University Without Walls (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

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University Without Walls
Established 1971 (1971)
Parent institution University of Massachusetts
Location Amherst, Massachusetts, United States of America
Director Ingrid Bracey, Ed.D.
Academic staff 12

University Without Walls, UMass Amherst (UWW) is a degree completion program for non-traditional students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.[1]


The University of Massachusetts' University Without Walls was one of a number of similar programs founded at 17 American universities in 1971 with the help of a grant from the United States Office of Education (other participating institutions included the University of Minnesota, the University of South Carolina, and Howard University). Samuel Baskin was considered the "driving force" behind the nationwide initiative.[2]

In 2010, Mark Cerasuolo became the first University of Massachusetts graduate from the University Without Walls program to deliver the University of Massachusetts' student commencement address.[3]

As of 2013 an average of 250 students were annually receiving bachelor's degrees through the UMass University Without Walls program,[4] out of approximately 5,000 total undergraduate degrees annually awarded by the University of Massachusetts. The program enrolls more students who are veterans of the U.S. armed forces than any other academic department at the University of Massachusetts.[5]


The UMass University Without Walls program only admits students who have already completed a minimum number of undergraduate university credits at the University of Massachusetts, or at another accredited institution. Once enrolled, students are required to take four program-specific courses, plus additional classes equal to the difference between their accumulated university credits and the University of Massachusetts' 120-credit graduation requirement. Program-specific courses are taught by dedicated UMass University Without Walls faculty and deal with academic writing, critical thinking, research skills, and issues analysis. Students who require additional courses to meet the 120-credit requirement make up the deficit through standard University of Massachusetts classes taken from the school's other academic departments.

Because the University Without Walls program functions as a regular academic department within the University of Massachusetts, students do not undertake an academic major (baccalaureate degrees are awarded in "University Without Walls"). Instead, nine interdisciplinary areas of study are offered - including applied psychology, arts administration, and journalism - each consisting of courses from several academic fields drawn from both the student's previously completed credits as well as University of Massachusetts courses he or she completes while enrolled in the program. Students can also design a unique concentration. According to the University of Massachusetts, such "designed concentrations" have included organizational psychology, political journalism, and public policy, among others.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ UWW website
  2. ^ Fred, Hechinger (28 December 1970). "Education Without Walls". New York Times. 
  3. ^ UWW website [1]
  4. ^ Taras, Elizabeth (28 January 2014). "Opening Doors". Business West. Retrieved 30 January 2014. 
  5. ^ "Welcome Military Families". University of Massachusetts. Retrieved 31 January 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c d THUMBS UP, THUMBS DOWN - Breaking Down Walls, The Republican, Monday, June 25, 2007 [2]
  7. ^ Former Minuteman Lou Roe excited to join Derek Kellogg's staff at UMass, Daily Hampshire Gazette, August 22, 2012 [3]