The General Education Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst provides students with experiences, knowledge, and skills necessary to become well-educated, successful, and valuable contributors to our ever-evolving global community.
Combining Breadth with Depth
The two complementary components of an undergraduate education are a student’s choice of major, providing depth in a field, and his or her General Education choices, providing breadth of experience. In today’s complex world, students need to complement the professional or vocational training provided through the courses taught in their majors with a wide range of intellectual and civic practices. To prepare for an exciting and challenging future, students need to become broadly educated and cognizant of the often rapidly-changing components of their world. Students need to gain a sense of our past achievements, present developments, and future possibilities.
The UMass Amherst Gen Ed program equips students to act thoughtfully and responsibly in society, to make informed judgments, and to live lives dedicated to service, continued learning, and the joys of intellectual pursuits for a lifetime. Through the Gen Ed Program, undergraduates at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will broaden their perspectives (scientific, historical, philosophical, cultural, literary), improve critical and analytical thinking, increase awareness of technology, and acquire the skills necessary to discover, manage, and effectively communicate knowledge as informed citizens of our world.
The General Education Council:
- Oversees General Education at UMass
- Establishes guidelines for all Gen Ed courses
- Conducts the Gen Ed course application and course review processes
- Produces special reports concerning Gen Ed designations, approvals, and changes
- Develops policy recommendations on academic and curricular life on campus
- Examines proposals for majors and minors
- Reviews undergraduate course proposals
- Makes recommendations to the Senate
The most recent General Education Task Force was mandated by Provost Charlena Seymour in Fall 2007; it concluded its term in Spring 2009. All General Education Task Forces are compromised of faculty, administrators, and students from many disciplines. The most recent Task Force was charged with recommending ways to improve the Gen Ed experience, focusing especially on curriculum design and delivery as well as support for faculty who teach Gen Ed courses. Read the final report.
The Office of Academic Planning and Assessment (OAPA) provides several reports on the Gen Ed experience.