UMass Amherst Department of Political Science

Visiting the University of Massachusetts Amherst

About the Area

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is located in the heart of the beautiful Pioneer Valley. The University, along with four major colleges, Amherst College, Hampshire College, Smith College, and Mount Holyoke College in addition to UMass make up the Five College consortium. The Five College Events Calendar lists the cultural, academic and social events at the 5-Colleges. Look for copies in the Department Mailroom.

Culture and the Arts

In number and variety, the cultural opportunities and recreational activities of the area equal those normally found only in large cities. The University of Massachusetts and the surrounding colleges offer forums for many cultural events. The Fine Arts Center hosts a visual and performing arts series with discounted tickets for students. Check out the Valley Advocate for listings. The Mullins Center offers state-of-the-art sound, lighting, acoustic and theatrical systems, as well as an ice rink, and hosts concerts, family shows, sporting events, trade shows, conferences and theatrical performances attracting people from all parts of New England.

In addition to an active calendar at the University, the area supports an extraordinary variety of events in education, culture, and the arts. From the Eric Carle Museum at Hampshire College's campus and the Museum of Natural History at Amherst College to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in near-by North Adams the area is truly rich in culture and art. The area attracts a large variety of music, dance, and art including the renowned Tanglewood and Jacob's Pillow summer series in the Berkshires. There are local weekly publications and websites that list upcoming cultural events, art exhibits, and visiting speakers to the Five College Area.


The Pioneer Valley is the essence of New England, with beautiful landscapes and outstanding recreational opportunities. Whether you enjoy hiking at Mount Holyoke Range State Park, biking around the Quabbin Resovoir, canoeing down the Connecticut River, or simply taking a stroll along the extensive Robert Frost Trail, Amherst has it all. If you need to get even further "into the wild", Amherst is less than an hour's drive from Vermont, New Hampshire, and the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts.

Getting here and around…

by train: Amtrak stops in Springfield and, on a limited schedule, in Amherst. If you come into Springfield, again, Peter Pan Bus Lines can bring you up to Northampton or Amherst.

by bus: Peter Pan bus service runs from New York City and Boston, as well as limited connecting cities, into Amherst.

around the Valley: The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA) operates a bus system including a 5-College shut­tle and a number of routes throughout the area. During the school year, bus service is free of charge.

Click here for Campus Maps

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