Non-traditional age Latino college student smiling, sitting outside at a laptop.

"I want to thank you for all the time you have spent answering my questions and addressing my concerns over my time here in UWW." -UWW student

frequently asked questions

admissions faq

Is the admissions process competitive?

It can be, but we try to balance our commitment to access with our selection process. The minimum requirements for admission are: you have earned at least 12 transferrable semester credits of coursework and you have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0. If you're a former UMass Amherst student the minimum GPA requirement doesn't apply to you. Welcome back

If I meet the minimum eligibility requirements am I guaranteed admission?

No one is guaranteed admission, but our goal is to accept as many eligible applicants as possible.

How are applications reviewed?

Assuming you've met relevant deadlines, your application will be reviewed once all required materials are received. If you are one of the first to get all your application materials in, you will be one of the first to be reviewed and admission, and you will be one of the first to receive notification on your application status. Pay attention to deadlines. If you miss deadlines, there's no guarantee you'll be reviewed for admission. 

Will my credits transfer?

UMass Amherst has a generous transfer credit policy, allowing up to 75 transfer credits for prior learning from prior coursework, professional trainings and certifications, and credit exams and evaluations. The university's Transfer of Credit page will give you a general idea of what courses are accepted by UMass Amherst. And the Quick Tips on Identifying Transferrable General Education Courses will give you a good sense of the types of courses that will not only transfer in, but are also likely to fulfill general education requirements.

When can I get a preliminary transcript evaluation?

Preliminary transcript evaluations are conducted after you apply and have submitted all of your application materials. If you are accepted as a student, you will receive a preliminary transcript evaluation with your acceptance letter.  

How do I know you have received my application materials?

Sometime after your completed application form has been received and uploaded into our system, we will start sending you weekly emails updating you on the status of your application. If you send in your application really, really early, you may not hear back until the Admissions Office starts their application processing season. Feel free to Contact us and we can contact Admissions for you. 

What are my options for sending you my official transcripts?

Official transcripts must be sent directly from all colleges or universities you've attended to the UMass Amherst UWW Admissions Office. Official transcripts can be sent by mail or electronically. 

When will I find out if I've been accepted?

Admission is done on a rolling basis. Completed files will be reviewed and decided upon on a first-come, first-served basis for each semester. Decision letters are sent out as decisions are determined.

The deadline has passed. Can I still send in my application to be considered for the next semester?

Please call our office to inquire about the possibilities of being considered for the next semester.

How do you define "12 college credits"?

Minimum eligibility requirements include at least 12 transferable semester credits of graded coursework, although applicants with 30 or more credits stand a better chance of admission.  

Can CLEPs count towards the 12 college credits?

No. When you apply you need to have completed at least 12 transferable semester credits of graded coursework. If you have CLEP credits, those credits may transfer in once you become a student.   

What if I have fewer than 12 college credits?

First of all, don't get discouraged. Everyone has to start somewhere. And we're here to help. To reach 12 credits and become eligible to apply we recommend that you take college level courses at your local community college or through UMass Amherst Online Education. The university's Transfer of Credit page will give you a general idea of what courses are accepted by UMass Amherst. And the Quick Tips on Identifying Transferrable General Education Courses will give you a good sense of the types of courses that will not only transfer in, but are also likely to fulfill general education requirements. Feel free to contact us for advice. We look forward to receiving your application once you have 12 college credits.

Do you need a copy of my high school diploma or GED?

Students applying with fewer than 27 completed college credits must additionally submit a high school transcript with graduation notation (or GED scores).

I already have a bachelor's degree.  Am I eligible to apply to the UWW program?

If you have already earned a bachelor's degree from a U.S. college or university, you are not eligible to apply. UMass UWW is for those seeking their first bachelor's degree. However, if you earned a bachelor's degree in a country other than the U.S., you might be eligible to apply. Contact us for guidance.

My past college credits are from long ago? Will you still accept them?

There is no expiration date on your college credits. Your college transcripts will be evaluated during the admissions process the same as everyone else.

I am a former UMass Amherst student. How will my old credits be handled?

Credits you took at UMass Amherst are on your UMass Amherst transcript and are considered in-residence credits no matter how long ago you took them.

I am a former UMass Amherst student who dropped out with less than a 2.0 GPA. Is there hope for me?

Yes! Former UMass Amherst students are exempt from the 2.0 GPA requirement. We can help you finish what you started. Welcome back.

Are credits I've earned through other UMass campuses transfer or residence credits?

There are many Massachusetts' state colleges and universities. They are all considered separate and distinct schools. Classes taken on campus or online through UMass Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and Worcester, as well as the Massachusetts state colleges, are considered transfer credits.

Do Massachusetts community college MassTransfer graduates receive MassTransfer benefits at UWW? 

MassTransfer only applies to the day-division at UMass Amherst. UWW is part of Online Education and not the day-division. This means you have to apply to UWW and the tuition waiver for students with a 3.0 or higher graduation GPA does not apply. But, you don't have to pay the application fee and you will also receive the transfer credit and general education benefits of the MassTransfer Block, and that's what's most important.  

Are there any special requirements if English is not my first language?

