The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Social World Electives

Course Summary


Social World Electives




[see SPIRE]


[see SPIRE]

Other restrictions

[see SPIRE]



Term(s) offered

Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

Minimum grade needed to graduate


Course(s) that use this one as a prerequisite

[see SPIRE]

Honors version/section

[see SPIRE]


  • All BS-EE and BS-CSENG (CompE) majors are required to take four Social World electives, as described below.

    One Literature or Arts elective (AL or AT)
    One Historical Studies elective (HS)
    One Social and Behavioral elective (SB)
    One additional elective (AL, AT, SB, I, or SI)

    "I" stands for "Interdisciplinary". "SI" stands for "Science Interdisciplinary".

  • It is strongly recommended to use Social World electives to fulfill the two Diversity requirements. Thus, one of the four categories above should hold a "DU" designation (U.S. Diversity) and another should hold a "DG" designation (Global Diversity). Exception: Students who pass ENGLWRIT 111 (Basic Writing) fulfill the DU requirement, so they only need to use one of their Social World electives to fulfill the DG requirement.

  • It can be tricky finding all available electives on SPIRE (with or without a diversity requirement). To do so, under "Search for Classes", choose "University" under "Session", then choose the desired designation under "Gen Ed Category", i.e., AL, ALDG, ALDU, AT, ATDG, ATDU, DG, HS, HSDG, HSDU, etc.

  • If a student needs to create space in their academic plan, e.g., if they would like to pursue a minor or if they need to retake a class, taking a Social World elective over the winter or summer term is recommended. Further, this needs to be done as a UMass Amherst course, primarily because it can be difficult to find a suitable 4-credit course outside of UMass Amherst. Note that there are many online course offerings, so students do not necessarily need to be in Amherst to take these classes.

  • Courses offered during the winter and summer terms are administered by UWW (University Without Walls, formerly CPE, Continuing and Professional Education), which means there is a fee to enroll. For more information, go to the UWW website.

  • To earn credit for General Education courses taken outside the University, students must fill out a Prior Approval of Course Work form through the Registrar's Office. Students are advised to make sure the course is approved before registering for the class, otherwise, they might invest time and money that cannot be used to fulfill any requirements. Once the course is completed, students will also need to send an official transcript to the Registrar's Office. Note that you must earn C– or higher to earn transfer credit for a course taken outside the University.

[To see the full list of courses and categories, go to Course Summaries & Notes.]