To participate in the IT Minor you must complete an Enrollment Form (printed copies available the IT Program office). Without completing this form, you will not receive emails from the IT Program office about courses and programs, and the office will not be able to verify to course instructors that you are an IT Minor. When you submit the enrollment form to the IT Program office you are automatically enrolled in the minor.

Make sure you are enrolled in the IT Minor and then contact the course instructor. Explain that you are an IT Minor and that you would like to take the class. Space permitting, the instructor may allow you to enroll in the class.


Possibly, but you can't enroll through SPIRE. Make sure you have enrolled in the minor and then contact the instructor. The instructor will want to make sure you are adequately prepared to take the course, but you may not have to take the listed prerequisites.

You must fill out a Declaration of Completion of the Minor form when you have completed all the courses for the minor, or during the semester in which you are taking the last courses for the minor. You may complete the Declaration of Completion Web Form or pick one up from the IT MInor office or the Registrar. If you do not complete this form, you will not complete the minor and it will not be listed on your transcript.

Yes. The only restriction is that at least two courses beyond the foundation course must be from outside your primary major. There used to be a more complicated rule about required and elective courses for the major, but that rule has been removed.


No, courses must be graded to count toward the minor. The only exception to this is practicum or internship credits, which must meet specified criteria in order to be counted as an elective (see below).

Students who entered the minor prior to September, 2010 must pass all the courses, and have a GPA of 2.0 or better, in the courses that are taken for the minor. In addition, students who enrolled in the minor after September, 2009, may only count one grade below a C (2.0) toward the minor.


The foundation course assures that you have a solid basis for taking technical courses in the minor. These courses are not simply about how to turn on a computer--they give you a grounding in understanding and using computer systems, as well as word processing, spreadsheet, and database software. This grounding is required for other courses in the minor--the instructors in those courses will assume you know the basics.

Criteria for Approving IT Minor Courses

This statement  is drawn mostly from the original document that established the IT Minor. Direct quotes from that document are in italics. Additional statements were taken from a Curriculum Committee discussion on April 16, 2010.

I.Defining “IT Content”

Information Technology was defined by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) as, “the study, design, development, implementation, support or management of computer-based information systems, particularly software applications and computer hardware.”  Encompassing the computer and information systems industries, information technology is the capability to electronically input, process, store, output, transmit, and receive data and information, including text, graphics, sound, and video, as well as the ability to control machines of all kinds electronically.

II.Foundation Courses

Fundamental concepts of computer information systems and basic skills (e.g., word processing, spreadsheet, database, web and multimedia). “Course objective is for students to learn the concepts of computer information systems (emphasizing the key concept of information), the rudiments of electronic technology, and the technical base to succeed in other IT courses.”

III.Technical Courses

A.Technical/A. Principles of Object-Oriented Programming

Focuses on object-oriented design and programming, exposing students to design strategies, language features, and constructs that support the object environment. Enables students to apply system development principles with an object-oriented language, and to understand how object-oriented techniques increase productivity of complex systems.

B.Technical/B. Representing, Storing, and Retrieving Information

“Introduces the representation, storage, retrieval, manipulation, analysis, and display of information. Includes introduction to database structures, design principles of databases, database models and database management systems, architectures, database analysis and design, and database administration. Topics will include heterogeneous collection of data and effectiveness of various search engines.”

C.Technical/C. Internet Technology and Multimedia Systems

Develops a familiarity with the concepts, vocabulary, and tools of Internet technology, and enhances students’ written and oral presentation skills.” ” or “Introduces systems issues in multimedia: how multimedia applications are implemented; design of multimedia components; network performance, compression algorithms, and errors.” 

IV.Broadened Inquiry Courses

These courses place IT within a broader context (e.g., cultural, social, legal, historical, esthetic, ethical, or psychological).


In an IT Elective, a student masters a new complex toolset that goes beyond what students are generally expected to know. The nature of these “tool sets” may change over time. When the IT Minor was started, many student were not skilled at the use of word processing software, but now that competence is generally expected. Therefore the fact that a course involves writing using a computer would not now qualify it as “an IT course”. Similarly, courses that use relatively simple and “user friendly” software to compute statistics, manipulate numbers, or produce graphics, may not qualify a course as an IT course


March 3, 2011

The foundation course can only be waived for equivalent coursework or documented and evaluated training. We have no way of evaluating learning you may have done on your own or through work experience. If you believe you can document equivalent learning, discuss this with the IT advisor.


It is possible to count practicum or internship (minimum of 3 credits) as one, and only one, of your electives. This requires the prior approval of the IT Advisor. You must demonstrate sufficient IT content in the experience. If you plan to take the IT Capstone course, you may not count practicum/internship credits as well as the second semester of the capstone toward the IT Minor.

For several years an honors capstone course with a specific focus on IT was offered and it fulfilled a Broadened Inquiry requirement and an elective. This course is no longer being offered.


No, only one foundation course may be counted toward the minor.


No. University policy is that courses toward a minor must be completed prior to graduation.


Make sure you understand the requirements for the minor and that you contact the IT Advisor if you are not sure about anything. 

You should take a foundation course early to make sure you are prepared for high level courses, but there is no strict order for taking courses for the minor. Tehnical and Broadened Inquiry coureses can be the most difficult to fit into your schedule, so you should not wait until the last opportunity to take these courses.


Here are some guidelines for choosing technical courses.

You must take at least 2 technical courses:   


For most students the Technical A courses will boil down to these two:

CMPSCI 119 Introduction to Programming (previously CMPSCI 191P), 3 credits, "A hands-on introduction to computer programming using Python with an emphasis on graphics and audio manipulations. No prior programming experience required. Not open to Computer Science majors." This is the best choice for students who want to learn something about programming, but don't expect programming to be a major part of their future.

CMPSCI 121 Introduction to Problem Solving with Computers, 4 credits, The introductory programming course for computer science majors. "An introductory course in problem solving, using the programming language Java. Focuses on the fundamental concepts of problem solving and on computer implementation. Satisfactory completion is a prerequisite for all higher-level computer science courses. Use of computer required. Prerequisite: high school algebra and basic math skills (R1). (Gen.Ed. R2)"


ACCOUNTG 312 Systems, "The systems analyst function: that interface between the users of the information system and the computer personnel. Systems theory and data base concepts; emphasis on the systems design, systems evaluation, anti-justification. Prerequisite: SCH-MGMT 210." Non-accounting majors may substitute one of the other IT Minor foundation courses as the prerequisite. Prior accounting courses not required but you may need to do some additional reading. This is the best course on campus learning to design and manage databases, which is a very useful IT skill. You must contact the professor and make sure to tell him you are an IT Minor.

CMPSCI 145 Representing, Storing, and Retrieving Information. "The use of data in computer systems. Formats for representing text, sound, images, ets. as strings of bits. Basic information theory, use and limitations of file compression. PreRequisite: R1. This course is open to Non-CMPSCI majors only. Prerequisite: You must have completed your R1 Gen. Ed. requirement. Not for Major credit."


CMPSCI 120 Problem Solving w/Internet, 3 credits, "This course is open to Non-CMPSCI majors only. Mandatory attendance to first class meeting is essential. All students must have access to a computer connected to the internet for performing assignments. PC recommended, MAC allowed for most, but not all assignments. Basic skills needed to use the Internet. UNIX commands, e-mail management, listserv software, ftp file transfers, telnet sessions, www browsers, basic Web page design, and PGP-based cryptography. Relevant social and political topics: copyright law, First Amendment issues, computer security, personal privacy, electronic cash, commercialization, and bandwidth pricing strategies. Programming experience not required. Prerequisites: some hands-on experience with PCs or MACs or UNIX. (Gen.Ed. R2)"

If you want to take more than 2 technical courses, the "extra" courses can count as electives.

The IT Minor is designed to supplement any other major with some relevant IT knowledge and skills to use in other fields. There is no "Information Technology" major at UMass Amherst.