Two-Factor Authentication Is Here!

  image of the Duo Security logo

Amherst College has activated two-factor authentication (2FA) using Duo Security and currently offers it on a voluntary basis to all students, faculty, and staff.

2FA will become mandatory on the following schedule:

  • All staff: August 29, 2019
  • All faculty: September 24, 2019
  • All Amherst College students: September 24, 2019

2FA is used on most Amherst College web-based services, including Moodle, Gmail and other Google apps, and the Amherst website, and on many Amherst third-party services such as Slate (Admission) and Handshake (Loeb Center). (In tech speak, 2FA is enabled on all college web services that are "shib-enabled;" i.e, the ones that use the purple login screen.) 2FA is not used for computer logins; it only protects logins to services hosted on the web.

2FA is fast becoming a standard practice at colleges and universities because it offers additional login security and also protects your account if it is compromised by a phishing attack. If you have not enrolled by the deadline, you will be unable to log into a Duo-protected service. Instead, you will be redirected to the enrollment page until you do enroll. To maintain uninterruped access to College web services we strongly recommend that you enroll in Duo well before the deadline. 

Several older web-based systems--ACDATA in particular--are not compatible with Duo. As we replace these older systems with up-to-date ones such as Workday, the services they offer will automatically come under the Duo umbrella.

2FA is not required by alums, Five College students, parents and friends, retirees and emeriti, etc. It is for the use of Amherst students and employees only.

How it Works

Once you are enrolled in Duo, you'll see an extra login screen after you enter your Amherst username and password on a protected service. You'll then be promped to take a specific action to complete the login process. The action you take depends upon the devices you activate when you enroll in Duo. These include responding to a "push request" sent to your cell phone, responding to a phone call to your office phone, or entering an automatically-generated passcode. Once you've satisfied this "second factor," you'll be logged into the web service.

How to Enroll

Enrolling only takes a few minutes. Here's what you will need at hand: 

  • a computer
  • a phone--preferably a smartphone, but any phone will work, including a land line. You can also use an iOS or Android tablet. 
  • your Amherst ID card

Note that if you have an iPhone or iPad, or an Android phone or tablet, it saves time if you install the Duo Mobile app from the Apple or Google store before you begin the enrollment process.

Access the Amherst College Duo Enrollment Page

Although Duo works all over the world, we suggest that you enroll while in the United States. If you will not be in the country before your enrollment deadline, please fill out the Duo Exception Form.

If you don't have access to a phone or other device required for 2FA, or for some other reason don't think you can use 2FA, please fill out the Duo Exception Form.

The following video is generic but nonetheless a good introduction of how you enroll a smartphone. 

Help with Duo

You can enroll at one of our general information and enrollment sessions, open to everyone. See the IT Training and Events Calendar

Department representatives should contact Bob Ryan (, x2642) to set up an enrollment session for your department.

If you stop by the Help Desk in Seeley Mudd during business hours we will be happy to help you enroll in Duo. Be sure to bring your phone and Amherst ID with you.

If you have any problems with self-enrollment or with using Duo, please contact AskIT

More Information

Frequently Asked Questions about 2FA at Amherst: Will Duo work while you're abroad? What happens if you forget your phone? Answers to these and many other questions.

Duo Exception Form: Let us know about circumstances and concerns that may prevent you from using 2FA. Such circumstances could be temporary or permanent.

How to Enroll a Security Key: A security key is a small USB device that lets you satisfy 2FA requests with the press of a button.

What is 2FA?: A video from Duo explaining the rationale behind two-factory authentication.