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

Marla Solomon, Ed.D., Director, Partnership Programs
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 for coordinating collaborative programs. Staff members of the consortium meet regularly with cooperating groups, including the student government presidents.

Taking a Course at Another Campus

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 eligible for graduation credit at Amherst; the Amherst College Registrar’s Office must first determine that a course qualifies as a liberal arts course, but in many cases Amherst students may take not-for-Amherst-credit courses at other campuses for no additional fee. A complete listing of all undergraduate courses on the five campuses available for cross-registration each semester is published on the Five College website.

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.

An Amherst student may enroll in no more than two courses at the other four campuses in any one semester.

Five College Academic Programs

Detailed information about each of the Five College academic programs and activities profiled 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 to Amherst College students for study and research, including a major in film studies, a major in architectural studies and certificates in 14 other areas. 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; coastal and marine sciences; culture, health and science; ethnomusicology; international relations; Latin American, Caribbean and Latino studies; logic; Middle Eastern studies; Native American and indigenous studies; queer and sexuality studies; Russian, East European and Eurasian studies; and sustainability studies.

Students wishing to study a language not offered at Amherst (whether for study abroad, to complete certificate work or to pursue graduate study) should explore information about courses offered through the Five College Center for the Study of World Languages. The Center has a Five College language portal Web page, providing information about and links to all languages offered in the Five Colleges. The Center itself offers courses combining individualized instruction and classroom conversation sessions with native speakers in many less-commonly-taught languages. Offerings may vary each year but have recently included Afrikaans, Albanian, Amharic, Arabic dialects (Egyptian, Levantine, Moroccan and others), Bengali, Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Bulgarian, Burmese, Cantonese, Catalan, Czech, Danish, Dari (Afghan Persian), Farsi (Persian), Filipino/Tagalog, Finnish, Hindi, Indonesian, Irish, Malay, Mongolian, Nepali, Norwegian, Pashto, Persian (Iranian Farsi), Swahili, Thai, Tibetan, Turkish, Turkmen, Twi, Ukrainian, Urdu, Uzbek, Vietnamese, Wolof, Xhosa, Yoruba and Zulu. A number of Five College programs offer an annual student symposium, bringing students from all five campuses together to share their research. In recent years these have included anthropology, African studies, ethnomusicology, classics, coastal and marine sciences, film studies and geology, as well as queer and sexuality studies. There is also an annual Five College exhibition of student artwork (in December) and annual speech contests in Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

Intercampus buses

The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) provides a fare-free bus service among the five campuses to students seven days a week during the academic year. Students may be asked to present institutional IDs. Buses run approximately every 20 to 30 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.

Eating Meals at Another Campus

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 breakfast or dinner 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 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. Other Five College annual events featuring student work and performances include the poetry festival, the student film festival and numerous performances produced by the Five College Dance department.

With 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. Additionally, event information can be found at Five College program Web pages and through Five College social media ( and The Five College Student Coordinating Board (SCB) is made up of presidents from each campus Student Government Association (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, religious and women’s organizations are commonly supported by members from the different campuses.

Groups of students from three or more campuses who plan an event jointly may request supplemental funding from the Student Coordinating Board. 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