Degree Requirements & Elective Courses

University General Education (GenEd) Requirements

Emily Jacoboski - best in show 2016All students are required to complete the General Education experience.  The purpose of the GenEd requirement is to stretch students’ minds, broaden their experiences, and prepare them for:  college experiences and subsequent professional training, careers and productive lives, community engagement and informed citizenship, a diverse and rapidly changing world, and a lifetime of learning.  It is important that you plan your GenEd courses carefully with the help of your academic advisor so that you are choosing subjects that interest you and that will create a unifying experience for you. You do not need to complete your GenEd courses at the start of your college career; plan to distribute them throughout your four years.  Keep in mind that Gen Ed courses cannot be taken on a pass/fail basis.

     Students can track their GenEd requirements through their Academic Requirements Report, available on the menu at the left hand side of their Student Center in SPIRE. Classes in the shopping cart will be listed under the appropriate GenEd with a blue star icon, so that students can double-check that the course fulfills the requirement before they register.  Many of a student’s GenEd requirements will be fulfilled by classes that students are taking to fulfill major requirements.  The GenEd requirements remaining that are chosen by the student are:  

One  -  4 credit Historical Studies (HS)

One  -  4 credit Literature or Art (AL or AT)

One  -  4 credit Social & Behavioral Studies (SB)

Of these three classes, two should also qualify for the United States diversity requirement (e.g. HSDU, ALDU, ATDU, or SBDU) or the Global diversity requirement (e.g. HSDG, ALDG, ATDG, or SBDG). 

     Students can search for classes to fulfill specific GenEd requirements in SPIRE- Course Guide - Search for Classes - Uncheck "Show open classes only" - Choose three options: e.g. (1) Course Number greater than or equal to 100, (2) Session- University, (3) GenEd category.

     Students can also transfer in GenEd courses taken at other universities in the US or abroad by filling out and submitting the Prior Approval form to the Undergraduate Registrar’s Office, 213 Whitmore Administration Building.

     The GenEd requirements for students transferring to UMass Amherst after fall 2010 are: one 4 credit Historical Studies (HS); one 3 credit Arts & Literature (AL or AT);  one 3 credit Social & Behavioral Science (SB) and two additional Gen Ed classes (AL, AT, BS, HS, I, PS, R1, R2, SB, SI). Of these classes, two should also qualify for the United States diversity requirement (e.g. HSDU, ALDU, ATDU, or SBDU) or the Global diversity requirement (e.g. HSDG, ADLG, ATDG, or SBDG). The IE requirement is waived for students who transfer in greater than or equal to 57 credits. Students who transfer in less than 57 credits and are not able to take an IE class before graduation can apply to the CNS dean for a waiver of the IE requirement.

Integrative Experience Requirement - The upper-division integrative experience (IE) provides a structured context for students to reflect on their own learning and explore the connections between the broad exposure provided by General Education and the more focused exposure of their major. This requirement can be fulfilled by either ANIMLSCI 494GI or ANIMLSCI 494EI.  Commonwealth Honors College students should follow honors procedures for Honors 499Y and 499T with ANIMLSCI 494TI.

ANIMLSCI 494GI – Integrative Experience - Good Intentions (Spring) 3 credits
Focuses on understanding and solving problems that have arisen, at least in part, from human-animal interactions. While these interactions frequently originate with the best of intentions, the consequences are often unexpected and not very good. Through reading primary peer-reviewed literature as well as web postings, students will acquire the specific knowledge, which, combined with information from their previous courses in their major and general education classes, will form the basis for group and class discussions.

ANIMLSCI 494EI – Integrative Experience - One Health (Fall) 3 credits
The One Health concept recognizes that the health of humans, animals, and the environment is interdependent and acknowledges that a collaborative effort from multiple disciplines is necessary to solve the complex health problems facing society today. This transdisciplinary approach can be applied at the local, regional, national, and international level to achieve the most favorable health outcomes. Students in this course will analyze contemporary global health topics and integrate current and previous learning experiences to identify solutions to real-world problems.

Major Course Requirements

Students are encouraged to evaluate their academic abilities and consider upgrading the basic requirements to more advanced levels, which are required for entrance into professional and graduate schools. These advanced levels are presented in the "required for Pre-Veterinary" column below.

