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There are no specifically-designated advisors for General Education. As a result, students will often seek information about Gen Ed from their academic advisors or from the Registrar's Office. To assist in the collaborative effort to promote the importance of General Education, all members of the University of Massachusetts community are encouraged to understand the basic structure and requirements.
All students graduating from UMass Amherst must:
- Satisfy General Education Requirements
- Satisfy Major Requirements
- Satisfy College requirements (if applicable)
- Earn 120 credits (45 in residence)
- Earn a 2.0 overall GPA
Advisors and students must work together to be sure that all requirements are fulfilled. The Academic Requirements Report gives accurate, immediate feedback about the status of requirements.
Of course advisors do more than just check off requirements and give out information—they mentor, they console, they encourage, and they serve as role models. One important part of advising is to relate to students that General Education is an integral component of their intellectual, civic, and personal development here at UMass Amherst.
One of the best ways you may assist your advisees is to understand the requirements of the Gen Ed experience by consulting the sections on Learning Objectives and Fulfilling the Requirements for further information. You should also be able to direct students to Course Offerings. Most importantly, you should encourage students to take an active role in selecting courses for Gen Ed that complement their majors and interests. Remember that Gen Ed courses are offered at all levels (100 to 400) and in all class sizes. While students often take them during the early part of their undergraduate career, they are not required to do so. A careful examination of the Gen Ed available each semester, which also can be located on SPIRE, will provide helpful information for advisors and students to reflect upon complementary learning experiences. A Gen Ed Course Planning Guide is also available to assist students and their advisors in planning the Gen Ed experience.
As an advisor you will want to be sure that your advisees understand the importance of these courses to their undergraduate experience. Effective advisors need to know more than just their departmental curriculum; they need to be knowledgeable about General Education goals and requirements and be ready to stress the value of Gen Ed in students’ careers and productive lives. They should be ready to make suggestions about courses and explain their relevance and timeliness to students.
For Further Information
In most cases, advisors should be able to answer questions about Gen Ed courses and requirements with the assistance of this website and the . If the student has a more demanding question about courses that might satisfy the Gen Ed requirement, direct her or him to the Registrar. (These questions typically concern transfer credits or placement exams.) The Domestic Exchange Program and International Programs Office offer assistance to many students seeking advice about Gen Ed courses beyond the University. The Office of Undergraduate Advising primarily serves undeclared students, and all students who seek information on or additional help in selecting courses (including Gen Eds) may consult the staff in the Learning Commons.
Note: Students who entered the University prior to 2002 will have different requirements for Gen Ed. In these cases, it may be best to direct them to the Registrar.