Detailed information about other offices and programs can be found in their respective sections of the Consortium’s website. If you have remaining questions, contact the appropriate office or call (413) 542-4000.
Apply to every campus in which you are interested. Each campus makes its own admission and financial aid decisions and does not share its decisions with other campuses.
You will enroll at one of the five campuses: Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, Smith or UMass. Grades from classes you take at other Five College campuses will transfer automatically to your home campus and will appear on your transcript. Your degree will be from your home campus.
Three of the schools are in Amherst, Massachusetts and the other two are in neighboring towns. It would be possible to do a "drive-by" of each school in one day, but one day is not enough time to take tours and do interviews. To do a tour, an interview, and perhaps visit with some students and faculty members or sit in on a class would take at least half a day on each campus.
Three campuses -- Amherst, Hampshire and UMass Amherst -- are within 10-minute drives of one another in Amherst, Massachusetts. Mount Holyoke is a 20 minute drive from Amherst in South Hadley and Smith, in the city of Northampton, is a 20-minute drive from any of the other campuses.
Follow your home campus registrar's instructions for cross registration. Use the link to your campus to learn more about enrolling in courses taken off-campus through cross registration:
Pre-Registration vs. Registration: Students may request enrollment in a course at another campus during pre-registration, following procedures at their home campus. Requests to add or drop courses should be made during your home campus add/drop period, during which additional documentation and/or instructor permission may be required. If permission is required for registration, consult with the instructor and provide proof of the instructor’s approval according to your home campus registrar’s rules.
During preregistration, students may preregister for a maximum of two academic courses at other campuses for the upcoming semester. (Part-time students may have a lower limit.) This preregistration limit may be lifted during add/drop. However, UMass students should check at the Five College Interchange Office in Goodell and students at the other campuses should check with the Registrar’s Office at their home institution to determine if there is a limit on the number of courses you may take at the other campuses in a given semester or overall toward your academic program. You should also check as to whether or not there are restrictions on how a particular course will apply toward your degree.
Note that students from other campuses can take a maximum of two academic courses at Amherst College in a given semester per Amherst College policy.
Students taking a course through cross registration are subject to the academic regulations of the hosting campus. It is the responsibility of the student to be familiar with the regulations and expectations of the host institution, including those for attendance, academic honesty, grading options (including incompletes) and deadlines for completing coursework and taking examinations.
Exam schedules: Keep in mind that there may be differences in the dates of the exam period at your home campus and the campus where you are taking a course through cross registration. Be familiar with the schedules, and make arrangements in advance for transportation and and living space if needed. Exam period schedules for each campus are posted on the Five College Academic Calendar.
Students taking a course through cross registration must make arrangements to complete work missed due to any calendar differences between institutions. They should do so at the start of term. Instructors are not required to make these special arrangements.
Final grades: Especially a concern for graduating seniors, note that final grades for courses taken off-campus are processed at the host campuses registration office and then sent to your home campus registrar's office to be added to the student's transcript. Keep in mind that grades for courses taken through cross registration may not be available to your home campus registrar at the same time as grades at your home campus. Plan accordingly and ask your home campus registrar well in advance of the end of the semester if you have any questions. Dates grades are "due" at each campus are posted on the Five College Academic Calendar.
The official record for any course taken through the Five College Interchange is on the student's home institution transcript. Inquiries brought to the host institution will be referred to the student's home institution.
Eligible courses must fall within the field of liberal arts as defined by the student's home campus. Consult your home campus registrar's office if you have any questions about taking a course at another campus and/or if there might be restrictions for receiving academic credit for the course.
Enrollment may be restricted for some courses by the campus offering the course; for example, in the case of courses limited to first-year students or in the case of overenrolled courses or courses requiring the instructor’s permission (including some graduate courses).
Normally students do not begin taking courses through the interchange until after the first semester of their first year.
Each campus follows a somewhat different academic calendar. Familiarize yourself with the academic calendar of the campus where you are taking a course through cross registration. The Five College Academic Calendar has information about key dates for each campus such as the first day of classes, vacation periods, last day of classes and exam periods.
Transportation: Learn more about the Five College bus system, find route maps and schedules at: https://www.fivecolleges.edu/students/buses.
Campus maps: Once you arrive at the campus where you are taking a course through cross registration, use these campus maps to find your way around:
Consult the links below to the campus where you are taking a course through cross registration to learn more about accessing online course materials and expectations of the hosting campus for students from other campuses:
The campuses have agreed that the academic conduct policies (including policies on grading, extensions, incompletes, and academic integrity) of the campus offering a course are the ones that apply. As well, the student conduct policies of the campus you are visiting apply. Please familiarize yourself with the policies of the campuses you are visiting as well as the policies of your home campus.
Campus student handbooks, conduct policies, and integrity policies
Students using accessibility services are advised to visit your home campus accessibility services office first in order to arrange for access to services at the campus where you are taking a course through cross registration.
