About Mentored Language Courses

Mentored courses focus on all four skills (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) using one-on-one tutorials with a language mentor, small group conversation sessions, and guided individual study. Students follow a series of detailed study guides outlining homework assignments and preparation steps for tutorials and conversation sessions. 

Mentored courses are currently offered in five languages. The most comprehensive Mentored programs are in Hindi and Swahili. The Center has full-time language mentors to work with each of these programs. This makes it possible to offer sections of Hindi and Swahili on all five campuses and from the beginning through the advanced level, including support for advanced students of the language using primary sources in Hindi or Swahili for a senior thesis or a project in the student's major.  

Mentored offerings in Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian, Persian, and Turkish can support students at the beginning and intermediate levels, and provide some support to advanced students. For course offerings, location and scheduling information, see the information for each language below.

For Fall 2019 Mentored course information and details see:

American Sign Language

Hindi and Urdu Courses

Persian Courses

Swahili Courses

Turkish Courses


Half Courses: The standard Mentored course is a half course. It takes four half courses (levels I, II, III, and IV) to complete the equivalent of one year of study in a traditional elementary-level classroom course.  Half courses require a minimum of 1-hour per day (7-or-more hours per week) of individual study, a weekly 60-minute conversation session, and a weekly 30-minute individual tutorial. Credit for half courses: Half courses are worth 1.5 credits at UMass. Five College interchange credit is: Amherst  – ½ course; Hampshire – ½ course; Mount Holyoke – 2 credits; Smith – 2 credits and at the elementary level and two courses or the equivalent are required to receive credit.

Full Courses: In some languages students are able to enroll in a full or double course each semester. Students complete two half courses during the semester. For example, students in the full course labeled “Swahili I-II” complete Swahili I during the first half of the semester and Swahili II during the second half. Full courses require 2 or more hours per day of individual study,  90-120 minutes per week of conversation practice, and 60-minutes of weekly individual tutorial time. Credit for full courses: Students in full courses complete the equivalent of two half courses during the semester. Credit for full-courses by campus is: Amherst - 1 full course; Hampshire - 1 full course; Mount Holyoke - 4 credits; Smith - 4 credits; UMass - 3 credits. 



A student who would like to register for a Mentored language course should consult the course listing page for the language: HindiPersianSwahili, and Turkish. The course pages include a link to the How to Apply page. The application process is designed to help both the student and the program coordinator make sure the course is a good fit for the student’s upcoming semester. Students who have questions are encouraged to stop by a drop-in session or make an advising appointment. Mentored courses work well for most students.

Center staff members will provide students who are approved to register with instructions about how to register for the course through the Five College interchange system. UMass students will be entered into SPIRE by the Center staff. All students sign a learning contract before getting final permission to register.

A student who has prior experience with the language may need a placement assessment in order to be enrolled in an appropriate course. Students with prior experience should submit an application and also contact the program staff at fclrc@hfa.umass.edu to discuss placement needs and course options.

Students who have already taken a Mentored course do not need to submit a new application to enroll in future semesters. Continuing students only need to email a course request to the program staff at fclrc@hfa.umass.edu stating the language and level desired. Center staff members will follow up with instructions about how to register and submit schedule information. 


Mentored language courses are open to Five College undergraduate and graduate students. First-semester undergraduate students are eligible for the program under certain circumstances. Interested first-semester undergraduates should contact the program for more information.

UMass continuing education students, faculty, staff, and community members are not eligible to enroll directly in this program.  However, credit and/or non-credit courses may be available to community members at some point in the near future. Watch our website or email fclrc@hfa.umass.edu for more information.


Visit the Mentored Language Program Orientation Tutorial. The tutorial is required for students applying to the program. It is also an excellent resource for students deciding whether to apply.

The tutorial has answers to questions such as:

  • Who sponsors the Mentored Language Program and where do sessions meet?
  • What is the format? How is it different from a classroom language course?
  • Who are the language mentors?
  • What is an individual tutorial?
  • What is a conversation session?
  • Where do I find my syllabus, study guides, multimedia materials, and textbooks?
  • How many credits? What is the work load?
  • What are the course requirements? How are students evaluated?
  • What is the schedule for the semester? What deadlines do I need to meet?
  • What if ... ? (absences, holidays, missing homework, snow days, and course drops)
  • What do I need to do to be successful in this program? Is this program a good fit?