Prospective Undergraduate Students

Thank you for your interest in the College of Natural Sciences (CNS)! Applying to college can be overwhelming—here are some useful information and helpful links.

Is CNS for me?

Introducing CNS (brochure)
Check out the CNS viewbook to learn more about the college, see what our students are working on, and discover why Science Comes Naturally at UMass Amherst (pdf).
CNS video
Hear what students have to say about their experiences and opportunities in the College of Natural Sciences. Watch the award-winning CNS video.
The Stockbridge School of Agriculture
The Stockbridge School of Agriculture offers both two-year (AS) and four-year (BS) degrees in a range of areas, including Arboriculture and Community Forest Management (AS), Equine Management (AS), Landscape Contracting (AS), Plant Soil and Insect Sciences (AS and BS), Sustainable Food and Farming (AS and BS), Sustainable Horticulture (AS and BS), and Turfgrass Management (AS and BS).
Campus Visit
Many UMass Amherst students will advise you to take a campus tour for an inside look at academics, student life, and the campus. The student guides are happy to answer your questions, from the best study spot in the library to which activities to get involved in as a first-year student. Spend an afternoon taking a tour, mingling with students in Lincoln Campus Center, and experiencing what CNS and UMass Amherst have to offer.

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Application process

Office of Undergraduate Admissions
All prospective students must apply through the UMass Amherst Office of Undergraduate Admissions, where you can also ask questions and request information.
Financial Aid
To apply for financial aid you must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The UMass Amherst code for the FAFSA is 002221. See Financial Aid Services for more detailed information.
Scholarships
CNS offers more than 100 scholarships for students majoring in CNS disciplines. Please see our Scholarships page for information about the individual awards and how to apply.
New England Regional Students Program (NERSP)
Through the New England Regional Students Program (NERSP), students from New England who enroll in a major not offered by a public institution in their home state may pay tuition of only 50 percent above the Massachusetts resident rate. If you are eligible for this program check the NERSP box on the university application. No additional application is required.

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Welcome to campus

New Student Orientation
New Student Orientation is an important event that helps prepare all new students to enter UMass Amherst. If you are admitted for the fall semester, you will be attending a summer NSO session. If you will enter in the spring, sign up for a winter session.
Advanced Placement Credits
Incoming students may receive advanced standing and/or credit for the College Board AP exams. Credits vary depending upon scores and subject matter. For more information, contact the Admissions Office.
Residential Academic Programs (RAP)
Residential Academic Programs (RAP) offer unique living and learning opportunities designed to help first-year students transition to college. When you join a RAP you become part of a small community on a large campus, living in a designated residence hall with other students who share similar academic interests and majors and enrolling in specific classes together. There are specific RAPs for Animal Science, Biology, Chemistry, Geosciences, Health Sciences, Physics, Psychology, and Sustainability as well as more general options.
First-Year Experience
Learn about the range of cross-campus academic programs and opportunities created especially for a successful first year experience.

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Academic resources

Please see the CNS Academic Resources page for additional resources.

CNS Departments and Majors
The College of Natural Sciences offers several undergraduate degree options through its 15 different departments and schools. You will find specific information about each undergraduate major and minor on the Degrees Offered page.
Commonwealth Honors College
Commonwealth Honors College offers a tightly knit community for students seeking more academic rigor in their field of study. All CNS students who meet the eligibility requirements can join Commonwealth Honors College, which offers a rewarding opportunity to meet students who share the same intellectual enthusiasm, work more closely with professors, and pursue independent research as part of a capstone experience. CHC students are invited to participate in small, intensive classes, interdisciplinary seminars, honors colloquia, and community service learning courses, as well as national and overseas study programs.
Undergraduate Research Opportunities
To find out more about opportunities to do research during the semester or the summer, check out the CNS Undergraduate Research Opportunities page.
Internships and Career Planning
Nessim Watson (njwatson [at] umass [dot] edu) and Tommie Joyner (tjoyner [at] acad [dot] umass [dot] edu) are the Career Services contacts for CNS majors. They can help you find internships and co-ops. Please go to CareerConnect for more information and to make an appointment. Career Services is located at 511 Goddell.
Learning Commons at the W.E.B. Du Bois Library
The W.E.B. Du Bois Library is open 24 hours a day. You’ll find great resources there including the Learning Commons, with comfortable places to study, wireless internet and network ports, multiple print and computer workstations, laptop rentals, and a popular café. You can also access library assistance, academic advising, and technical support.
Learning Resource Center (LRC)
The Learning Resource Center offers talented peer advising in a comfortable environment to assist with academic challenges. It is located on the 10th floor of Du Bois Library.
University Writing Center
The University Writing Center has tutors who provide free assistance to develop better writing skills.

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Off-campus opportunities

Take Advantage of the Five Colleges
The Five College Consortium enables UMass Amherst students to take classes at no extra cost at Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith colleges—all linked by a free bus system. You can start taking classes at the other four colleges during your second semester and may take up to three classes per semester. UMass students can also participate in and have access to facilities, libraries, cultural, and social events on these campuses.
Domestic Exchange
If you want a change of pace without leaving the country, consider spending a semester or year at another U.S. college or university. Through the Domestic Exchange Office, UMass students can choose to study at over 160 participating schools at no extra cost in places such as Florida, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, California, or even as close as Connecticut. With proper planning, going on a domestic exchange should not impact on your expected graduation date.
Studying Abroad
CNS students may take advantage of a variety international exchange programs. The International Programs Office offers a range of semesterly and yearly opportunities, and there are plenty of English-speaking options, even in non-English countries. Students who choose to study abroad typically go during their junior year. Proper planning should enable you to graduate on time.

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Additional resources

Dean of Students Office
The Dean of Students Office provides students with the individual support, resources, and referrals needed to succeed at the university.
The Student Employment Office
A great resource for all students, the Student Employment Office posts job listings for both on- and off-campus employment including work-study opportunities.
Career Services
Nessim Watson (njwatson [at] umass [dot] edu) and Tommie Joyner (tjoyner [at] acad [dot] umass [dot] edu) are the Career Services contacts for CNS majors. They can help you with resumes, interviewing, internships, and your plans post-UMass. Please go to CareerConnect for more information and to make an appointment. Career Services is located at 511 Goddell.
Contribute to the Community
The Office of Community Service Learning has many opportunities for all types of service projects. Being involved in a community project can help you develop as a person while making a difference!
Campus Directory
Use People Finder to access the UMass Amhest directory for faculty, staff, and student contact information.

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