When requesting payments be made to a campus, please include specific contact and address information. All payments to campuses will be made payable to the institution (e.g. Trustees of Amherst College, University of Massachusetts) not the department. However, checks may be addressed to a specified department as requested.
FCI Check request form submitted by the faculty or staff member managing the corresponding Five College program, or collaborative project.
Invoice from the campus program or department.
Supporting documentation (e.g. poster, flyer, letter awarding funds, receipts.*)
Please submit these documents to your program or project liaison or directly to the Business Office (Toby Hall).
*Please note that when submitting receipts for dining, you must list ALL diners and separate a sub-total of any alcohol costs. For on-campus catering, you may simply note the title of the Five College program or project.
FCI Check request form submitted by the faculty or staff member managing the corresponding Five College program, or collaborative project
W-9 Form (if one is not already on file with the FCI business office). Please request that the payee return completed and signed W-9 forms to the FCI business office via fax or snail mail, not email.
Invoice from the vendor and any appropriate receipts*
*Please note that when submitting receipts for dining, you must list ALL diners and separate a sub-total of any alcohol costs. For on-campus catering, you may simply note the title of the Five College program or project.
If feasible, we recommend processing payments to foreign individuals through one of the campuses and ask the campus to submit a reimbursement of payment request to FCI (see instructions for payments to a Program or department at a Five College campus). If this method is not an option, complete the Five College Foreign National Visitor Information form and obtain copies of the requested information, such as I-9 form, Visa, and Passport to start the process of processing payments. Submit all documentation to the FCI business office for review before promising any payments. Payments made to Foreign Nationals require additional paperwork and ample processing time. In some instances, FCI may not be able to make payments to Foreign Nationals because of visa restrictions. See below for links to forms and documents.
These types of payments vary by circumstance. Academic programs and projects that are planning to make this type of payment should consult with the FCI staff liaison to the program well in advance.
FCI Check request form signed or e-mailed by the faculty or staff member managing the corresponding Five College program, or collaborative project.
W-9 Form (if one is not already on file with the FCI business office). Please return completed and signed W-9 forms to the FCI business office via fax or postal mail, not email.
Contract with detailed scope of work (if payments total more than $1500). See our contract template with instructions and scope of work guidelines. Send a completed draft contract to your Five College liaison before any services are rendered.
Supporting documents(e.g. contractor invoice, poster, flyer, letter awarding funds, receipts*) *Please note that when submitting receipts for dining, you must list ALL diners and separate a sub-total of any alcohol costs. For on-campus catering, you may simply note the title of the Five College program or project.
See the Guide to Planning Use of Funds about arranging to hire a graduate student via a University of Massachusetts Graduate School contract. Once such a contract is confirmed, the University will bill FCI directly to arrange reimbursement for payments to the graduate student and other fees. The Coordinator for Academic Programs can assist you with providing expense reports from FCI regarding such payments made from your program or project budget.
For payments to undergraduate students matriculated at a five college campus
Federal Work Study Student:
See the Guide to Planning Use of Funds regarding arrangements for a contract with the student’s home campus employment office. The contract will require the supervisor submit time-sheets to the student’s home campus according to the home campus guidelines. Copies of these timesheets should also be submitted to the FCI program or project liaison.
Undergraduate Student Stipend:
FCI Student Stipend Agreement (prepared separately for each project and available from the program or project liaison), to be signed by the student.
FCI Student Program Participation Agreement (prepared separately for each project and available from the program or project liaison), to be signed by the student.
FCI Student Emergency Contact Information Sheet (available from the program or project liaison).
For non-foreign-national students, W-9 Form (if one is not already on file with the FCI business office). Please return completed and signed W-9 forms to the FCI business office via fax or postal mail, not email.
Stipend payments to foreign students will require special arrangements, please contact Yvette Morneau, Director of Business Services, for more information.
FCI Check Request Form signed or e-mailed by the faculty or staff member managing the corresponding five college program, project or grant budget.
Hourly employee (if the student does not qualify for work study)
Required documents, to be submitted to the program or project liaison at FCI:
Job description - see example
Offer letter - see example
I-9 Form (See page 5 of the I-9 document for acceptable forms of ID). Please request that the payee return completed and signed I-9 forms to the FCI business office via fax or postal mail, not email.
W-4 Form Please request that the payee return completed and signed W-4 forms to the FCI business office via fax or postal mail, not email.
Students who perform activates for the benefit of FCI or FCI funded projects are considered part-time, temporary, non-benefited hourly employees and therefore payment must be processed via our Payroll system so the proper taxes can be withheld. Student wages are reported on Form W-2.
