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Five College Interchange Program

Contact: Sheila Brennan and Vanessa Blais, Coordinators
Office: 614 Goodell
Phone: (413) 545-5352

Students may elect to take courses off campus at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, or Smith colleges. These institutions join with the University of Massachusetts Amherst to form the Five College consortium, combining their academic activities in selected areas for the purpose of extending and enriching their collective educational resources.

Certain programs are operated jointly, including Five College departments in Astronomy and Dance, and certificate programs in African Studies, Asian/Pacific/American Studies, Buddhist Studies, Coastal and Marine Sciences, Culture, Health and Science, International Relations, Latin American Studies, Logic, Middle Eastern Studies, and Native American Indian Studies.

The institutions collaboratively support Five College joint faculty appointments in several areas including analytical geochemistry, film and video production, African studies, Asian/Pacific/American studies, and English. While based at a single campus, faculty in Five College joint positions offer courses at all five institutions on a rotating basis.

Any regular part-time or full-time university student in good standing in a degree program may register for courses at any of the other four without additional cost beyond normal lab or instructional fees. At the university, an eligible student must be at least a second-semester freshman and be enrolled in at least one regular three-credit academic course at the university.

Approval by the student’s major or minor academic adviser is required only if the course is related to the requirements of the student’s major or minor. Permission of the instructor at the host institution is required when enrollment is limited, if consent is normally required, and during the university’s Five College registration period. Approval by the Academic Dean or Dean’s designee at the student’s home institution is always required. At the University the Dean’s designee is the Five College Adviser associated with Undergraduate Advising.

Students can apply for interchange courses— during the registration period, or during the pre-registration period specified for the University of Massachusetts Amherst students in the Five College Academic Calendar. When taking courses off campus, students are governed by all the rules and regulations of the host institution. (Arrangements for grades for Hampshire College courses must be made with the instructor.) Grades earned at the other four colleges are recorded on the student’s University transcript and factored into the University grade point average. Free bus transportation among the five institutions is available.

Five College registration materials are available as a downloadable form on the student’s SPIRE account and are processed through the Five College Interchange Office in 614 Goodell. Office hours are posted. For complete information about consortia programs and courses offered at all five institutions, visit