University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is my "Academic Dean"?

For engineering majors, and PR-ENGIN majors, your academic deans are Jim Rinderle and Gregory Brown. To make an appointment to see either, please book now online, go to the Office of Student Affairs in Marston Hall, Room 126 or call 413-545-2035.


Who is my Faculty Advisor?

To find out who your faculty advisor is, check on SPIRE or come into the Office of Student Affairs, located in 126 Marston Hall. All engineering students have an assigned faculty advisor.


Who is the Chief Undergraduate Advisor/Undergraduate Program Director in my department?

The names of the Chief Undergraduate Advisors/Undergraduate Program Directors are as follows:

Chemical Engineering: Wei Fan,
Civil & Environmental Engineering: David Ahlfeld,
Electrical & Computer Engineering: Bill Leonard,
Mechanical & Industrial Engineering: Bernd F. Schleimann,

You may also call the department directly:

Chemical Engineering: (413) 545-2507
Civil & Environmental Engineering: (413) 545-2508
Electrical & Computer Engineering: (413) 545-0962
Mechanical & Industrial Engineering: (413) 545-2505


How do I withdraw from a course?

The only way you can withdraw from a course after the mid-semester date is if you have verifiable and extenuating circumstances. If you decide to petition for a late withdrawal use the Late Withdrawal Petition form. Your petition will be reviewed by the COE Advising Committee and you will be notified of the decision.

PLEASE NOTE: There are several factors to keep in mind when withdrawing from a course that will bring your enrollment total below a full-time load of 12 credits:

  • If you are an International Student you must check with the International Programs Office as this may affect your visa status.
  • If you are currently under your parents' health coverage, you may become ineligible. Most health insurance carriers require these students to remain full time in order to continue benefits.
  • If you are receiving financial aid and you change your status, your aid may be reduced. Please check with the Office of Financial Aid.


How many credits can I take in a semester?

To be a full time student you must take 12 credits in a semester. Most students take 15-16 credits a semester. If you wish to take more than the maximum credit load of 19 in the fall or spring semester, more than 7 credits during one summer session, or more than one course during winter session, you must submit an Academic Action Form. Requests will be reviewed and IF approved, students can register for additional credits at the beginning of the semester.


Can I take a course during the summer at another school?

Yes, but you must complete a Prior Approval for Transfer Course Work, which must be signed the Assistant Dean of the College of Engineering. If the course you are taking fulfills a general education (social world elective) requirement, you should consult the general education FAQ page, and you will need Registrar’s Office (213 Whitmore) approval. When you have completed the course(s), forward an official transcript to the Registrar's Office. You must earn a "C-" or above for a course to be transferred unless the course has a “C” or better requirement for the College of Engineering. Remember your grade will not be factored into your GPA.


How can I find out about scholarships at the college?

All full-time engineering students may apply annually for engineering scholarships. Click here for the scholarship information page, the application and the deadline to apply. Entering freshmen are not eligible to apply for these scholarships.


How can I find out about advising and registration?

Visit the College registration page:


How do I get into an Engineering course if I am not an Engineering major?

Please use our Course Override Request if you are a current UMass student, not yet in the Engineering major, who needs to enroll in a restricted Engineering class


How can I find out if my schedule is correct?

Check on SPIRE ( If you still have problems, you can contact the Office of Information Technology (OIT) help desk at (413) 545-9400.


How do I access the College of Engineering Computer Labs?

The computer labs use your OIT NetID and password. See Engineering Computer Services for more info »


Who can help me write my resume?

The College of Engineering has a Career and Student Development Center to help you with your resume. Visit their page or 114 Marston Hall for office hours and to make an appointment. This center also provides information on career fairs, co-op positions, career planning, and placement.


I am interested in studying abroad, where do I start?

See our page on Study Abroad for Engineers