If English is not your first spoken language, UMass Admissions requires you to submit documentation of English language proficiency. Learn more by reviewing the international applicant's guide

I'm an international applicant. What do I do?

We welcome your application as an international student. Review the international applicant's guide for information and next steps. Please note that the Immigration and Naturalization Service prohibits international students on a student visa in the U.S. from enrolling in online degree programs.

Do you have a question that's not answered here? Contact us. We're here to help.


areas of study faq

Can I study anything? Is the sky the limit?

You can't study anything, because UMass Amherst- despite its size- does not offer classes in every possible subject. However, because UMass UWW is interdisciplinary, you can take classes through many different academic departments and there is a lot of flexibility in terms of what you can study.  Contact us with your idea and we'll see what's possible for you.

Where can I find a list of online courses offered through UMass Amherst?

Here is a sample list of online courses offered by UMass Amherst. This will give you an idea of the types of courses you would have the opportunity to choose from when crafting your individualized program of study. As with all colleges and universities, courses come and go, and this list is subject to change.

Is UWW part of UMass Amherst?

Yes! The University Without Walls has been an official academic program at UMass Amherst for over 45 years.

What is an area of study, or what you call a "concentration"?  Is that the same thing as a major?

When you become a University Without Walls student, your major is Interdisciplinary Studies, which reflects your ability to design your own area of study. Your area of study, or concentration, is whatever you decide to study. Interdisciplinary Studies is one of over 100 official majors at UMass Amherst.

What will my diploma look like?

When you graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a major in Interdisciplinary Studies, you will receive a University of Massachusetts Amherst diploma and certificate. The diploma will indicate your major: Interdisciplinary Studies. Your certificate will certify your degree concentration. All UMass Amherst graduates receive the same diploma. Each graduate's diploma indicates their academic major. Your degree concentration is also listed on your official university transcript, which is what graduate schools and most employers will request.

Will the diploma say I received an online degree?

No. Started in 1971, UMass UWW was around long before online education existed. Our graduates receive the same, standard diploma awarded to all UMass Amherst students.

How will I show my degree on my resume?

It's easy to represent your degree concentration on your resume. Here are some examples of what our students have done over the years.

Example 1
BA, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Interdisciplinary Studies
Degree concentration: Business Studies

Example 2
BA, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Business Studies

Example 3
BA, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Degree concentration: Business Studies

How long will it take me to complete my degree?

How long it will take you to finish depends on a number of factors such as: the number of credits you already have that transfer in, the number of credits you earn from your work and life experience and from formal trainings, how many courses you take each semester, etc. Right now our students are averaging about four to five semesters to complete their degree.

Can I complete my second bachelor's degree through UWW?

No. The UMass UWW program does not award second bachelor degrees.

Can I get a bachelor's of science degree?

Maybe. It depends on what you want to study and how many science credits transfer into the program. To earn a bachelor of science (B.S.) degree, at least 60 of your 120 required credits will need to be science credits. If you would like to earn a B.S., contact us and we'll see what's possible. 

Do you have a question that's not answered here? Contact us. We're here to help.


tuition & fees faq

How much will it cost me to finish my degree?

How much it will cost you to complete your degree will depend on several factors, including: how many of your previous credits transfer in, how many credits you are able to earn for your life and work experience, how many credits you receive for professional trainings you have taken, and whether or not you take advantage of cost-saving measures like CLEP tests. For specific cost information visit our tuition and fees page.

Are your in-state costs different from your out-of-state costs?

The tuition and fees structure is the same for all UMass UWW students regardless of where they live.

Explain the fees to me. 

The $150 program/Advising fee helps make it possible for us to provide one-on-one academic advising to every student; the $47 registration fee supports enrollment processing, the $75 special transcript evaluation fee is for those who have trainings they would like to convert to academic credit; the one-time $75 application fee helps off-set the cost of processing (former UMass Amherst students pay a $60 application fee); the one-time $75 enrollment fee helps to provide information and support to newly accepted students, as well as the new student orientation; the one-time $135 entering fee supports initial record management services and commencement services.

Do the fees I pay give me access to all the same services a traditional on-campus student receives?

No. UWW has worked hard to keep our fees low for our adult students. On-campus, "day-division" students pay additional fees that UWW students do not pay. These additional fees give on-campus students free or discounted access to certain events and services that UWW students do not have access to, including housing and meals, legal services, child care, campus athletic events and use of the recreation center.

What strategies can I use to save money?

Some strategies you may want to consider are: taking courses at a community college, taking CLEP exams, earning credits for your life and work experience and professional trainings, applying for federal financial aid, asking your employer about tuition reimbursement, seeking a state grant if you are an early childhood teacher in the state of Massachusetts. For more information, visit our save time and money and financial aid pages.  

How can I find out what the cost per credit is for UMass Amherst online undergraduate courses?

The UWW core courses are $390 per credit for all online undergraduate courses starting Fall, 2020. 

What are my payment options?

Your application fee must be sent by check, or if you're overseas, by bank transfer. When you become a student, you can pay your bill by cash, check and credit card. UMass Amherst also offers a payment plan option called UPay. 

