Cross Registration Guidelines

Taking courses at another campus in the consortium:

Through the cross registration system, students can choose from 6,000 undergraduate courses offered at the five institutions.

Cross registration between the five campuses provides the opportunity for students to access a wider and richer range of educational experiences while attending a Five College institution, including Five College majors, certificates and other cooperative academic programs. Some restrictions may apply, and pre-planning is strongly encouraged. Be sure to read through the information below and visit the useful links.

How do I register for a course at another campus?

  • Follow your home campus registrar's instructions for cross registration.
    Use the link to your campus to learn more about enrolling in courses taken off-campus through cross registration:
                        Amherst College students cross registration guide
                        Hampshire College students cross registration guide
                        Mount Holyoke College students cross registration guide
                        Smith College students cross registration guide
                        University of Massachusetts students cross registration guide

  • Pre-Registration vs. Registration: Students may request enrollment in a course at another campus during pre-registration, following procedures at their home campus. Requests to add or drop courses should be made during your home campus add/drop period, during which additional documentation and/or instructor permission may be required. If permission is required for registration, consult with the instructor and provide proof of the instructor’s approval according to your home campus registrar’s rules.

Is there a maximum number of courses that I can take at the other campuses? 

  • During preregistration, students may preregister for a maximum of two academic courses at other campuses for the upcoming semester. (Part-time students may have a lower limit.) This preregistration limit may be lifted during add/drop. However, UMass students should check at the Five College Interchange Office in Goodell and students at the other campuses should check with the Registrar’s Office at their home institution to determine if there is a limit on the number of courses you may take at the other campuses in a given semester or overall toward your academic program. You should also check as to whether or not there are restrictions on how a particular course will apply toward your degree.

    Note that students from other campuses can take a maximum of two academic courses at Amherst College in a given semester per Amherst College policy.

How do I plan for taking a course at another campus?

Plan your schedule:
  • Each campus follows a somewhat different academic calendar. Familiarize yourself with the academic calendar of the campus where you are taking a course through cross registration. The Five College Academic Calendar has information about key dates for each campus such as the first day of classes, vacation periods, last day of classes and exam periods.

Plan your travel to another campus:
  • Transportation: Learn more about the Five College bus system, find route maps and schedules at:
  • Campus maps: Once you arrive at the campus where you are taking a course through cross registration, use these campus maps to find your way around:
Plan to access resources and be a guest at another campus:
  • The campuses have agreed that the academic conduct policies (including policies on grading, extensions, incompletes, and academic integrity) of the campus offering a course are the ones that apply.  As well, the student conduct policies of the campus you are visiting apply.  Please familiarize yourself with the policies of the campuses you are visiting as well as the policies of your home campus.

                    Amherst College: Robert Frost Library
                    Hampshire College:
Harold F. Johnson Library Center
                    Mount Holyoke College:
Williston & Miles-Smith and Dwight Hall complex
                    Smith College:
Smith College Libraries
                    University of Massachusetts Amherst:
W.E.B. Du Bois Library

  • Accessibility Services: Students using accessibility services are advised to visit your home campus accessibility services office first in order to arrange for access to services at the campus where you are taking a course through cross registration.

How do I take exams and get my grades for a course I am taking through cross registration?

  • Students taking a course through cross registration are subject to the academic regulations of the hosting campus. It is the responsibility of the student to be familiar with the regulations and expectations of the host institution, including those for attendance, academic honesty, grading options (including incompletes) and deadlines for completing coursework and taking examinations.

  • Exam schedules: Keep in mind that there may be differences in the dates of the exam period at your home campus and the campus where you are taking a course through cross registration. Be familiar with the schedules, and make arrangements in advance for transportationand and living space if needed. Exam period schedules for each campus are posted on the Five College Academic Calendar.
    • Students taking a course through cross registration must make arrangements to complete work missed due to any calendar differences between institutions. They should do so at the start of term. Instructors are not required to make these special arrangements.
  • Final grades: Especially a concern for graduating seniors, note that final grades for courses taken off-campus are processed at the host campuses registration office and then sent to your home campus registrar's office to be added to the student's transcript. Keep in mind that grades for courses taken through cross registration may not be available to your home campus registrar at the same time as grades at your home campus. Plan accordingly and ask your home campus registrar well in advance of the end of the semester if you have any questions. Dates grades are "due" at each campus are posted on the Five College Academic Calendar.

Where is my official record for Five College cross registration courses?

  • The official record for any course taken through the Five College Interchange is on the student's home institution transcript. Inquiries brought to the host institution will be referred to the student's home institution.

Are there courses that are not open to cross registration?

  • Eligible courses must fall within the field of liberal arts as defined by the student's home campus. Consult your home campus registrar's office if you have any questions about taking a course at another campus and/or if there might be restrictions for receiving academic credit for the course.

  • Enrollment may be restricted for some courses by the campus offering the course; for example, in the case of courses limited to first-year students or in the case of overenrolled courses or courses requiring the instructor’s permission (including some graduate courses).

  • Normally students do not begin taking courses through the interchange until after the first semester of their first year.