excellence
UMass Amherst is recognized as one of the top public research universities in the United States. As the graphic to the right shows, the University ranks high in many of its undergraduate programs. Its graduate programs are highly regarded as well. The National Research Council rankings of 5,000 doctoral programs in 2010 make clear one conclu-sion — some of the nation’s best programs are at UMass Amherst. Of the 39 fields of study in which the campus was eligible to be assessed, four programs — food science, kine-siology, linguistics, and polymer science and engineering — are ranked among the country’s top programs, public or private. Eight other programs had strong showings: animal biotechnology, chemical engineering, chemistry, computer science, history, mathematics, philosophy and psychology.
Through its 10 schools and colleges, UMass Amherst offers 88 major subject areas leading to bachelor's degrees, 73 leading to a master’s and 51 doctoral programs. The Univer-sity also offers its students a unique learning experience through its Commonwealth Honors College. Through the Honors College, students receive personalized advising to help them take advantage of a rich and engaging honors curriculum. Small honors courses present opportunities for students to develop broad knowledge of multiple subject areas and encourage deep study of topics of personal inter-est. The honors community comes together for a variety of workshops, discussions with UMass Amherst’s renowned faculty and alumni, and professional development opportu-nities.
The Honors College is part of almost $500 million in capital upgrades and improvements the University is making. The new facilities for the Honors College consist of a $186.5 million residential and teaching complex in the heart of the campus. The facility will be one of the best public university complexes of its kind in the nation, and will include 1,500 beds, nine classrooms, faculty residences along with space for gathering, advising and administration of the program. The complex will open in fall 2013.
Other new facilities include an $85 million academic class-room building to provide the campus with 1,800 new state-of-the-art classroom seats and academic space. Also included is the $156.5 million New Laboratory Science Building, designed so researchers from different fields can work together on major initiatives ranging from the devel-opment of biofuels and clean energy technologies to phar-maceutical production, drug design and tissue engineering.