Five Colleges, Incorporated allocates funds under the authority of the Five College Board of Directors, whose members are the presidents of the four colleges, the Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the President of the University of Massachusetts, and the Executive Director of Five Colleges, Incorporated. The Board approves an annual budget for the consortium based on recommendations from the Five College Deans Council (composed of Deans of Faculty from all five campuses) and the Principal Business Officers of the five campuses. Funds allocated are contributed from various campus budgets, grants awarded the Consortium by external funders, and endowment income. Responsibility for administering these funds in accordance with all legal requirements, agreements among the campuses and with external funders, and good business practice are delegated by the Board to the Executive Director of Five Colleges, Incorporated and the Treasurer.
Fund raising and grant applications by Five College programs are permitted only with the approval of the Executive Director of Five Colleges, Incorporated. Program committees and councils are encouraged to consult with program liaisons regarding ambitions and plans for grant applications or other external fundraising. Academic Programs staff members work closely with the Five College Director for Development to investigate funding opportunities that would suit the needs of Five College academic programs and to develop grant proposals for grants to fund consortial projects. Five College central staff members consult with their counterparts in campus offices before submitting such proposals.
Funding is allocated each year to Five College programs and committees for the following fiscal year through the consortium budget. This budget is drafted by Five College staff members in fall, based on their review of requests submitted by Five College programs in September and agreements among the campuses. (Requests from programs generally include clear indication of how funds will be used.) The draft FCI budget is then reviewed by the Deans of Faculty and Principal Business Officers, revised based on these reviews, then reviewed by the Board of Directors, which may require additional revisions before final approval, normally in late spring.
In addition to funds allocated to programs and committees through the annual budget, during the year, Five College staff members allocate funding for other projects through several mechanisms including the Five College Lecture Fund and the new (as of 2018) Symposium Fund. Information about both of these funds can be found on the Funding Opportunities page. Five Colleges also reserves some funds for allocation at the discretion of the Executive Director and her staff.
It should be noted that Five Colleges occasionally agrees to allocate funds to programs or projects for reallocation by those programs, sometimes as part of the annual budget, sometimes under the terms of a grant awarded to Five Colleges. Five Colleges approves procedures for these reallocations and its policies govern how such funds will be accessed and expended.
Occasionally Five Colleges allocates funds directly to one of the campuses for support of a Five College project. In such cases, the receiving campus will administer funds directly, following agreements with Five Colleges and in accordance with that campus’s own policies.
After the consortium budget is finalized (usually in June), fiscal-year award amounts are communicated in several ways. Administrative programs and committees with designated Chairs receive a letter or email from the FCI Business Office, usually in July, describing allocated funds. Academic Programs with a designated Chair or Co-Chairs receive either a letter or email describing allocated funds from the business office, or receive communications from the FCI program liaison during July or August of the same fiscal year the funding is awarded. Committees or councils overseeing programs without designated Chairs will be collectively briefed by the FCI program liaison.
Budgets for other Five College projects, including those funded through grants to Five Colleges, will be included in an award letter or in subsequent correspondence from a designated member of the Five College staff.
Working with Five College staff members charged with supporting the program or project, program leaders (such as the committee or council Chair, or project PI) should keep track of funds provided by Five Colleges for the program and/or project (including those awarded to fund a proposal submitted in response to an RFP); to ensure expenditures are within the budget and are expended for the purposes intended, as outlined in the approved budget or award letter; to monitor the budget balance; to submit requests for payments to the Five College business office, following defined policies; and to provide an annual program report including a summary of how the allocated funds were used.Please also see the Funding Opportunities page for more information about Five College staff member(s) to be consulted regarding administration of funds for projects resulting from an RFP.
Leaders of Five College academic programs and projects may also contact their program liaison. It is a good idea to consult with the program liaison at least once each semester to ensure that your program records and FCI accounting accurately reflect the program's budget activities.
Using program funds other than as stipulated in the program budget or grant award notification must be approved in advance by your program liaison in consultation with other FCI personnel. When in doubt, for academic programs and projects, consult your program liaison, or Ray Rennard, Director of Academic Programs. For administrative programs, contact the program’s Five College liaison.
Some expenditures requiring special care and planning before commitments are made or orders are placed are addressed in the following sections, such as planning for purchase of software or equipment, making a request to pay to an individual or vendor over $1500, hiring a graduate or undergraduate student.
The business office produces quarterly reports of spending against each program or project budget, usually within 30 days of the end of each quarter. These reports may not include the most recent expenditures. It is therefore a good idea for program leaders to track spending requests and expenditures made from the allocated program budget. Your program liaison can provide a worksheet that will allow you to enter payment requests submitted to the Five College business office and calculate the balance remaining in your budget, assuming payment of those requests. She can also help you acquire a quarterly report, or a current expense report at any time from the Five College business office.
See the Guide to Making Payments for more information about how to arrange for specific payments from a program or project budget.
Any purchases of IT equipment or software will need to be reviewed and pre-approved by FCI’s Director of IT Maria Toyofuku.
All equipment purchases will need pre-approval via the program's FCI staff liaison, FCI IT, and the FCI business office. Purchased equipment will almost always become the property of FCI unless different arrangements have been specifically made in advance of the purchase, and in consultation with the program liaison.
