Commonwealth Honors College

Glass front of Commonwealth Honors College building with sign above door and neighboring building reflecting in the glass

Contact: Dominick Usher, Director of Advising
Office: 201 Commonwealth Honors Bloom Advising Center
Phone: (413) 545-2483

Dean: Mari Castañeda

Commonwealth Honors College (CHC) offers highly motivated UMass Amherst students an opportunity to pursue broad inquiry and to engage in the creation of new knowledge by working closely with faculty. With a commitment to building a diverse and inclusive community, Commonwealth Honors College encourages students to become leaders in thought and action.

The college offers a variety of educational, social, and advising opportunities to support more than 3,200 academically talented CHC students. The curriculum emphasizes inquiry and facilitates critical analysis, independent research, collaborative work, and effective communication skills.

Honors students experience the advantages of a small college and the wide-ranging opportunities of a nationally recognized research university. Commonwealth Honors College offers a campus-wide program; students from all majors in every college are eligible to join the honors college. The Commonwealth Honors College Residential Community (CHCRC), home to about 1,500 honors students, is located on the west side of campus, near the main library and the Recreation Center. First-year students may select from several Honors Residential Academic Programs (RAPs) as well as many other RAPs designed for all university students.

Commonwealth Honors College requires students to undertake advanced scholarship and complete an honors thesis by working individually with a faculty member or through a thesis seminar. CHC supports their efforts by helping to identify faculty mentors, providing thesis workshops, and offering competitive research fellowships for financial assistance. In addition, the college provides academic advising, sponsors lectures on current topics and research, publishes a newsletter, sponsors events for the honors community, and administers a competitive awards program.

Consistent with the land-grant mission of the university, Commonwealth Honors College encourages its students to participate in community engagement through a variety of academically-based opportunities including internships, experiential learning courses, leadership training, and community-based service and research. The college also encourages student engagement by hosting co-curricular activities, selected speakers, and alumni visits, and by supporting student participation in college activities including peer mentoring, committee work, and advising.

Commonwealth Honors College students are recognized for their achievements with one or more of the following graduation distinctions: Commonwealth Honors College Scholar, Departmental Honors, or Multidisciplinary Honors.