University of Massachusetts-Amherst Top Questions

What are the academics like at University of Massachusetts-Amherst?


The philosophy department here is really strong. Through logic classes I learned a lot about making and analyzing arguments which will certainly help me for my graduate degree.


General education classes are very manageable, as are pre-requisite classes for majors. As you progress, time-management becomes more important because classes get more rigorous.


They're great


UMass is a big school. Professors will most likely know your name and face in smaller discussion sections, but won't be able to pick you out in 200 person lectures. If you wish to have a more intimate relationship with a professor, it is your responsibility to go to his/her office hours.


Academics at UMass can range from massive 400 people lectures to very small classes. For the generic classes that everyone needs to take there are often many students taking them which results in huge lectures. But I'm also in an honors course that has around 30 students with 4 teachers in it. In this type of class the professors will get to know your name and personalize with you. This is my favorite type of class because there are not too many people in it, and it generally is easier to learn because you can get the help you need and not have to deal with the constant distractions that go along with huge lectures. Class participation is also very common in all types of classes. In the large lectures there are iClickers that are toll taking remotes that connect to the teachers computer and tell them what the majority of students think. This is used for in class questions and the like. Teachers also take students questions in these classes but they cannot take as much time to answer them because they are on a set schedule. In smaller classes iClickers are not used as much but the teachers are more willing to take your questions. My major is Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB), which is one of the more challenging at the school. the BMB department help through my adviser by talking to me about my classes and what my plans are for the future. The education at UMass is geared more towards getting a job, which is absolutely fine with me. That is the reason most people are going to college in the first place, so they have better chances of getting their dream job.


At UMass, I have always felt a satisfactory balance in the academics. I have a few classes that are held in large lecture halls and consist of two to three hundred students. Needless to say, I don't have any sort of relationship with my professor in those classes. However, I also have a couple of much smaller classes that consist of fifteen or even as little as seven kids. We are able to have intellectual discussions, learn from each other, and interact with the professor. This semester, I am taking an English course about Food Writing and it has been an extraordinary experience. It is a relatively small class that consists of food demos, writing about what we eat, reading pieces from famous food writers, and even outside-of-the-classroom projects: our most recent one being a restaurant scavenger hunt in town. It has really defined my skills as a food writer and epicurean.


Academics are pretty solid. Most of the professors seem very smart, I've gotten used to addressing my professors as "Dr." now instead of "Mr. or Mrs." There is a pretty big range in studying, but pretty much is at least marginally academically active. Personally I'm probably up there in terms of studying, but then again I seem to take my grades a lot more seriously than a lot of my friends. I'm in the college of natural sciences, which does a lot of active research students can get involved in which is nice. The academic requirements are good within the major and in an interdisciplinary light. My most interesting class is one I am currently in, "Violence in American Culture." It's taught by this pretty brilliant mexican professor who has made me look at the world in a completely difference way after just 3 weeks in his class.


At UMASS Amherst, the academic departments are staffed with renowned, accessible abd helpful professors. While lecture halls full of hundreds define most students' first two years, their junior and senior years involve smaller, discussion oriented classes. At least in my experience, discussions stimulated by class reading, outside reading, and classroom discussion often find their way to the dormitories or cafeterias. I have continued these discussions with professors, who, as I suggested earlier, are some of the most helpful, well read and interesting people I have met. My major, political science, has afforded me a learning experience that I could not have fully anticipated. Engaging in studies of America, Europe, Asia and underdeveloped nations, I find myself constantly hungering for more information that will afford me a better world perspective. While a liberal arts major, political science is absolutely geared toward both employment as well as ecuation. I could find a job in a wide variety of fields, including law, ecucation, international relations etc.


It all depends on the classes, teachers, and how seriously you take school. A's aren't impossible, but some classes are much easier than others. I think it's like every school in this sense, it comes down to major, level, and professor.


Like I said above, the academic experience varies tremendously with the classes you take. My favorite classes are little ones. The best/most unique class I've taken is called Grassroots Community Organizing; it is a student-led discussion-based class focusing on community empowerment and social change and involves a lot of reading, learning from each other, reflection and a spring break trip during which you work with a non profit. I learned so much in that class and it changed my life and the way I look at the world, and the group is very close. The class was last spring and we hang out together still.