Normally, paying for materials or equipment for a course offered by any of the campuses is the responsibility of that campus and not that of a Five College program or FCI.
Since any payment to an individual by Five Colleges for an amount over $1500 requires a contract be executed between the individual and Five Colleges, Incorporated, you must first prepare and submit an outline of scope of services and deliverables to be included in the contract to your program liaison well in advance of any such plans, and prior to making any payment offer.
Any payment of a stipend to an individual by Five Colleges requires thoughtful review. It is normal Five College policy that no Five College money is used to pay stipends to employees of any of the Five Colleges or of Five Colleges, Incorporated. Some exceptions do apply. If you think you have one of those exceptions, contact your program liaison to discuss requesting approval before making a commitment to pay a stipend.
In almost all cases if a graduate student is doing work for a Five College program or project (or projects funded through a Five College grant) the student needs to be hired through the University, which then bills Five Colleges. This requires following procedures and policies agreed to by the University, the Graduate Student Union, the colleges, and Five Colleges. Based on the nature of the work, its relationship to the student’s course of study, and the hours required, compensation paid to the student will vary, as will other costs of the position (since under different conditions, various supplemental fees may be charged to Five Colleges). The Graduate School makes these determinations. The Graduate School also determines whether the work in question will qualify the student for a tuition waiver and other benefits.
The process for reaching this determination involves submitting a job description to the Graduate School and completing a form supplied by the School. Normally this paperwork is supplied to the Graduate School by a Five College staff member on behalf of a Five College program. The School will then determine the terms of employment and the cost of the position to Five Colleges, requesting Five Colleges agree to reimburse at that level. See more at the University Graduate School website. No promise should be made to a graduate student regarding employment until this process has been completed.
Normally we recommend starting the process with drafting a job description (including anticipated hours, duration and nature of the work), and contacting your program’s Five College liaison. For planning purposes, we can develop an estimate of the actual cost of a position.
A Five College program or project may hire an undergraduate student in several ways if the program or project budget has adequate funding for this purpose.
In most cases, arrangements for hiring an undergraduate student should conform to the guidelines of the student’s home campus. The student’s home campus can be consulted to determine if there would be any impact on the student’s financial aid package, or otherwise.
To hire a student as a work study student employee via the student’s home campus:
A student’s home campus financial aid office will determine if a student is eligible for the federal work study program which provides subsidy for wages of certain on-campus and off-campus student employment.
If you are hiring a student eligible for this program, consult with the student’s home campus employment office for policies and procedures. Provide your program or project liaison at FCI with an estimate of the total cost to your program or project, copies of all paperwork submitted to the student’s home campus, as well as and copies of all timesheets.
To hire a student as an hourly employee not eligible for federal work study:
If the student will be hired as an hourly employee by Five Colleges, Incorporated, contact Toby Hall at the Five College Business Office. If the student will be hired as an employee of the student’s home campus, contact the campus.
To pay a student a stipend for work on an education-related project that provides a learning opportunity for the student:
Before hiring a student, be sure the program or project allocation is sufficient to cover the cost. Stipends are payments made for which no specific services are rendered or required. Student participation in the program must be predominantly for the benefit of the student and not FCI and/or project. The student will receive a Form 1099 for payments totaling $600 or more. Contact your FCI liaison if you have questions on whether or not the participation of a student in your project qualifies for a stipend.
In the case of academic programs or projects planning to pay a stipend to an undergraduate student, please contact your program liaison well in advance. We will require a brief project description, estimated number of hours, as well as start and end date of the work, in order to draft a Student Stipend Agreement form. Stipend payments to foreign students will require special arrangements, please contact your program liaison for more information. In addition to appropriate tax forms, students will be required to submit a signed FCI Student Stipend Agreement form, liability form, and emergency contact form (these forms are provided on request from your program or project liaison and will vary depending on the circumstances).
Please note that FCI cannot pay stipends for students who are not eligible to work in the United States.
If feasible, we recommend processing payments to foreign individuals through one of the campuses and ask the campus to submit a reimbursement of payment request to FCI (see instructions for payments to a Program or department at a Five College campus). If this method is not an option, complete the Five College Foreign National Visitor Information form and obtain copies of the requested information, such as I-9 form, Visa, and Passport to start the process of processing payments. Submit all documentation to the FCI business office for review before promising any payments. Payments made to Foreign Nationals require additional paperwork and ample processing time. In some instances, FCI may not be able to make payments to Foreign Nationals because of visa restrictions.
The first step is to ensure that your budget balance will accommodate the expense you are planning and that the expense is allowable given the terms of your allocation from Five Colleges and the policies of Five Colleges. Some kinds of expenditures require special care, as outlined above (e.g. hiring an undergraduate or graduate student; contracting for the services of a visitor or vendor if the payment is over $1500; paying a stipend to an international visitor or reimbursing the expenses of an international visitor; purchasing equipment or software; purchasing supplies or equipment for a course taught at one of the campuses.) No commitments for payment should be made before all planning and arrangements have been made, particularly where pre-approval from FCI and/or contracts are required.
