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The most popular and nationally acclaimed departments at UMass are business, communications, computer science, engineering, and psychology. Students must complete general education requirements in addition to the requirements for their major, and most find this a positive experience because it allows both declared and undeclared students to explore fields they may not have previously considered. And don't worry about doing it all on your own—advisers are available to help make sure you meet all your requirements. Class sizes tend to be large for introduction courses, but they get smaller as they become more specific to a particular major. Lectures can be as large as 500 students, but many classes of this size break up into discussion sections, so students can still get more individual attention. Discussions are taught by TAs who are often graduate students, and most are very helpful in class and during office hours.
UMass professors are very good at making themselves available to students on an individual basis. Whether through e-mail, office hours, or weekly tutoring sessions, they are readily accessible. Evaluations conducted by students at the end of each semester are taken quite seriously by the faculty and help keep the class formats up-to-date. A unique aspect of UMass is the Five-College Interchange. UMass students can take courses Hampshire, Holyoke, Smith, or Amherst at no additional charge. So, if UMass does not offer a particular class you are interested in, you will most likely be able to find it at one of the other area colleges. The Honors College is rather competitive as well and holds academics to a very high level. A very competitive atmosphere can be found amongst students not participating in the Honors College as well.