The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Google Appliance


Must-Take Classes at UMass Amherst

Facebook Twitter
UMass Amherst professor talking to a seminar class. Text: "Must-take classes at UMass - Learn how to scuba dive for credit"

Amidst all the delightfully difficult classes you will take in college, sometimes you will stumble upon an incredibly fun one! Whether you’re trying to check off gen-ed requirements or just want to get credit for having fun, UMass Amherst gives students the opportunity to make some incredible memories. Below are five of my top recommendations for must-take classes that are guaranteed to broaden your horizons.

1. Lively Arts

This was hands-down the most interesting class I’ve ever taken in college. On the very first day, the professor blasted Kanye West music and then helped us all analyze the structure and brilliance of the song. If you enjoy laughing while learning, this is certainly the class for you. The lectures were essentially educational stand-up comedy routines because the professor was the funniest person alive. The best part was getting $5 tickets to fantastic shows at the Fine Arts Center that we got to analyze for a grade.

2. Intro to Entrepreneurship

Anyone interested in startups, public speaking, or becoming a better person needs to take this class. The professor is the owner of the local burrito chain, Bueno y Sano, and is arguably the nicest man on earth. After every Tuesday lecture the students head over to High Horse with the professor for drinks and appetizers. He encourages students to come pitch their ideas to him for feedback, or to just come for good conversation! Although the class is titled “Entrepreneurship”, students learn more about leadership and kindness than anything else.

3. Basic Scuba

Yes, this is a real class. Students meet once a week and spend half the time in the classroom learning the safety and science behind the equipment and the other half in the Totman Gym pool practicing underwater skills. To get your certification you have a choice of either diving in Rockport, Mass., for a basic certification or diving in the Florida Keys for your advanced certification.

4. Beginning Golf

UMass Amherst allows students to take classes at Amherst, Smith, Mt. Holyoke, and Hampshire College for credit. These colleges offer some wild and awesome options including various sports classes! For 1 pass/fail credit, you can learn a valuable life skill such as tennis, whitewater rafting, or golf. I’m currently enrolled in Beginning Golf at Mt. Holyoke college where we meet twice a week at a local country club to practice. As I will be entering the business world when I start full-time, I think learning how to play golf will be one of the more valuable things I learn this semester.

5. Chocolate 101

Okay, so maybe this one isn’t an actual class listed on Spire, but it has 101 in the name! UMass Dining offers free cooking classes on Friday afternoons to students who want to learn about either chocolate or baking. A UMass chef teaches the class and then brings the students into the UMass Bake Shop (a great hidden gem on campus). When I took Chocolate 101, we sampled chocolate from all around the world and made massive quantities of homemade desserts (which we got to take home!).

I guarantee that these will be the classes that help you start interesting conversations. Instead of talking about “Intro to Stats” as your most exciting class, you will be able to laugh about your experience Scuba diving in college! You’ll know bizarre facts about music theory, the origin of chocolate, and how to hit a nine iron! Taking interesting classes in college makes you a more interesting person, and UMass Amherst offers loads of quirky classes to make you a well-rounded individual.



Life at UMass

Other Posts by this Author

Looking Back Fondly at UMass

Eating by the pond at University of Massachusetts

As it turns out, everyone was right. Time at UMass flies by. I never thought I’d be writing my last blog post during my final days on this campus. It seems like yesterday that I was moving into a dorm and nervous about meeting my roommate. Looking back at UMass, particular memories are so important and special to me. However, I never realized it at the time. Therefore, as a parting senior, I would love to share some of these beautiful moments in the hopes that an underclassman will be able to appreciate them in the time they have.