The University of Massachusetts Amherst

SBS Global Education Requirement

The Global Education Requirement pertains only to SBS Bachelor of Arts majors who entered UMass prior to the Fall 2018 semester.

All six credits must be taken in the same foreign language and in sequential order. For example, French 110 followed by French 120. The Global Education requirement can not double count courses with a student’s primary major OR a General Education requirement.

If you have questions, please contact sbsadvising@sbs.umass.edu, call 413-577-1057 or stop by 128 Thompson Hall.

Exemptions from the Requirement

Landscape Architecture, Resource Economics, and Sustainable Community Development majors are waived from the Global Education Requirement.

Purpose of the Requirement 

The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences bridges the sciences and liberal arts educating students interested in the areas of culture, society, and individual behavior while promoting citizenship and global engagement. 

This college acknowledges exposure to diverse cultural perspectives is essential to becoming aware of a world beyond UMASS, a world beyond Massachusetts, and a world beyond the United States and is critical for students in the SBS majors to realize and appreciate the central importance of an international perspective.  The goal of the requirement is to put into practice the notion of the “Global Village”, a rich metaphor for a future that will require students to compete in a diverse world -- a world which requires them to build bridges to cultures that are different from their own. 

The wide variety of courses from many different departments which students can choose to fulfill this requirement are meant to compliment and to supplement their language study and enable them to gain a cultural understanding to prepare students within this college to become intelligent and committed citizens of the world after they graduate with a major in SBS. 

To declare a Global Education option please contact the SBS Pathways Center sbsadvising@sbs.umass.edu, (413) 577-1057 or stop by 128 Thompson Hall. 

Fulfilling the Requirement

Students must complete fifteen credits which will apply to one of the four options listed for completion: Foreign Language, Regional Study, Individual, or Certificate.  All options require at least six credits of one foreign language taken in sequential order.  These credits CAN NOT double count with GEN EDS or with primary MAJOR requirements. 

All credits must be graded; they cannot be taken on a Pass/Fail basis. Credits can be earned in education abroad programs with the approval of the SBS Pathways Center.  

Students with documented learning disabilities contact the SBS Pathways Center for possible exceptions. 

1. Foreign Language Option

Fifteen credits of one foreign language in sequential order. 

2. Regional Study Option

At least six credits of one foreign language in sequential order and nine credits of related regional courses.  Students may select one region that corresponds to the language they are studying. These regional courses are taught in English, focus on the culture of that area, and of the world.  All classes taught in a foreign language will count toward the regional requirement. Courses taken through another college or university may count toward the requirement provided they meet the cultural component as determined by SBS Pathways Center (FAQs).

3. Individual Option

At least six credits of one foreign language and nine credits of other regional courses.  The individual option must focus on a complimentary area of the world and/or on a comparable international topic.  To choose this option, the student must submit a plan of study and must receive prior approval from the SBS Pathways Center.

4. Certificate Option

This option requires the successful completion of an eligible UMass Amherst or Five College Area Studies Certificate program. Please discuss requirements for this option with your Certificate Program Advisor. You can choose from the following programs: 

African Studies Certificate: Contact Joye Bowman, 618 Herter Hall, 413-545-1330

Latin American Studies Certificate: Contact Israel Rivera, 310 Machmer Hall, 413-545-4868

International Relations Certificate: Contact MJ Peterson, 326 Thompson Hall, 413-545-6171

Middle Eastern Studies Certificate: Contact Anne Broadbridge, 623 Herter Hall, 413-545-6777

Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies Certificate: Contact Julie Hemment, 206 Machmer Hall, 413-577-1104

It is the responsibility of the student to bring a completed and signed copy of the certificate to the SBS Pathways Center in order to be cleared for the requirement and graduation once all courses have been graded.