In most cases, arranging for payment of any expense requires submitting a Five College Check Request Form. This form is used to gather the information required to process payments by Five Colleges. The form asks for basic information about the requester, the program or project funds to be used for the payment, and the payee. Instructions for filling in each item on the form are available on page 2 of the FCI Check Request Form. Please contact Toby Hall, staff accountant, if you have any questions.
Depending on the type of payment requested and who is being paid, you may need to include additional forms and documents, as outlined in The Guide to Processing Payments.
Please note that requests for payment from a program’s budget must come from the program Chair, project PI, or a designated member of a Five College Council or Committee. Requests for payment cannot be submitted by the payee (unless the payee is a Chair, PI, or otherwise explicitly designated by the person(s) responsible for the program or project budget).
Property, Liability, and other insurance policies and programs.
Investigate and handle self-insured claims in an expeditious manner. Support filing and processing of insured claims with insurance carriers. Coordinate with third-party administrators of claims programs as applicable.
Perform risk assessments and analysis in cooperation with other departments or programs.
Establish levels of self-insurance and administer all self insurance programs.
Manage the Collegiate Catalyst Fund, a captive domiciled in Vermont.
Collaborate with College administrators to develop policies and procedures to prevent or minimize losses. Risk mitigation programs managed by our office include Driver Credentialing and Minor Safety.
Review contracts and agreements to ensure that the College bears only its proportionate share of any liability or claims that may arise from the agreement, and to ensure that appropriate insurance and other protective clauses are in the agreement.
Provide training, written procedures and guidelines to the Colleges within the scope of the risk management and insurance programs.
Provide Enterprise Risk Management guidance and direct support to member institutions.
Risk Management must be notified immediately if one of the following occurs, regardless of whether a claim is expected to arise:
Fatality (e.g., student, faculty, staff, visitor, independent contractor, community member)
Major paralytic conditions such as paraplegia and quadriplegia
Second- or third-degree burns to 25 percent or more than the body
Amputation or permanent loss of use or sensation of a major extremity
Head or brain injuries resulting in coma, behavioral disorders, personality changes, seizures, aphasia, permanent disorientation
Loss of sight or hearing
Injury resulting in incontinence of bowel or bladder
Sexual molestation, sexual assault, or rape
Bodily injury resulting from medical services or from health care services provided in a clinic, infirmary, student health center, treatment room, or other facility that provides medical or health services to students or at other locations in the event of a medical emergency
Suspected or actual cyber security incident arising from or due to cyber security threats including but not limited to social engineering, ransomware, phishing, or malware.
Risk Management should be notified as soon as reasonably possible in the following instances:
Damage to a college-owned vehicle or rental vehicle used for college business
Threat of litigation or request for payment for bodily injury sustained by a 3rd party as a result of our negligence
Request for payment or threats of litigation against the college including but not limited to discrimination, wrongful termination, breach of contract, accreditation, or tenure denial
Title IX Investigation
Damage to college-owned property totaling more than $5,000
If assistance is needed to manage a reputational risk
If a threat assessment is needed to evaluate a campus community member
Risk Management can be contacted for assistance with locating external compliance resources. Risk Management will also notify member institutions of any new emerging compliance obligations or revisions to existing obligations if Risk Management becomes aware of the same. However, Risk Management cannot advise on the suitability or legality of policies, processes, or documents designed to obtain compliance with federal, state, or local regulations. Consistent with best practices, legal review of policies prior to implementation is strongly recommended.
The National Association for College and University Attorneys (NACUA), in partnership with thirty other higher education associations, to provide the higher education community with a centralized repository of information and resources for compliance with federal laws and regulations.
This resource can serve as an institutional compliance matrix detailing the current Federal mandates. The matrix can also be organized by regulation, applicable department, and reporting deadline.
If you have any questions on how to use the matrix, please contact the Director of Risk Management.
The Risk Management office will assist with review of third-party agreements and with the formation of new agreements. Please request assistance at least ten business days in advance of when an initial agreement draft is required. Please note that Risk Management is not authorized to sign agreements. Questions regarding signatory authority should be directed to the requester’s immediate supervisor or department lead.
Risk Management will provide assistance with member institutions’ ERM programs, regardless of program maturity level. This assistance will include guidance on risk identification, assessment, and mitigation as well as participating in applicable board meetings. Risk Management will also assist with expanding the ERM program, integration with internal audit, and integration with the strategic planning process. Risk Management will also schedule ERM software demonstrations and assist institutions with evaluating software platforms.
Risk Management conducts annual audits of our insurance needs and existing insurance programs to assure that the Colleges’ maintains optimum, cost-effective protection from responsible, well-capitalized insurers.
The Colleges’ have business relationships with a wide range of organizations throughout the state and region. Risk Management coordinates the procurement and acceptance of Certificates of Insurance from authorized insurers as needed to support these business relationships.
