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Residential Academic Programs (RAP)

Main Office: 502 John Quincy Adams Tower
Phone: (413) 545-2803
Fax: (413) 577-1809

First-Year Residential Academic Programs
Residential Academic Programs are designed specifically to help first-year students in their transition to college by offering unique living and learning opportunities. When students participate in a RAP they live with others who share similar academic interests or majors, and may take one or two of their courses and/or discussion sections together in their residential area. In collaboration with faculty from departments across the university, RAP has developed programs for students from any major as well as for students entering the university without a declared major.

Both on campus and nationally, students find that when they live and study together they do better academically, form lasting friendships, and have a more satisfying college experience. RAPs are very popular—in fact, almost half of all entering first-year students take part in one, and the retention rate for RAP students is significantly higher than for non-participants. Located in first-year residence halls, RAPs draw on the available upper class peer mentors, resources, and activities to support academic success. A current list and complete description of all RAPs is available on the RAP website.

RAPs are available under several broad categories.

General Education RAPs
General Education RAPs cover a wide range of academic majors and interests and are offered in various residence halls across campus. They are designed for first-year students who want to live with others in their major and for those who want to live with other students who share common interests—whether or not they have declared a major. The course options are broad, and the majority fulfill university General Education requirements. Some RAPs offer one-credit seminars designed to unify the RAP group, enhance academic skills, and help students select a major or confirm a student’s choice of major. Many RAPs also provide an opportunity to make meaningful connections with faculty members. The many available choices mean that students are certain to find a program appropriate for them. Further information is available on the RAP website.

For students who meet certain criteria, the following RAPs are also an option.

Commonwealth College Honors RAPs
These RAPs are open to admitted first-year honors students and are designed to build thriving intellectual communities both inside and outside the classroom. Residents live and study with other highly motivated students and take two classes selected to fulfill both honors and university requirements. More information is available on the Commonwealth College website at

Talent Advancement Programs (TAPs)
TAPs, offered by a few campus departments, invite students who meet the specific departmental criteria to participate. TAP students live and learn with other students in their major. More detailed information on TAPs can be found on the RAP website.

Isenberg Fellows Program
This RAP, for students admitted to the Isenberg School of Management, is divided into two areas: Business in Society, and Diversity and International Business. An application to the program and additional information are available at

Thatcher Language House
The Thatcher Language Programs for Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish provide an opportunity for sophomores, juniors, and seniors interested in practicing a foreign language to live together in a residence hall. Students in the language programs agree to speak the language as often as possible. Each semester, participants enroll in a required two-credit course with the option of adding a one-credit honors colloquium. The course is taught in the hall by the graduate student coordinator and focuses on developing conversational skills and engaging in cultural activities. Some skill in the language and concurrent enrollment in an appropriate three-credit departmental language course are prerequisites for acceptance to the Thatcher Language House. For further information, contact Sidonio Ferreira at the RAP office, 502 John Quincy Adams Tower, tel. (413) 545-2803; email: or visit the website to download an application.

Diversity Courses
The academic programs in the residence halls provide opportunities for students to become aware of and value human diversity. These opportunities include multiple sections of a General Education course, EDUC 210 Social Diversity in Education, taught by faculty and doctoral students from the Social Justice Education concentration of the School of Education. This course is available to all residence hall students in the fall semester, and restricted to first- and second-year students in the spring semester. Combining concepts and skills that help students develop an appreciation for social and cultural differences, it also prepares them to interrupt the negative effects of discrimination and group stereotyping. Additional social issues courses are administered through RAP and offered in residence hall classrooms. For further information, contact the RAP office, 502 John Quincy Adams Tower, tel (413) 545-2803.

Faculty in Residence
The Faculty in Residence program was created to give faculty an opportunity to live in the Orchard Hill/Central Residential areas as they engage in teaching and mentorship of students who also live there. A collaboration between RAP and Residential Life, this program is designed to introduce students to the faculty in a less formal setting outside of the classroom, while also exposing them to the faculty’s research fields and interests. The faculty in residence also organize informal gatherings with other professors and assist with programming to inform students about various academic and career opportunities. The faculty teach in the residence in which they live and the students in the area have priority seating in the class. For further information, contact Sidonio Ferreira at the RAP office, 502 John Quincy Adams Tower, tel (413) 545-2803; email: