University of Massachusetts Amherst

UMass Amherst: General Education

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Teaching & Advising


Teaching a Gen Ed Course

Teaching Resources Assessing Your Course


Faculty who teach General Education courses join a community whose purpose is to help students grow into mature, thoughtful, and engaged members of both the campus community and society as a whole. Gen Ed courses provide experiences and activities that allow students to meet specific learning objectives in an organized and individualized fashion, for which the results are compelling.

Course Characteristics

Gen Ed courses range from small classes to large lectures, and may be proposed at the 100, 200, 300, or 400-level. Gen Ed courses serve a wide range of students from diverse backgrounds. Annual information on the student population is available from the Office of Institutional Research. All teachers of Gen Ed courses are encouraged to review this data regularly, especially for courses that will primarily serve the freshman class.

Course Approval and Review

For a course to be approved as a Gen Ed, it must meet specific learning objectives. All Gen Ed courses are reviewed every five years by the General Education Council. Teaching a Gen Ed course successfully requires more than a one-time approval of a syllabus; it also necessitates fostering pedagogies that are adaptive to a diverse student population, and regularly assessing the course with respect to its proposed learning objectives.