**The information below is applicable to all the Colleges. If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact the Insurance & Claims Specialist.
Risk Management will assist member institutions with policy development. This assistance includes obtaining sample policies (where available), locating applicable resources, and draft policy review with at least ten business days advance written request.
Risk Management cannot advise on the suitability or legality of policies, processes, or documents designed to obtain compliance with federal, state, or local regulations. It is highly recommended that certain policies be reviewed by legal counsel prior to implementation.
Risk Management will provide risk management guidance and advice regarding any aspect of college operations, including athletics, student activities, international travel, safety, executive travel, and new initiatives.
Since 1991, the Center has offered more than 60 languages. Currently, approximately 35–40 languages are available each year. Currently, ASL, Hindi, Urdu, Persian, Swahili, and Turkish are offered through the Mentored Language Program (MLP), while all remaining courses are offered in the Supervised Independent Language Program (SILP). View a list of current and recent language offerings.
All of our courses follow a flipped classroom model and emphasize speaking and listening to develop communicative skills that students can use in the real world, right from the first semester. In SILP courses, students work solely with a conversation partner. While they do learn to read and write, they are evaluated only on their speaking and listening skills. In MLP courses, students work with both a conversation partner and a professional language mentor. Students develop all four language skills—speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The MLP also allows students to take two levels in a single semester and thereby cover more ground during their academic career.
Center courses feature:
Daily guided independent study using assigned syllabus, textbook, and multimedia materials
Weekly small group conversation sessions with native/fluent speaker
Weekly check-ins with Center staff via self-assessment reports
MLP students only: Weekly 30- to 60-minute one-on-one tutorials
MLP students only: Weekly written homework Midterm and/or final evaluations
Our courses follow the standards recommended by the National Association of Self-Instructional Language Programs.
During a conversation session, you will engage in activities, conversations, and role plays designed by your conversation partner to help you practice the structures and vocabulary you studied in a given week. In a successful conversation session, students and conversation partners use as much of the target language and as little English as possible. Conversation sessions are run in small groups, with each conversation partner paired with just 1–4 students. Conversation sessions are led by native/fluent speakers who are hired and trained by the Center. Your conversation partner is not a teacher and will not present grammar lessons; rather, their expertise lies in speaking the language. Students should arrive at their conversation session with that week’s material already prepared, ready to get talking.
MLP students attend weekly tutorial sessions with professional language mentors. During your one-on-one tutorials, you will discuss grammar and syntax, get feedback on written homework, and practice reading and writing. Tutorial sessions can be geared to meet your specific language learning needs. SILP students do not have tutorials.
As with all interchange classes, credit varies by campus. Students generally receive the following in credit:
Amherst: Each level counts as a half course. Note that two half courses do not necessarily add up to a full course.
Hampshire: Each level counts as a half course.
Mount Holyoke: Each level earns 1.5 or 2 credits. Center courses generally cannot be used to fulfill Mount Holyoke’s language requirement except in rare circumstances.
Smith: Each level earns 1.5 or 2 credits. Smith students must complete at least through level II to receive credit. Questions about using Center courses to fulfill Smith’s Latin Honors language requirement should be directed to the college registrar.
UMass: Each level earns 1.5 or 2 credits. UMass graduate students do not receive credit, but courses will appear on their transcripts.
Sessions are scheduled at the start of each semester based on the availability of the individual student(s) and conversation partner/mentor.
Conversation sessions take place on the home campus of the conversation partner. Tutorials for MLP students take place at various locations across the campuses, including at the Center’s offices on the Amherst College campus. Students are scheduled on their home campus when possible, but we may assign you to a meeting on another campus if it better meets your educational needs or scheduling/locational constraints. Online courses are not offered at this time.
All courses follow syllabi, textbooks, and multimedia materials assigned by our office. When you register for the course, we will give you information about the materials you need. Students are responsible for purchasing all course materials.
Like all interchange classes, our classes are free! Five College students do not have to pay any additional fees to take our classes beyond purchasing required course materials.
Course grades are based on a combination of attendance and preparation; submission of weekly self-assessment reports; performance in evaluations; and, for MLP students, quality of the weekly homework portfolio. The specific grade breakdown for your course will be indicated on your syllabus.
Final oral evaluations take place at the Center and are conducted over the phone or via video conference by certified language professionals and proctored by Center staff. Your evaluator will lead you in a combination of conversation, question-and-answer, role play, and/or reading aloud to determine your overall level of oral proficiency. This style of evaluation is designed to gauge a student’s language proficiency, or what they can do with a language, rather than their language knowledge, or what they know about a language.
Final oral evaluations are individually scheduled at the end of the semester based on the availability of students, evaluators, and proctors. The window of opportunity for scheduling finals is very small. Because evaluator and proctor availability is limited, students must be flexible. Once your evaluation time has been confirmed, rescheduling is not allowed except under extenuating circumstances.
