UMass Five College Interchange Office

613 Goodell Building (with Undergraduate Advising & Domestic Exchange)
Phone: (413) 545-5352
FAX:    (413) 577-6300


Fall & Spring semesters: Monday-Friday 8:30 - 5:00
Winter & Summer: we do not have regular hours, please email us.

Coordinator: Sheila Brennan
Office Manager: Joyce Grabon

Our office assists UMass undergraduates with enrollment in courses at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges.  Registration for a Five College course is easy, but it is different than registering for a UMass course.

Each semester there are TWO registration periods for Five College classes. You MUST adhere to the UMass Amherst Five College dates. You can find these dates listed on the Five College Online Academic Calendar

  • Course Request Period (Pre-registration) - is in November for Spring courses and in April for Fall courses. (See dates listed on left side of page.) 
  • Add/Drop - during the first two weeks of the semester.

Eligibility for Five College Interchange 

UMass Amherst full and part-time students who meet the following criteria are eligible to enroll in Five College classes:

  • second semester freshman (or beyond) AND
  • in good academic standing AND
  • registered in at least one 3-credit UMass course (enroll in a UMass course at the beginning of your enrollment appointment).

NOTE:  Special Students, Continuing & Professional Education and Dual Enrollment Students are not eligible.

Registration, Rules & Regulations for Five College Interchange Courses 

If you have any questions be sure to come to our office!


Registration for Five College Interchange Courses 

Five College registration dates are different, and likely earlier, than your UMass enrollment appointment.

You MUST adhere to the UMass Amherst Five College dates listed on the Five College Online Academic Calendar

There are two registration periods each semester

  • Course Request Period (Pre-registration) - one week in November for Spring courses and in April for Fall courses.
  • Add/Drop - during the first two weeks of the semester.

Step by Step Registration

  1. Identify course(s) from Five College Course Catalog. NOTE: No more than 8 credits can be taken at any one of the other four institutions per semester.   
  2. Locate the Five College Enrollment Request Form on SPIRE. Log on to Spire and under "Enrollment" follow the link for Five-College Enrollment Request.
  3. Read instructions and fill out the form online.
  4. Print out TWO copies of the form.
  5. Acquire instructor signatures:
      • During Pre-registration - IF the course has limited enrollment, requires prerequisites, or requires instructor's permission.
      • During the Add/Drop Registration - ALL courses require the instructor's signature.
  6. If you want the course to fulfill a requirement for your major or minor have your major or minor advisor sign the appropriate line on the Five College Enrollment Request form.
  7. Bring both copies (with signatures - see above) to the Five-College Interchange Office in 613 Goodell before the end of the registration deadline.
    • In signing the Five College Enrollment Request form, YOU AGREE to abide by all academic and student conduct regulations at the host school, including attendance, academic honesty, pass-fail procedures, and deadlines for completing course work and taking examinations.  

Registration dates are strict, so be sure to know when they occur.  


Course Request Period (Pre-Registration)

  • Requesting a class during this time period does not guarantee enrollment.
  • Pre-registration, if approved by the host college, will take at least one month to appear on your Spire schedule.
  • You must leave leave space for the course credits on your schedule. If the addition of the course would put you over your credit limit, it will NOT be added.

Late Registration

  • Other schools do not allow late registration, even if you have been attending the class from the beginning of the semester.
  • If you believe there is an administrative error, contact the Five-College Interchange Office immediately.

Dropping a Five College Course

  • Use the same procedures you use to drop a UMass course. 
  • During your Spire enrollment period, you must drop the course on Spire.
  • After registration ends, you must go the the Registrar's Office to drop a class.
  • Remember that you may withdraw (W) from a course until the mid-semester date.
  • After the mid-semester date, you must contact your Academic Dean to petition for a late drop.

Credit Details

  • Most Five College classes carry 4 credits.
    • Exceptions include but may not be limited to; P.E., Outdoors Program, Dance, Music, and language courses. 
    • P.E. courses with no academic component or certificate generally receive 1 credit from UMass. 
  • Credits will count as UMass residency credits
  • In order to exceed your credit limit, you must petition for a credit override with you academic dean's office. 
  • Audits - You can only register during the Add/Drop Registration Period. 
    • Write "0" on the Five College Enrollment Request form for credit total.  
    • Amherst College NEVER allows audits.


Grades earned at the other four colleges are recorded on the UMass transcript and factored into the UMass grade point average.

Five College plus and minus grades factor as follows: A- (3.75), B+ (3.25), B- (2.75), C+ (2.25), C- (1.75), D+ (1.25), D- (0.75).

Pass/Fail - The four colleges all have a Pass/Fail option. This must be done during the first week of classes.

  • For Amherst, Mt. Holyoke and Smith Colleges - go directly to their registrar's office and request a Pass/Fail Option - follow their instructions (which may include obtaining permission from the instructor).
  • For Hampshire College, consult directly with the instructor.
  • Once you have completed this request, ONLY "P" or "F" will be recorded - there will be no opportunity to receive a letter grade.

Incompletes - Amherst, Mt. Holyoke and Smith Colleges do not have policies regarding incompletes.

Independent Study

You may request an independent study, provided you have found a Five College faculty member to work with.  Credits will be granted only if authorized by the Five College Interchange Office.

  • Complete a Five College Enrollment Request form listing the appropriate department, course number, title and credits.
  • Obtain a Five College Independent Study contract (available in the Five College Interchange Office). Provide a written description of the project SIGNED  by the faculty member. 
  • Submit BOTH to the Five College Interchange Office.


  • No additional cost for full-time students, except lab or lesson fees.
  • Part-time students pay for the number of credits at UMass rates. Most semester courses at the four colleges carry 4 credits.

General Education Requirements

Some Five College courses already have a UMass General Education designation The Five College Interchange Office has a list of these approved courses. 

You may petition for a class to be granted a Ged Ed desigation.

  1. Obtain a "Request for Five College General Education Approval" form from the Five College Interchange Office 
  2. Turn in the completed form with a copy of the course syllabus.
  3. You will be notified the results after approximately two weeks.


Pamela R. Marsh-Williams, Ph.D.
Assistant Provost & Dean

This website is part of Undergraduate Advising & Learning Communities. We provide undergraduate students a variety of opportunities and services designed to facilitate the best academic experience possible. 609 Goodell Building, UMass Amherst.

UA&LC Units: Undergraduate Advising, Residential Academic Programs, Domestic Exchange Programs, Five College Interchange