Basic Science Core

  Animal Science Major                                              Pre-Veterinary Major
Biology BIOLOGY 151 & 152 &  BIOLOGY 153 lab BIOLOGY 151 & 152 & BIOLOGY 153 lab
General Chemistry CHEM 111 & CHEM 112 CHEM 111 & CHEM 112
Organic Chemistry CHEM 261 or CHEM 250 CHEM 261 & CHEM 262 & CHEM 269
Biochemistry   BIOCHEM 320 BIOCHEM 320 (lab 321 recommended) or BIOCHEM 423/424
Math MATH 101 & 102 or MATH 104   MATH 104, MATH 127 or MATH 131 (calculus)



Microbiology         MICROBIOLOGY 310 MICROBIOLOGY 310
Microbiology Lab ANIMLSCI 366 required for Biotech concentration,
optional for Animal Management concentration
Physics None PHYSICS 131 & 132


Animal Science Core

  Animal Science Major* Pre-Veterinary Major
Introduction to Animal Science ANIMLSCI 101 ANIMLSCI 101
Introduction to Animal Management ANIMLSCI 103 ANIMLSCI 103
Anatomy and Physiology ANIMLSCI 220 ANIMLSCI 220
Animal Care and Welfare ANIMLSCI 260 ANIMLSCI 260
Cellular and Molecular Biology ANIMLSCI 285 ANIMLSCI 285
Genetics ANIMLSCI 311 ANIMLSCI 311
Animal Nutrition and Feeding ANIMLSCI 333 or 332 ANIMLSCI 332
Careers in Animal Science ANIMLSCI 392A none
CNS Junior Year Writing NATSCI 387 NATSCI 387
Integrative Experience ANIMLSCI 494GI/494EI ANIMLSCI 494GI/494EI
Infection & Immunity/Molecular Immunology ANIMLSCI 472 or 572 ANIMLSCI 472 or 572
Reproduction ANIMLSCI 421 or 521 ANIMLSCI 521

*Additional requirements apply to each Animal Science concentration/subplan.

Related Courses That Can Be Taken in Other Departments

Students may meet their elective requirements by taking classes in Departments other than Veterinary & Animal Sciences. The following list is for informational purposes only. Students should check all prerequisites.  Students should note that some classes are only offered in the Spring or Fall semester and some are only offered alternate years.  Students should consult with their advisor before choosing courses that are not listed.

Primate Behavior ANTHRO 317
Biochemistry of Health and Disease BIOCHEM 390
Elementary Biochemistry Lab BIOCHEM 321
General Biochemistry I BIOCHEM 423
General Biochemistry II BIOCHEM 424
Marine Vertebrate BIOLOGY 273
Evolution: Diversity of Life through time BIOLOGY 280
Introduction to Ecology BIOLOGY 287
Animal Movement BIOLOGY 497AMST
Population Genetics BIOLOGY 514
Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy BIOLOGY 521
Histology BIOLOGY 523
Principles of Evolution BIOLOGY 528
Herpetology BIOLOGY 540
Ichthyology BIOLOGY 542
Ornithology BIOLOGY 544
Mammalogy BIOLOGY 548
Animal Behavior (spring session preferred) BIOLOGY 550
Cellular and Molecular Biology II BIOLOGY 559
Human Physiology & lab (alternate years) BIOLOGY 564
Comparative Animal Physiology BIOLOGY 566
Endocrinology BIOLOGY 568
Developmental Biology BIOLOGY 580
Advanced Genetics BIOLOGY 583
Animal Communication BIOLOGY 597AC
Interpersonal Communications COMM 250
Public Speaking COMM 260
Introduction to Microeconomics ECON 103
Working with Middle & High School Teachers EDUC 524
Ecosystems, Biodiversity & Global Change ENVIRSCI 214
The Science of Food FOODSCI 150
Survey of Food Science FOODSCI 265
Biology of Food in Human Health FOODSCI 270
Child Development HUMANDEV 270
New Venture Creation MANAGMNT 241
Biology of Cancer and AIDS MICROBIO 160
Microbial Genetics MICROBIO 330
Physiology and Diversity MICROBIO 480
Immunology Laboratory MICROBIO 542
Infection and Immunity MICROBIO 550
Animal Virology MICROBIO 570
Parasitology MICROBIO 590S
Fish Conservation and Management NRC 260
Wildlife Conservation NRC 261
Evolution and Conservation NRC 390E
Wetlands, Wildlife Ecology and Management NRC 563
Wildlife Habitat Management NRC 564
Wildlife Population Dynamic and Management NRC 565
Ecology of Fish NRC 570
Fisheries Science & Management NRC 571
Natural Resource Inventory of Local Lands NRC 586
Aquatic Ecology NRC 590AE
Conservation and Animal Behavior NRC 597CB ST
Restoration Ecology NRC 597 RE ST
Conservation Genetics NRC 597F
Introduction to Psychology as a Biological Science PSYCH 110
Developmental Psychology PSYCH 350
Adolescent Psychology PSYCH 355
Animal Cognition PSYCH 391 QQ-S
Lab in Animal Learning PSYCH 420
Introduction to Resource Economics RESECON 102
Microeconomics RESECON 103
Soils with Lab STOCKSCH 105
Equipment Operations STOCKSCH 201
Pasture Management with Lab STOCKSCH 211
Intro to Teaching Agricultural Education STOCKSCH 290AE
Sustainable Soil & Crop Management STOCKSCH 350
Vocational Agricultural Education Seminar STOCKSCH 390VO