Students who are a good fit for our courses:
Have prior experience successfully studying another language
Are self-disciplined and have time and ability to fit daily independent study into their schedules
Enjoy figuring things out for themselves and organizing their own learning
Are comfortable with minimal feedback and structure
Have a strong motivation to learn the language (whether personal, academic, or professional)
Remember that you are not alone. Center staff are experts in language learning and teaching strategies and are here to help you meet your goals.
FCD is a collaboration of the dance departments and programs from Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and functions as a unique inter-campus program. Each of the five campuses offers its own distinctive program of dance. FCD pools the offerings and resources of these programs, creating one of the largest and most respected college dance programs in the nation. While other Five College programs exist in various fields, Five College Dance is the largest and the most active. Click here to read our full mission statement.
Prospective students apply for admission directly to our member institutions, are subject to their requirements and fees, and earn their degrees from them. Therefore, once you've decided which institution(s) you want to apply to, you should contact that campus's Office of Admissions for application info and deadlines. You can find links to each Office of Admissions on this page.
Being part of FCD gives students access to many additional resources and opportunities in the field of dance and dance studies. Students from any campus can take courses, audition for performance opportunities, attend lectures, and participate in master classes at any of the other four campuses. For example, a Hampshire College student can travel to Smith College for ballet class, or an Amherst College student can swing by UMass Amherst to participate in a master class. Since the Five Colleges are geographically close to each other (within 10 miles), and linked by a bus system that is free for students, enterprising students can take advantage of what each campus has to offer (see the Finding Your Way Across the Campuses section of this site for help).
While learning and performing at other campuses does demand creativity and advance planning, the FCD office and campus faculty strive to maximize student access to dance across the campuses, as working with a range of faculty members can deeply enrich a student’s artistic and intellectual growth. This access to diverse dance programs and faculty members, each with their own perspectives on and approaches to dance, is one of the most unique and meaningful aspects of being a student in FCD. We embrace that “dance” and “dancers” do not have fixed definitions, and our structure allows students to widely explore the field’s broad contours.
Access to excellent broader educations at all five schools, alongside and in relation to dance studies, is also a major benefit. While pursuing a major or minor in dance, students can also major in other disciplines that enrich and enhance their study of dance theory and practice. The majority of our dance majors are double majors, although they can also choose to focus exclusively on dance. Some of our most accomplished dance alumni have also studied non-dance fields while in undergrad: agriculture, urban design, education, sciences, social sciences, mathematics, computer science, philosophy, engineering, politics and government. Dance is a form that responds to and participates in broader society and knowledge, and our programs model this within their institutions of higher education. We encourage students to make connections across fields.
For all dance majors, curricula provide anatomically sound dance technique training; study and practice of choreography and performance; development of aesthetic and analytical skills; and an understanding of the cultural and educational contexts within which dance occurs.
Only the UMass BFA and Smith College MFA programs require an entrance audition. FCD offers appropriate training and resources for everyone from beginner to advanced dancers. For the undergraduate dance programs at Amherst, Hampshire, Smith, and Mount Holyoke Colleges, it is possible to begin your dance studies as a first year student and complete a dance major/concentration.
Yes! For students with significant previous dance experience, there are department-wide advanced placement classes for upper-level (levels 5 and 6) ballet and modern/contemporary technique. The advanced placement classes are open to all students, from entering students to seniors. You do not have to be a major to audition for advanced placement classes.
In a given year, there are over 100 dance majors/concentrators across the Five Colleges. Hundreds of non-dance majors also take dance classes and participate in performances each year.
We offer Ballet, Pointe, Hip Hop, Contact Improvisation, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary, Tango, and West African Dance every semester. Other technique classes, including Musical Theater, Salsa, and Tap, are offered on a regular basis. You can find our current course schedule at the bottom of our main page.
We offer a range of courses in Dance History, Dance and Culture, Research in Dance, three levels of Composition, Dance Education, Dance in the Community, Scientific Foundations of Dance, Rhythmic Analysis, Lighting Design, Costume Design, and many others. You can find our current course schedule on our main page.
Across the Five Colleges, there are a total of 10 dance studios.
It depends on the course. The average number of students in FCD technique courses is 17. Lower level technique courses (e.g. Ballet I) generally have a greater number of students than advanced technique courses (e.g. Modern 6), and courses that are required for graduation as a dance major (e.g. Scientific Foundations of Dance) tend to have more students than courses that are not a requirement for graduation. No FCD class exceeds 30 students.
Yes, most Ballet, West African, and Modern/Contemporary technique classes have live accompaniment, as do some Hip Hop classes. Two of the Five Colleges have their own full-time music directors, and FCD also hires additional accomplished local musicians to accompany classes each semester.
