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Major Requirements 

Courses meeting STPEC requirements are drawn from a variety of departments in the humanities and social sciences, including Afro-American Studies, Anthropology, Economics, History, Judaic Studies, Legal Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, and Women's Studies. To accommodate students' broad interests and diverse backgrounds, course requirements are flexible, so that students have room to develop their own individualized course of study while they acquire a general foundation in areas of central concern to the STPEC Program. Courses in these areas are chosen from a list of recommended courses drawn up each semester and available from the STPEC office (or online under Course Lists).

All University of Massachusetts Amherst students, including STPEC students, may also take courses and use the facilities of the other four colleges in the Five College consortium (Smith, Amherst, Mount Holyoke, and Hampshire). Many Five College courses satisfy STPEC requirements as well. Transfer students may petition to have courses taken at other institutions accepted for STPEC credit.

For students with Entry to UMass, Amherst Before Fall 2018: STPEC Requirement Flow Chart

For students with Entry to UMass, Amherst in Fall 2018 or Later: STPEC Requirement Flow Chart

Requirements for the STPEC Major

All courses are to be drawn from the STPEC course lists, available each semester in the STPEC office.

I. Before taking STPEC seminars:

(Look under Course Lists online to see what classes will fill the A and B requirements)

A. One introductory social theory course

B. One introductory political economy course

II. For graduation:

A. Five upper level courses (15 credits) drawn from the STPEC course list, one in each of the following categories:
(Look under Course Lists online to see what classes will fill these requirements)

  • Modern Social Theory and Social Movements
  • Political Economy
  • Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies and Queer Theory
  • History and Politics of Race in the U.S.
  • Non-Western Perspectives, Global South and Indigenous People

B. One history elective (3 credits) (course must be taught by a historian)

Please note: This requirement may be waived if a student has taken a 3 or 4 credit history course to fulfill one of the five upper level categories.

C. One internship (3 credits) 

D. Four STPEC seminars (16 credits)
(Look under Course Descriptions online for further descriptions of the following courses)

  1. Two 4-credit core seminars (STPEC 391H and STPEC 392H). This two-semester sequence provides students with the opportunity to begin the in-depth, interdisciplinary study of theoretical and analytical paradigms and their application in particular situations. Enrollment is limited to 20 STPEC majors. Both seminars are offered every semester.
  2. Two 4-credit focus seminars (STPEC 491H and STPEC 492H). These seminars provide the opportunity for students to engage in intensive work in specific areas of STPEC concern. Topics are determined by the various professors and the interests of STPEC students. Two seminars are offered every semester, each limited to 15 STPEC majors.  

Please note: Students may take more than two focus seminars. The additional courses may be used to satisfy certain upper level course requirements (listed above). Please refer to the Course Lists to identify which upper level requirement will be fulfilled by which seminar course or speak with an advisor. 

E. One STPEC writing course (3 credits): This course, STPEC 320 "Writing for Critical Consciousness," fulfills the University's junior year writing requirement. It is offered every semester and is limited to 20 STPEC majors.

F. One STPEC Practicum Course (3 credits): This course STPEC 494PI "Exploring the Intersection of Theory and Practice" fulfills the University's integrative experience requirement.  

G. International/Intercultural Requirement (6 courses): This requirement applies to students with Entry to UMass Amherst in Fall 2018 or Later. 

STPEC's International/Intercultural Requirement provides students the opportunity to organize and articulate the global knowledge they have accumulated as a result of their studies within and outside the STPEC major. While we strongly encourage learning of foreign languages and participation in study abroad programs, STPEC already provides extensive engagement in international and intercultural studies. To fulfill this requirement, students take 6 courses that contribute to 1) knowledge about cultures and histories outside the United States and of indigenous and diasporic peoples within the U.S.; and 2) understandings of global economic circulations, systems of domination, and networks of resistance. At least one course taken to fulfill this requirement must have an international focus (if a topical course), be a foreign language, or be taken during a departmentally approved study abroad.

*Under most circumstances, this requirement is automatically satisfied when students take courses that fulfill other STPEC requirements. Students must take 6 of these 7 courses: 

  • Introduction to Social Theory Course
  • Core I Seminar
  • Core II Seminar
  • Focus I Seminar
  • Focus II Seminar
  • History and Politics of Race in the U.S. 
  • Non-Western Perspectives, Global South and Indigenous People

Please Note: Students who entered UMass Amherst Before Fall 2018 must complete the SBS Global Education Requirement.