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University Without Walls

University Without Walls | Faculty

Montague House

Degrees: Bachelor of Arts

Bachelor of Science

Contact: Gary Bernhard, Director

Office: Montague House

Phone: 545-0844, 545-1378

Web site:


Academic Staff: Abel, Anderson, Bernhard, Bracey, Dowling, Golding, Hendra, Koski, Medina. Administrative Staff: Brinkerhoff, Fusek.

Founded in 1971, the University Without Walls (UWW) is the University of Massachusetts' adult degree program. Serving students in most fields available at the University, UWW offers individualized degrees which may be similar to majors offered by other departments or may be interdisciplinary in nature. UWW students earn a B.A. or B.S. degree depending on the program they design. They must meet all University requirements for bachelor's degrees including completion of 120 credits with 45 credits in residency and all General Education requirements. Many of these requirements can be satisfied through transfer credit.

The UWW curriculum puts strong emphasis on the development of communication skills, critical reading, and critical thinking. It also encourages students to explore the relationship between practical experience and academic learning, and to strike a balance between the two. As part of our commitment to the role that work and other experience can play in education, most students develop a credit-bearing portfolio describing and analyzing the learning they have gained through experience.

Most students in UWW are working adults with family and community responsibilities which make obtaining a bachelor's degree through a conventional route difficult or impossible. For this reason, UWW offers comprehensive and supportive advising from the time students matriculate. Our students come from an unusually wide range of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and this diversity is valued in UWW. The program serves students throughout the Commonwealth, although the majority come from Central and Western Massachusetts including the Greater Springfield area. Courses are often provided at off-campus locations, and UWW has also developed a low-residency, distance-learning option for its three core courses.

The Courses

(All courses carry 3 credits unless otherwise noted.)

191A Perspectives on Learning (both sem)

An introduction to higher education for adult learners. Focus on development of intellectual skills (critical reading, effective writing, efficient organization, and critical thinking); the methodologies common in the academy. The relationships between academic and experiential learning and the larger social context of higher education.

193A Introduction to the Biological Sciences (BS) (1st sem)

Key ideas of modern biology for a general student audience. Basic concepts such as cell structure, molecular genetics, and evolution, and recent developments in genetic engineering and biotechnology. Primary focus on achievement of scientific literacy through understanding of basic scientific information. Social implications also discussed.

196Y Independent StudyóDegree Development (both sem) 2 cr

Students work in groups and individually to master the skills of individual degree development. Extensive writing and re-writing, library research, formal interviewing of faculty experts and practitioners. Students document their exploration of their field and produce a coherent, well-developed degree proposal.

240 Introduction to Ecology (BS) (2nd sem)

Principles of modern ecology for a general student audience. How natural communities work. Topics include populations, community structure, major biomes (e.g., deserts, grasslands, forests, and rain forests), prospects for conservation. Readings, films, and field trips.

370 Writing About Experience (both sem)

Students analyze in writing those experiences which have changed the way they understand and solve problems. Frequent assignments, the revision process, and peer editing help students organize and focus their writings. Satisfies Junior Year Writing requirement.

University Without Walls | Faculty