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Visit Gen Ed @ UMass to understand and get the information you need to fulfill the UMass Amherst General Education requirements.
College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams test college-level learning in a variety of subject areas, offering an option for a less expensive and faster way to meet general education requirements, demonstrate independent learning, and earn credit. You can even fulfill your R1 and CW requirements this way!
Here is a list of CLEP exams accepted by UMass Amherst. Before signing up for a CLEP exam, you should check with your advisor to be sure it is accepted for transfer. You will need to complete and submit the Prior Approval for Transfer Coursework form prior to registering for CLEP general exams. All CLEP exams are administered by the College Board and are included on transcripts as transfer credit.
Some CLEP prep classes are offered online for free through Modern States. Courses consist of four to six hours of lectures, as well as access to free textbook readings and supplementary videos. The CLEP preparation page also has study guides that can help.
Note: Some CLEP testing centers are currently closed. If you wish to sign up, ensure that the center where you wish to take an exam will be open before registering.
One of the University’s general education requirements for graduation is the R1 (Basic Math Skills) requirement. If you are unsure whether or not you have met the R1 requirement, check your SPIRE Academic Requirements Report or contact your advisor.
There are three ways to meet this requirement:
1. Take a course through UMass Amherst or elsewhere
Many courses within the Department of Mathematics and Statistics that meet the R2 (Analytic Reasoning) requirement for graduation also meet the R1 requirement. In addition, there are courses that only meet the R1 requirement. You can search for courses that meet the R1 or R2 requirement on SPIRE. To find out if a course that meets the R2 requirement also meets the R1 requirement, read the course description. If you elect to take a course elsewhere and transfer it in, it must at least be at the college algebra or intermediate algebra level; statistics courses may also meet the requirement. Consult with your advisor before registering for courses at another college.
2. Take the R1 Exemption Exam
The free R1 Exemption Exam is administered online by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and offered twice every semester.
3. Take a CLEP exam
The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) exams in College Algebra and College Algebra/Trigonometry meet the R1 requirement. Always speak with your advisor before signing up.
Another of the University’s general education requirements is the College Writing (CW) requirement. If you are unsure whether or not you need the CW, check your SPIRE Academic Advisement Report or contact your advisor.
Three ways to meet the CW requirement
- Take a College Level Examination Program Test (CLEP): The CLEP test College Composition and English Composition (with essay) meets the CW requirement. Always speak with your advisor before signing up.
- Take a course at a college other than UMass Amherst: Always speak with your advisor before registering for courses at another college.
- Fulfill the requirement at UMass Amherst: If you choose to fulfill the CW requirement through UMass Amherst, the first thing you’ll need to do is take the College Writing (CW) Placement Questionnaire. This free questionnaire can be completed online anytime. Be sure to visit the Writing Program website for further instructions.
Three possible paths after the questionnaire
- Some students will be encouraged to take ENGLWRIT 112 at UMass Amherst or the equivalent at another school to fulfill the CW general education requirement. ENGLWRIT 112 is offered online at UMass Amherst during the summer.
- Some students will be encouraged to take ENGLWRIT 112 at UMass Amherst or the equivalent at another school to fulfill the CW general education requirement, but also to seek additional writing support before or while taking the course.
- Regardless of questionnaire results, some students may wish to complete the waiver process to fulfill the CW general education requirement, which involves writing an essay comparable to the final assignment in ENGLWRIT 112. If you wish to complete the waiver process, email @email after completing the College Writing Placement Questionnaire.
Sometimes life happens and you need to take a break from school. We understand. Here’s how to do it right.
- Contact your advisor and let them know you need to take time off.
- Make arrangements to take care of any outstanding bills.
- When you’re ready to start classes again, submit the Undergraduate Reactivation Form.
- Once you're reactivated, your access to SPIRE and your email will be restored and your academic advisor will be in touch.
Below you will find some helpful videos with information covering common questions students have about various topics. If you have any questions about a video, please contact your academic advisor.