The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Resources and Assistance

New students often have difficulty understanding who to seek out for specific advice. This guide defines our roles and helps you know who to approach for help. When in doubt, contact the Office of Student Affairs or visit us at 126 Marston Hall for assistance.

For Courses, Requirements, and Policies

Your First Year Academic Advisor (your PRIMARY CONTACT DURING NSO)

  • Course planning
  • First and second year degree requirements
  • General Education requirements
  • Academic policies, forms, and petitions
  • Options when you are struggling academically or personally

Your first year advisor is your first point of contact for questions about University and Engineering policy, Engineering curriculum, general education requirements, and where to go for services around the university. They can also point you to the best resources for any challenges you might be facing, whether it is illness, stress, trouble with coursework, or anything else that may be affecting you. Please be proactive in seeking our help and informing us of any issues affecting your class performance: the sooner you let us know, the better the chances that our help will make a difference!

We cannot do some things: While we provide information on required courses for each Engineering track, we cannot pick your classes for you. We can tell you which General Education Requirements you must fulfill and show you how to search for them, but we will not tell you which General Education course to take. We expect you to search for and select classes on your own.

The Chief Undergraduate Advisor for your intended major – please approach your academic advisor first

  • Advanced course planning (beyond your third semester)
  • Major/course content and alignment with professional interests
  • Course substitutions/elective information (beyond your first year)

Finances, Transcripts, Paying Your Bill:


**Note: In a true emergency please call 911 or the UMass Amherst Police (413) 545-3111**

Your Academic Dean (in Engineering: Dean Greg Brown)

For assistance with severe/emergency academic situations (acute illness preventing class attendance, etc)

Course Content


For challenges with specific course content/assignments

Faculty have office hours set aside for student meetings. These will usually be listed on syllabi and available by calling academic departments. Each faculty member will have preferences regarding scheduling an appointment during these times; if you are uncertain you can email to request an appointment or to see if appointments are on a walk-in basis.

Before visiting office hours, think through the type of help you would like. Make every effort to complete homework and read assignments before seeking assistance, and compile specific questions for the instructor to make your meeting as productive as possible.

Course-Specific Teaching Assistants

Most courses have one or more teaching assistants assigned to meet with students, answer course questions, and provide additional assistance. If you are struggling in a course, please consider asking your teaching assistant for help.

Diversity Programs Office and the UMass Learning Resource Center

Engineering Diversity Programs Office coordinates with the UMass Learning Resource Center to provide targeted supplemental learning resources for Engineering classes. You can find lists of resources available at their websites.