Focus Connections RAP Fall 2014

Undecided? This RAP can help you explore your options! 

Focus RAPs are designed for first-year students who enter UMass Amherst without a declared major.

When you join this RAP you will:

  • Enroll in a unique a 1-credit seminar designed to help you explore a wide range of majors at UMass.  
  • Engage with an academic advisor to identify your interests, strengths, and values in order to pursue your academic goals.  
  • Share your living-and-learning experience with other first-year students who have not yet declared a major.  This gives all students in the RAP a chance to get to know each other and take some classes together.  It's also a great way to make a successful transition to the academic and social life of the University. 

Focus Connections is a great RAP for you if you think you are interested in a major in social sciences, humanities or the arts. It is also a great choice if you have no idea what you may want to major in. The OASIS seminar provides you with an opportunity to confirm an idea you have or to explore and identify various other possibilities.  The other classes connected to this RAP will give you an opportunity to learn about different options while completing pre-requisites for some of the majors, and making progress on your University General Education requirements.    

Specific Course Information

"World History Since 1500" (History 111) for students living in Van Meter Hall.

Here is a message about the class from Kathryn Julian, the instructor:

This course is an introduction to the issues of a growing global culture and the social, intellectual, political, and economic forces that contributed to the spread of ideas from around the sixteenth century to the present.

More specifically, in this course we will focus on the themes of social and cultural movements, or what ideas look like in practice, and their effects on communities. We will explore global themes, such as:

  • food culture
  • travel
  • sport
  • popular culture

We will investigate tensions resulting from nationalism, modernity, and religion and consider the formation of world economies and the spread of mass culture.

The course emphasizes critical analysis and takes an interdisciplinary approach to history.


United States History Since 1876 (History 151), for students living in Moore Hall.

Here is a message about the class from Tony Repucci, the instructor:

This course explores the development of social, political, and intellectual life in the United States from 1876 to the present day. We will:

  • Examine the cultural, social and political events for Reconstruction to the Obama Administration.
  • Explore several themes within those broad topics including: race, reform, and America's role in the world.
  • We will explore and give voice to marginalized members of society and voices, including Native Americans displaced by western settlement; new immigrants; disadvantaged workers; and African Americans.
  • We will learn to think like a historian, using evidence to analyze a problem and support an argument.
  • We will learn how historians seek to understand the "whys" of change over time, through the examination and analysis of sources-both primary and secondary.

Most importantly we learn how to read sources critically and write and speak effectively based on solid evidence.

Topics will include:

  • late 19th century industrialization
  • the farm crisis
  • urbanization
  • emergence as a world power
  • the Progressive Era
  • the 1920s
  • the Depression
  • World War II
  • domestic problems and foreign relations since 1945


ALL Focus RAP students participate in OASIS First-Year Seminar, a one-credit seminar taught by your academic advisor from the Undergraduate Advising office. In this class you will work closely with your advisor to explore various majors and determine how to best match UMass Amhersts' academic options with your interests and abilities.

The OASIS seminar helps you to identify and refine your personal approaches to learning in a college setting, so you can make efficient use of your study time and get better results. You will also be introduced to the wealth of resources on campus that can assist you with academic, social, and personal issues.


Be sure to visit the How to Join page on this website to learn about the process and important timelines you must follow to become a member of this fantastic program! 

Students in a RAP  

Classes and Locations

Fall 2014

ALL Focus Connections students will enroll in the following classes:  

"OASIS First-Year Seminar" - UNIV 125 (on main campus)


"College Writing" - English Writing 112 (Gen Ed CW), 3 credits (in res area)


ONE Gen Ed course (4 credits) taught in the residential area (2 choices in each location).


Students who will live in Moore Hall in Southwest area of campus will choose either 

"U.S. History since 1876" - History 151 (Gen Ed HS) 


"Social Problems"- Sociology 103 (Gen Ed SBU)


Students who will live in Van Meter Hall in Central area of campus will choose either

"World History Since 1500"- History 111 (Gen Ed HSG)


"Human Nature" - Anthropology 100 (SBG).


* Holding a spot in a RAP guarantees you a space in ONE of the associated Gen Ed classes. Registration into the specific classes takes place during NSO and classes are filled on a first come, first served basis.

Spring 2015

  • No required RAP classes.

  • Small sections of Gen Ed classes will be offered in each residence area.

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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