FAQs for Five College Academic Program Chairs and Directors

Please see below for a list of questions that can be helpful for Five College Academic Program Leaders.

Planning and Logistics

Contact information for each Five College Academic Program can be found on the individual program’s webpage. Please send an email to fcacademics@fivecolleges.edu for further assistance. This link provides contact information for staff in the Five College Consortium. 

You can also find contact information for faculty and staff at each of the five campuses by following the links below:
Amherst College Faculty and Staff
Hampshire College Faculty and Staff
Mount Holyoke College Faculty and Staff
Smith College Faculty and Staff
UMass Amherst Faculty and Staff

For a list of Five College Governance Bodies, click here.

Refer to the Five College Academic Calendar for important dates such as holidays and exam periods across the five campuses. Add the Five College Academic Programs Chairs and Directors calendar to your Google Calendar to see important due dates for certificate forms, faculty seminar renewals, reports, etc. Please send an email to fcacademics@fivecolleges.edu if you have questions about the calendar or specific dates.

Many Academic Program faculty committees meet regularly during the academic year in order to discuss topics such as certificate requirements, course list postings on the webpage, and program events. It is recommended that your program's committee members meet at least once per semester (once in the fall and once in the spring.) Some groups meet more regularly, such as once per month. Please decide what works best for your group. You can also decide whether you would like to meet virtually or in-person. If you plan to meet in-person, please see the question below for information about reserving a meeting space at the Five College Consortium central office in Amherst. 

Click on this link to request to reserve a meeting room and to read about meeting guidelines. You can also email the staff in the Academic Programs Office at fcacademics@fivecolleges.edu if you have questions about meeting arrangements.

Communications, Event Promotion, and Website

If your program is holding a virtual or in-person event and you would like to publicize it, please send an email to fci-strategicengagement@fivecolleges.edu. A staff member in the Five College Office of Strategic Engagement can offer promotional advice and/or promotional support when contacted in advance of a Five College event or program. 

You can also email fcacademics@fivecolleges.edu and someone in the Academic Programs Office can share information about the event with various Google Groups whose members might be interested in attending the event. 

 

Please visit the Five College Academic Programs webpage to see your program’s current page. If you would like to make an edit or add content on your program’s webpage on the Five College website, please fill out this Google Form or send your request for edits in an email to fcacademics@fivecolleges.edu. Updates might include changes in chairs, certificate advisors or faculty, edits to certificate requirements, or an image you would like used to illustrate the program. Updates can be made on an ongoing basis, but we encourage you to check your page before the start of each semester so that we can provide the most up to date information.

Each Five College Academic Program has a Google Group for sending email announcements. Some programs have a group for both students and faculty and/or a group for faculty only. If you would like to create a new group or join an existing group, please send an email to fcacademics@fivecolleges.edu and a staff member in the Five College Academic Programs Office will be happy to assist you! Please also send an email to fcacademics@fivecolleges.edu if you are a Program Chair and would like to check a faculty Google Group list to make sure that it is updated and all current faculty are included.

Five College Certificates

A certificate is a designated course of study, designed to complement a student’s home-campus major/minor. They consist of 6-8 courses, concentrated in an area of study that may not otherwise be available as a traditional major. A certificate credential demonstrates in-depth knowledge of the subject area and constitutes a significant academic achievement. Most certificates are available to students of all five campuses, with a few exceptions. See the individual program’s webpage to find out if a certificate is available on your campus. For students who complete a certificate, the credential appears on their home campus transcript.

Each certificate program has specific requirements. Click on the link for the Academic Program that you’re interested in to learn about the requirements for the program. 

On that page, you can also see the certificate advisors on your campus. Contact an advisor or another program faculty member on your campus to learn more about the program and its completion requirements.

Some programs have a Student Interest Form on their webpage, which students can submit in order to receive more information.

Students should check with their advisor and campus Registrar Office to make sure that they are eligible for the certificate. Certificates in Biomathematical Sciences, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Sustainability Studies are not available on all five campuses. (Please check the Program page for details.) Smith College students have a two credential maximum, meaning they may complete a double major, a major and a minor, or a major and a Five College certificate.

The certificate is awarded by the student's home campus upon graduation. Please note that a student cannot be awarded a Five College certificate by the registrar of the student’s home campus until the student has been cleared for graduation, even if the certificate requirements have been met prior to graduation. The certificate credential should be visible on the student’s transcript by mid-spring for Fall/Winter graduates and by the end of summer for Spring graduates. 

  1. Students interested in obtaining a Five College certificate meet with a certificate program advisor to discuss plans for completing the certificate requirements. (For some programs this may include submitting a "student interest form." See the program's website for more details.)
  2. Students meet regularly with their certificate advisor to choose courses and discuss other requirements as they pursue the certificate.
  3. In the student's final semester the student's certificate advisor reviews and signs the certificate completion form, verifying that requirements are met, noting any pending grades. For some programs, the advisor sends this form with an unofficial transcript to the certificate program committee for final review. (Contact your program Chair or Steering Committee for more information.)
  4. Once a certificate is approved, the certificate completion form (without any accompanying transcript) is sent to the Academic Programs Office at fcacademics@fivecolleges.edu no later than DECEMBER 15 for Fall semester graduates and no later than APRIL 30 for Spring semester graduates. (See instructions at the end of the certificate completion form for your program.)
  5. Five College Academic Programs staff coordinate with registrars to verify any pending grades. Then the registrars make the certificate award notation on the student's transcript. This notation should be visible on the student’s transcript by mid-spring for Fall/Winter graduates and by the end of summer for Spring graduates. (Note that the transcript notation is the official documentation of the student's certificate award, as the student's campus is the awarding institution.)
  6. Normally by mid-July each year Five College Academic Programs staff produce and mail a hard copy of a certificate document to each student recipient, using the address provided on the certificate completion form. (For more information, email fcacademics@fivecolleges.edu.)

 

The certificate credential should be visible on the student’s transcript by mid-spring for Fall/Winter graduates and by the end of summer for Spring graduates. (Note that the transcript notation is the official documentation of the student's certificate award, as the student's campus is the awarding institution.)

 

Faculty members at any of the five campuses are encouraged to consider possibilities for new Five College Certificate Programs. Please send an email to fcacademics@fivecolleges.edu to share your ideas.

 

Program Course Lists and FAQs

Each Academic Program’s webpage displays a list of courses for the upcoming semester which is relevant for students who are enrolled in a certificate program or interested in pursuing courses related to a specific academic program. If your program has identified courses you would like listed on your FCI webpage, please make arrangements with your program liaison. We ask that you submit Spring course lists by mid-October, and Fall course lists by mid-March, so that we can post them in time for the pre-registration period.

 

If you would like to add information or edit existing information related to your program, please fill out this Google Form or send an email to fcacademics@fivecolleges.edu.

Funding, Budgets, and Program Staff

Follow this link to learn more about budget planning and responsibilities of program or project leaders for managing funds and tracking expenditures.

Click here to learn more about the procedures and documentation required for requesting and arranging payments or use of funds allocated to a program or collaborative project.

 

Follow this link to learn more about planning to hire a graduate or undergraduate student for a Five College funded program or project.