More Information About Taking Five College Courses

Student Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the student:

  • to arrange with the instructor for making up any work missed at the opening of the term.
  • to arrange to keep up with course work despite calendar disjunction
  • to follow the host college's procedures for access to on-line course materials
  • to make provision for food and lodging when dormitories at the home campus are closed.
  • be sure the class you select is not online or a hybrid class.  If you have questions about this, please contact the registrar's office for course approval.

Five College Buses

Five College bus information can be found here.

Students can ride UMASS buses for free. Students with a valid Five College ID can ride the B43 bus between Amherst College and Smith College for free during the semester. For PVTA schedules, visit

Please note: Bus schedules change during reading days and exams as well as during interterm and the summer.


If you will require lunch on one or more week days at another college, you should first go to the Food Service Office in Valentine Hall to complete the requisite authorization form. You will then be directed to the food service office at the other institution for assignment to a dining hall.

If you require a meal off-campus at any other time, you should follow the same procedure, but you must also present evidence that a legitimate academic activity makes it necessary that you eat that meal at the other campus. A scheduled class is, of course, the most obvious legitimate academic activity.

Additional information regarding meals can be found at Amherst College Meal Plans.


The grade in the course will conform to the grading system current at the receiving institution. No student can receive a grade in an interchange course that is not valid at the institution where the course is taught. (Hampshire is the only other college that uses A+.)

Five College interchange grades are recorded on the Amherst College transcript as given by the institution offering the course. For the purpose of determining averages, these grades are accorded as the corresponding Amherst grades. D+ and D-, which are not used by Amherst, are accorded 1.33 points and .67 points respectively. Grades of Fail from Hampshire, NP from Mount Holyoke and E from Smith are treated as F’s. A grade of Pass, like the Amherst grade P, does not affect the average. Amherst students are allowed two pass grades in their academic program. Pass grades received at the other colleges and university are considered being within this allowance even if the pass/fail grade is mandated as part of the course. No more than one pass/fail graded course can be taken in any one semester. Students are required to submit the Pass/Fail form by the indicated deadline if the course is being taken Pass/Fail

Please Note:

Students taking interchange courses at another Five College institution are, in those courses, subject to the academic regulations including the grading system, calendar, deadlines, and academic honor system of the host institution. It is the responsibility of the student to become familiar with the pertinent regulations and deadlines of the host institution. Inquiries should be addressed to the Registrar at the appropriate institution. Amherst students must follow Amherst policies regarding extensions and pass/fail.  Seniors taking classes their final semester should confirm with their instructors that their grades will be turned in by the deadline.  Failure to get the grade in on time may result in a delay in graduation.

Special Topics Courses

Special Topics/Independent Study courses taken at UMASS, Mt Holyoke, Hamshire or Smith must have the approval of the Amherst Department Chair the discipline falls under, as well as the Amherst Registrar, prior to registration. A copy of the course description and/or syllabus is also required.

Education Courses

Amherst students interested in taking education courses through the 5-colleges should submit their requests to the Registrar at Amherst.  The CEP recently approved allowing liberal arts education courses beyond the secondary program at Mt. Holyoke.

Interterm Courses

Courses at Mt. Holyoke, Smith and Hampshire taken during inter-term are not transferable to Amherst. Students interested in enrolling should be aware that no grades or credit will be accepted and that such courses will not appear on the student's Amherst transcript.

For-credit courses taken at UMass during inter-term may be submitted to Amherst for transfer credit if the student has a course deficiency to be made up. These courses are not taken through the Five-College interchange but through UMass' Continuing Education program. They must be approved in advance by the Amherst College Registrar. The student is responsible for tuition and fees charged by UMass. Online courses are not accepted for credit.

Approved/Denied Five College Courses

Below are two lists showing five college courses that have been historically approved and denied academic credit. Students still have the option of enrolling in courses on the "Denied" list, but those courses will not be awarded academic credit.

Approved Courses

Denied Courses