Office of Student Affairs

Five Colleges, Inc.

Neal B. Abraham, Ph.D., Executive Director
Carol Aleman, B.A., Assistant to the Executive Director
Sue Dickman, M.F.A., Academic Programs Liaison
Nancy Goff, M.S., Director of Development
Kevin S. Kennedy, B.A., Director of Communications
Sarah Lince, M.Sc., Academic Programs Coordinator
Barbara Lucey, B.S., Treasurer
Yvette Morneau, B.S., Business Manager and Assistant Treasurer
Nathan A. Therien, Ph.D., Director for Academic Programs
Maria Toyofuku, M.S., Director of Information Technology

97 Spring Street, Amherst, MA 01002
(413) 542-4009

Five College Cooperation

Five Colleges, Inc., serves the consortium’s member institutions by maintaining and facilitating a variety of cooperative agreements, programs and projects. It is governed by a Board of Directors that is made up of the president of each of the colleges, the chancellor of the university, the president of the university system and the consortium’s executive director. The Five College center, located in downtown Amherst at 97 Spring St., is the administrative hub of all Five College programs and options, including the student Interchange. The executive director of the consortium and his staff meet regularly with all cooperating groups, which include the deans of faculty, business officers, deans of students, library directors and registrars, IT staff members, admission officers and student government presidents, as well as groups of faculty members engaged in joint planning.

Student Interchange

Through the Five College Student Interchange, Amherst students may take liberal arts courses for credit and at no additional charge at any of the other four campuses. Not all courses offered at the other institutions are creditable at Amherst; the Amherst College Registrar’s Office must first determine that a course qualifies as a liberal arts course.

Students are advised to consult Interchange information at the Amherst College Registrar's website. At this site, students can submit requests to take courses at Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College or the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

During preregistration, the instructor’s permission is required if the course information so indicates; during the add/drop period, the instructor’s permission is required for all Five College Interchange courses. Permission can usually be obtained via email.

A student may elect no more than two Five College courses in any one semester.

Five College Academic Programs

Detailed information about each of the programs and activities profiled here can be found on the Five College website.

A variety of cooperative arrangements give students special options for developing concentrations not available on their own individual campuses or for taking part in field studies, student research forums or special events. In addition to the two Five College departments — Astronomy and Dance — Five College programs offer unique opportunities for study and research, including a major in film studies and a major in architectural studies. Programs in coastal and marine sciences and in geology offer partially subsidized field research trips. The Five College Program in Peace and World Security Studies (PAWSS) mounts lectures and other special events and has extensive information on careers in the field, both in print and on the PAWSS website. The Five College Early Music program supports an active collegium and several ensembles and arranges for instruction on period instruments. (“Painless auditions” for the ensembles are scheduled in the fall and spring.) A student wishing to develop a concentration comparable to a minor may elect to earn a Five College Certificate in any of the following fields: African studies; Asian/Pacific/American studies; Buddhist studies; culture, health and science; ethnomusicology; internationl relations; Latin American, Caribbean and Latino studies; logic; Middle Eastern studies; Native American Indian studies; queer and sexuality studies; Russian, East European and Eurasian studies; and sustainability studies.

Students planning to study abroad, to complete certificate work, or to pursue graduate study may want to find out more about courses offered through the Five College Center for the Study of World Languages. The Center offers courses combining individualized instruction and classroom conversation sessions in many less-commonly taught languages, including Levantine, Arabic, Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Hindi, Indonesian, Persian, Swahili, Turkish and Urdu. In addition, through its Supervised Independent Language Program, the center offers instruction in an additional 28 languages.

A number of Five College programs offer an annual student symposium, bringing students from all five campuses together to share their research. These include anthropology; Asian/Pacific/American studies; classics; coastal and marine sciences; film studies; geology; and physics. There is also an annual Five College exhibition of student artwork (in December); an annual Chinese speech contest; an annual Five College Film Festival and a Five College PoetryFest, both featuring work produced by students (in the spring); and WORD!, a staged reading of original scripts on multicultural themes by student writers (in March).


Fare-free bus service among the five campuses is provided for students seven days a week during the academic year. Students may be asked to present institutional IDs. Buses run approximately every 10 to 20 minutes during peak-use hours on weekdays, and express runs have been added to some routes. The longest distance between any two campuses is 12 miles. Copies of the bus schedule are available on the buses and at

Library Cooperation

The Five College library catalog enables students to search the combined collections without leaving their own dorm rooms. In addition, students and faculty from the Five Colleges may check out books from any of the institutional libraries and some branch libraries by using their own home campus ID cards. They may also go online to request books to be delivered to their home campuses. Borrowers must abide by the regulations of the lending library but may return borrowed materials at their home campuses.

Meal Interchange

Students enrolled in meal plans at Amherst may eat lunch at no additional charge at any of the other four campuses by obtaining a special authorization card from the Dining Services Office at Amherst. To eat dinner or breakfast at another campus, a student must be taking a course there or participating in an activity, such as a theater production or ensemble.

Regulations and Procedures

While engaged in academic or other activities at any of the Five Colleges, students are subject to the regulations and procedures of the institution where the activity takes place. The deans of students have declared that “on the bus is on campus,” meaning that any Amherst student whose behavior on a Five College bus violates the campus code of conduct is subject to judicial proceedings and possible suspension.

Extracurricular Activities

The five theater departments abide by an open-auditions policy, giving students opportunities to take part in productions at other campuses. The Five College Multicultural Theater Committee sponsors an annual Five College festival of staged readings of works by students, called WORD! The Five College Early Music Program sponsors a collegium open by audition to faculty and students. With an Amherst ID, students may purchase tickets to performances at the UMass Fine Arts Center at discounted rates. The online Five College calendar of events lists lectures, films, concerts and other activities taking place on all five campuses.

The Five College Student Coordinating Board (SCB) is made up of presidents from each campus SGA, plus a representative chosen by each SGA. The Student Coordinating Board funds activities and events that bring together students from all five campuses and also programs its own events. Meetings, which are open, take place each month during the school year. For more information, contact Kevin Kennedy at

Not all the cooperative programs taking place among the Five Colleges are formal; student groups affiliated with one or more campuses often have participants from several of the other institutions. Political organizations, community service groups and religious and women’s organizations are commonly supported by members from the different campuses.

Lectures, films, concerts and other performances at the five campuses contribute to a lively cultural and social life for students. Most of these are listed in the online Five College calendar of events. Groups of students from three or more campuses who plan an event jointly may request supplemental funding from the Five College Lecture Fund. Credit and noncredit courses, as well as special trips and other events scheduled during January, are usually open to participation by students from any of the five campuses.

School Information