The Department of Astronomy is an independent, active, and vibrant department that offers undergraduate and graduate instruction, unique among New England public institutions. Astronomy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst began in the 1960s within the Department of Physics and Astronomy. After more than 30 years of steady growth and progress, Astronomy became an independent department in 2000. It collaborates with Amherst College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and Hampshire College to form the Five College Astronomy Department.