Do you have a question that's not answered here? Contact us. We're here to help.


financial aid faq

How many UWW students are awarded financial aid each year?

Most UMass UWW students receive some form of financial aid. 

What types of financial aid might I be eligible for?

You may be eligible for grants, scholarships, loans, work-study, military benefits, or employer reimbursement. UWW scholarships for adult students are also available. 

Are international students eligible for financial aid?

Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents are eligible for federal financial aid. Learn more about financial aid for international students and visit EducationUSA for guidance on how to find scholarships and other sources of financial aid.     

How do I apply for financial aid?

Visit our Financial Aid page for for inforamtion on how to apply for federal financial aid.

When will I receive my financial aid package?

You will receive your financial aid package in the weeks following your acceptance. You will be able to view your package through UMass' online student records portal called SPIRE. 

What does financial aid generally cover?

Financial aid packages generally include contributions towards tuition, fees, books, and some living expenses. Once enrolled, you might be able to request financial aid for a new computer. 

I am a veteran. How do I know what benefits I might be eligible for? 

UMass Veteran Services can assist you with applying for your benefits.  In addition, veterans and active duty military do not have to pay the application fee. And if you have completed basic training, you can submit documentation of this and receive 3-4 academic credits. 

What is the UMass Amherst school code number for the FAFSA form?

The UMass Amherst school code number is 002221.

Do you have a question that's not answered here? Contact us. We're here to help. 


why uww faq

What is your accreditation?

The University Without Walls is an official academic program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, which is accredited at the highest standards by the New England Commission of Higher Education. The New England Commission of Higher Education is the regional accrediting agency for the New England states, recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, and it accredits all of the region’s public universities (University of Connecticut, University of New Hampshire, etc.) as well as many private ones (Brown, Harvard, MIT, etc.)

Are the faculty listed on your website full-time?

Yes. Unlike some schools that only hire contract workers to teach, our degree planning faculty are full-time University of Massachusetts Amherst employees. UMass UWW faculty and staff have dedicated their lives to supporting adult students. They are here day in and day out to teach, advise and support adults like you. In addition to our full-time faculty, we have hired a team of instructors, some of whom are retired UWW faculty, to teach one of our required courses. 

Is this a military-friendly program?

UMass UWW has an over 45 year history of helping veterans, military service members and military spouses finish their bachelor's degrees. UMass Amherst participates in the Yellow Ribbon program & is a GI Jobs "Military Friendly School" named a "Best for Vets College" by Military Times Edge. Veterans and active duty military do not have to pay the application fee. Check out our Welcome Military Families page. 

Is this a parent-friendly program?

Yes. Most UMass UWW students are parents. Most of our faculty and staff are parents. We get it. U.S. News and World Report and the Huffington Post have named us a child-friendly program for parents.  

Do you have a question that's not answered here? Contact us. We're here to help.


how it works faq

What does the the academic calendar look like?

The fall and spring semesters are 14 weeks. The winter session is 3 weeks long and there are two 6 week summer sessions.

How many classes do I have to take per semester?

You can take as many or as few as you like, although most UMass UWW students take two courses in the Fall semester and two in the Spring semester to qualify for financial aid.

Can I take classes on campus?

Yes, although some on-campus courses cost more than online courses. If you are interested in taking courses on campus, contact us for guidance. 

Can I take all my classes blended?

No. UWW offers its four core courses in a blended format. Other courses are 100% online. Or you can take courses on campus. 

Can I take all my classes online? 

Yes, unless you want to study something that we do not offer online courses for.  Contact us, tell us what you'd like to study, and find out what's possible. 

Are there any technology requirements I need to be aware of?

UMass Amherst uses a state-of-the-art online course delivery system called Blackboard Learn for its online and blended courses. To use Blackboard Learn you will need a computer robust enough to run a current operating system and browser as well as high speed internet. You will also need a recent version of Microsoft Excel, Powerpoint and Word. You will not be able to use the iPad or other mobile device for your online classes. Learn more about recommended computer requirements for being a UMass Amherst student (Mac requirementsWindows requirements), as well as what kind of basic operating system and web browser you'll need to take online and blended classes. 

How does getting credit for my portfolio work?

As a UMass UWW student, you will take a course called Writing About Experience. In this course, you will be supported in writing a portfolio of essays about what you have learned through your life and work experiences. This portfolio is then evaluated for academic credit.  You will be eligible to receive up to 30 residency credits towards your degree, with the most common number being 15.

How do I get credit for my professional trainings and certifications? 

Once you are a student, your advisor will review your professional trainings, advise you on which are eligible for additional credits, and help you assemble the documentation you will need to submit a request for additional (transfer) credits.

How do I get credit for my military training?

During the admissions process of shortly after enrollment, you should visit the Joint Services Transcript website and request that a copy of your Army, USMC/Navy, Marines, or Coast Guard JST military transcript be sent to UMass Amherst to be evaluated for transfer credit according to the VALOR Act Academic Credit Evaluation Policy.  We use the American Council on Education (ACE), CLEP, and DSST guidelines and apply the same standards to credits for military education as those applied to coursework from accredited colleges and universities.

Do you have a question that's not answered here? Contact us. We're here to help.