Yes! There are over 20 performance events under the umbrella of the FCD over the course of an academic year. This includes faculty-choreographed concerts (both on individual campuses and cross-Five Colleges), student-choreographed concerts, and MFA and undergraduate thesis projects. The FCD organizes at least one major repertory project each year for which all FCD dancers may audition. Recent rep projects include Urban Bush Women's Batty Moves, Uri Sands’s One, Doug Varone’s Boats Leaving, Camille A. Brown's New Second Line, Bebe Miller's The Blues Project, Bill T. Jones's Story/Time, and Pilobolus's Megawatt. Additional guest artists each year come to choreograph or restage work on Five College dancers. Recent examples include David Dorfman, Ephrat "Bounce" Asherie, Idan Cohen, John Heginbotham, Kinsun Chan, Sidra Bell, Vanessa Anspaugh, and Kathleen Hermesdorf. And, of course, our accomplished faculty members create work on FCD students every year as well.
We hold a Five College-wide audition for dances choreographed by faculty and guest artists during the first week of classes. Auditions for dances choreographed by students take place throughout the fall semester. Auditions for major repertory projects may be scheduled during the course of the year. Auditions on all campuses are open to all Five College students -- you do not have to be a dance major or in FCD classes to audition or perform, although some rehearsals may take place in repertory coursework. If you want to perform and are willing to seek out chances to do so, you will find no shortage of opportunities. We strive to make auditions as inclusive and open as possible to students of all levels and types of expertise.
Yes! FCD has an agreement with the UMass Fine Arts Center that three dance companies that perform as part of their Center Series will teach a master class open to FCD students. Recent master classes include RUBBERBANDance, Philadanco!, Limón Dance Company, NW Dance Project, Emily Johnson, Bill Shannon, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Five College students are also eligible to purchase tickets to performances at the UMass Fine Arts Center at the deeply discounted price of $10-$15 per ticket.
FCD may occasionally have more extended engagements with an artist. For example, dancer/choreographer Alice Sheppard not only delivered our annual lecture, but also taught an embodied workshop and held a session about intersectional disability and dance. We collaborated with UMASS Fine Arts Center to bring body-based artist Emily Johnson for a semester-long virtual residency of class visits and public talks.
FCD's member dance programs often host additional master classes of their own, which FCD students are welcome to join. Recent guests include jumatatu poe, Netta Yerushalmy, Nicola Gunn, Kelli and Jed Forman, Allie James, and Annie Wong. Dance programs may host guests also in other capacities -- for example, we have welcomed choreographer and scholar Kate Sicchio for a workshop on dance and technology and choreographer/performer Yanira Castro to work with students in their classes.
We host an annual lecture with a major scholar or practitioner in the field who we feel expands our understanding of dance and dance studies. In recent years, we have hosted choreographer/performer/educator/arts leader Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, dancer/choreographer/activist Alice Sheppard, performance studies and dance scholar Ramon Rivera-Servera, and choreographer/performer Camille A. Brown.
Our production manager and assistant production manager work hard to prepare students for the technical aspects of producing their own work, from lighting design to budgeting to publicity to stage management. Students leave with a robust knowledge of how to produce dance outside of the college environment.
We also create systems of support and community for students on campus and post-graduation, such as a weekly email newsblast, an annual newsletter, in-process showings for feedback, professionalization workshops, an alumni mentorship program, and field trips. We are always open to student ideas for ways that we can support their creative processes, community-building, and professional/artistic/intellectual enrichment.
Lastly, we are a member of American College Dance Association, so students have the opportunity to show their work alongside students of peer dance departments in the region for adjudication.
One of Five College Dance’s unique strengths is that it educates remarkably well-rounded students: students who focus on dance with passion and intensity, while also devoting themselves fully to other academic interests. Many students choose to double major in dance and another field. FCD has the resources necessary for students who intend to pursue careers as performers and choreographers, as well as in related fields such as arts administration, production, dance education, dance history and theory, dance therapy, and somatic therapies. At the same time, FCD can also be a good fit for students who don’t intend to pursue a career in dance, but want the opportunity to study dance and dance studies at a high level while in college.
FCD alums have had impressive and varied professional careers. They have not only started their own dance companies or independent practices and danced for some of the most respected U.S. dance companies, but have also become dance administrators, educators, and technicians. They have been honored with Bessie and Fulbright awards. To learn more about the specific work of some of our alums, please see our most recent newsletter, available here.
Yes! When planning your visit, take a look at our current course schedule and identify a class or two that you would be interested in observing or participating in. Then, contact the home campus dance department(s) directly, and ask about observing/participating in those classes. Contact info for each dance department can be found at the bottom of this page. If you need more help planning your visit, feel free to contact director Alexandra Ripp.
Dance courses on other campuses can be often used toward your home dance major requirements. Please check with your home faculty first about each course's eligibility toward your major's requirements.
You can subscribe here to receive our weekly e-blast, which aggregates dance and movement news, events, announcements, and opportunities at FCD, the dance departments, the campuses, the region, and beyond. Much of this can also be found on our website's Upcoming Events and Announcements page. You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram.