Frequently Asked Questions

Send us your questions and we'll post them here, with the answers, of course!

How can I find a religious organization to meet my spiritual needs?
The Religious and Spiritual Life website offers a fairly comprehensive list of religious student organizations and private religious organizations and advisers representing the Baha'i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Pagan traditions. Most of these organizations have a website (we've provided links) or you can email or phone the contact person to get more information. Or contact us and we can help.

Does UMass Amherst offer a major in religious studies?
UMass Amherst does not have a religion department, but students can create their own major through the Bachelor's Degree with Independent Concentration (BDIC) program. UMass also offers a major in Judaic Studies and an interdisciplinary Religious Studies Certificate Program, and UMass students can take religion courses at the other Five Colleges. You can earn a certificate in Buddhist studies through the Five College Buddhist Studies Certificate Program. The Five College Program in Middle Eastern Studies offers opportunities to study Islam, Arabic, and other Middle Eastern religions, languages, and cultures. More information can be found on these programs' websites:

Does the University employ any chaplains or other religious advisers?
No, all religious advisers either serve in a voluntary capacity or are paid by their respective religious organization (e.g. the Newman Catholic Center, Hillel, etc.)

What is the Religious Affairs Committee?
All of the ministers, priests, rabbis and others who serve as religious advisers for students at UMass Amherst, are members of the Religious Affairs Committee (RAC). Through their participation in the RAC, these religious advisers are formally recognized and held accountable by the University.

What do I do if I witness or am personally targeted by an act of religious bias, or any other form of bias?
If you witness or are targeted by a bias incident, call the Dean of Students Office or UMass Police Department, or report the incident online. Details about the process and an online reporting form can be found here. Students who are the target of a bias incident, or indirectly affected by a bias incident, can get support from

  • The Dean of Students Office (413.545.2684)
  • The Center for Women and Community (hotline 413.545.0800 or appointments 413.545.0883)
  • The Center for Counseling and Psychological Health (413.545.2337 - This line also includes 24/7 crisis support.)
  • Residential Life (for students who live in residence halls)
  • Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (for bias incidents related to religious identity)