Graduate Level Courses

Graduate level courses are open to Honors students with appropriate academic backgrounds and fulfill requirements for honors courses. Students with an interest in Biotechnology & Research emphasis are particularly encouraged to take these as well as students interested in the Masters program. 

Cancer Biology ANIMLSCI 581
Cells and Genes  ANIMLSCI 650
Advanced Immunology ANIMLSCI 670
Animal Biotechnology/Biomedical Science Seminar ANIMLSCI 792
Journal Club - Immunology ANIMLSCI 794A
Journal Club - Cells, Genes and Development ANIMLSCI 795A

Monitoring Your Degree Progress in SPIRE

Students monitor their degree progress by logging on to SPIRE using their i.d. and password. SPIRE provides a current Academic Requirements Report which includes all courses completed, all transfer courses accepted and what they were applied towards, grades and credit hours earned, as well as indicating outstanding University requirements in RED.  Before meeting with their departmental academic advisor, students should plan their classes and have noted all University Gen Ed requirements that are outstanding.

Course Substitutions & Waivers

Students must meet the requirements listed for their major and concentration as listed in their Academic Requirements Report (ARR) in order to be cleared for graduation by the Veterinary & Animal Sciences Department. To apply for approval of a course substitution, or in extenuating circumstances, a waiver, students must fill out an application available at The student’s advisor includes a statement and the application is considered by the departmental Curriculum Committee.

Required Major Course

Accepted Substitution







ANIMLSCI 332 - no substitution for Pre-Vet majors

ANIMLSCI 333 - Animal Science majors only







Courses taken at outside universities to meet graduation requirements must be pre-approved. There are two forms for domestic transfer courses: Prior approval for Completing Senior Year in Absentia (for seniors and for any part of the senior year) and Prior Approval for Transfer Course Work.  An International Prior Approval form can be obtained from the International Program Office. If the course to be transferred has not previously been approved for all UMass students by the Registrar’s Office and is to be used to fulfill major requirements, the transfer course must be pre-approved by the student’s advisor on the appropriate form. The student is responsible for supplying the course description, syllabus, and the name of the textbook, so the student’s advisor can evaluate whether the course to be transferred is the equivalent of the course required by the major. Prior approval of transfer is important to expedite the successful transfer of courses. A minimum C- grade in the course to be transferred is required.

Access information on AP and IB credits.

UMass does not allow students to take most courses multiple times for credits. For example, a student can’t transfer in and receive credit for an AP Calculus course and then also receive credit for the same level Calculus course taken at UMass. Students can petition the registrar to remove AP course credits if they decide they want to retake a course at UMass for which they have previously received AP credits.

International Baccalaureate – IB credit will be awarded to those students who score a 4-7 on the higher level IB exams. Official scores should be sent to the Admissions Office.