General FAQ

This is the general FAQ page. We also maintain an advising FAQ page for current students.

When are iCons applications due?

The application period for iCons website typically runs from September 1 through the second Tuesday in October.

Who is eligible to apply to iCons?

The iCons program is open to first and second year students with science-intensive majors, such as those in the College of Natural Sciences, the College of Engineering, the College of Information and Computer Sciences, the School of Nursing, the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, and the Bachelors Degree with Individual Concentration. Also, iCons is open to students who may not have a science major, but are on the pre-med track. If you have questions about your eligibility, please contact icons@cns.umass.edu.

If I begin iCons as a sophomore, can I graduate in four years or will I need to stay an extra semester?

Completing iCons in three years is very difficult, but has been done. You will need to take iCons 2 and iCons 3 at the same time. This requires substantial early planning to make sure you have all the pre-requisites necessary for iCons 3. (Taking iCons 1 and iCons 2 at the same time is physically impossible, and taking iCons 3 and iCons 4 at the same time is not allowed.)

What is the time slot for iCons 1?

  • Choose your courses assuming you do not get accepted. 
  • Try to leave the Tuesday/Thursday 11:30 -12:45 slot free so it is available if you do get into iCons. 
  • If you have to put a course in that slot, try to make it a course you can take later in your undergraduate career.

Will the iCons courses count for courses I already need to take?

This depends on your major. In all cases, iCons 1 counts as an Interdisciplinary General Education course. In almost all cases, iCons 2 fulfills the Junior Year Writing requirement. For participating majors, iCons 3 fulfills an upper-level elective. Finally, iCons 4 counts as the senior honors thesis (499 Y/T) required by the Commonwealth Honors College. Please refer to this chart to see requirements iCons courses fulfill in specific departments.

If I switch to a non-science or non-engineering major, can I stay in the iCons program?

It depends on whether your new major has sufficient technical content. Come meet with an iCons Director to determine if your new major fits well with the iCons program.

I want to study abroad. How does this fit into iCons?

Studying abroad in the fall of your Sophomore or Junior year will not interfere with your iCons courses.

Do I have to be in Commonwealth Honors College to be in iCons?

You do not need to be in CHC to be in iCons. However, all iCons courses have an H designation and fulfill credit toward the Honors program. Students who are accepted into the iCons program with a 3.4 GPA meet the acceptance requirements for CHC but still need to visit the CHC administrative office to officially enroll.

Are iCons students required to participate in internships?

No, but iCons students are strongly encouraged to complete at least one internship during their undergraduate careers - preferably two. The first to help you figure out what kind of organization you would like to work for, and the second to help you get your foot in the door of one that might lead you to a job after you graduate.

As iCons students, you are uniquely qualified for opportunities with organizations on the cutting edge of medicine and energy, including a growing number of companies that offer exclusive opportunities just for iCons students. To learn more about internship opportunities and resources, visit the iCons Student Success page.