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What, exactly, is UMAC?

The University of Minnesota Advanced Careers Initiative guides encore adults as they imagine and invent what’s next in their work and lives. We launched UMAC in response to what we see as a new life stage—an encore to conventional adulthood—for those thinking about, approaching, or moving through what used to be conventional retirement ages who see meaningful work (paid or unpaid) as part of what’s next for them.

New for 2020-21: UMAC Online

UMAC Online jump starts the exploration process from whatever community is home. With a combination of thought-provoking content and practical application, UMAC Online sets the stage for participants to experiment with new options and develop a plan for what's next.

The 2020-21 Series includes two online modules (UMAC: First Take Online and UMAC: What Difference Can I Make?), followed by an optional, in-person/hybrid module (UMAC In Action) in Spring, 2021.



These are unprecedented times in need of new models of living and working. These trends are driving the need for new blueprints.

  • Americans are living longer. Medical advances and life-style changes have postponed age-related frailties.
  • Many in the large Boomer cohort (born 1946-64) are retirement-eligible or have already left their career jobs, and those in GenX are not far behind.
  • Choices are full-time work or full-time leisure, yet most want something in-between.
  • The new economy is turbulent, global, and automating, even as safety nets are unraveling.
  • Old rules about a one-time, one-way, irreversible retirement exit are outdated.
  • Both the population and the workforce are aging, even as older workers and retirees are healthier, more educated, and more vital than ever in history.

We invented UMAC as a place where encore adults can think about, share, and “try on” different possibilities for meaningful next chapters, inventing their own encores. Similar initiatives exist at Stanford University, Harvard University, University of Notre Dame, and now University of Texas-Austin. UMAC was the first such program in a public university.

What does UMAC Online cost?

The cost for each module of UMAC Online is $1500. We are still working out details for our optional, on-campus/hybrid option next spring.

UMAC: First Take Online 9/01/20-10/22/20 $1500
UMAC: What Difference Can I Make? 10/27/20-12/17/20 $1500
UMAC In Action 1/19/21-5/13/21 TBD


When does UMAC meet?


UMAC Meeting Times

UMAC Online meets virtually during Fall, 2020.

UMAC Online has two modules, each 8 weeks long. Meetings are Tuesdays, 3:30-5:30 PM Central Time and Thursdays, 3:30-4:30 PM Central Time.

In Spring, UMAC offers an optional, in-person/hybrid experience. With UMAC In Action, participants from outside the Twin Cities metro area can continue to participate virtually. We will work with participants to identify intergenerational learning and volunteering opportunities in their home communities.

How many hours per week does UMAC require?

That depends.

Each module of UMAC Online meets virtually for three hours per week. In between meetings, participants will have readings and exercises to complete. We estimate that the total commitment will be around 4-6 hours/week.

The optional UMAC In Action (Spring, 2021) has expanded components, and thus will require an additional time commitment. Depending on your interests and availability, we estimate that UMAC In Action will require 10-20 hours/week of your time.

We recognize that participants will often be working in jobs while participating in UMAC. Assuming some flexibility in your work schedule, participating in UMAC is doable. If you decide to go on to our Spring UMAC In Action module, we will work with you to find experiential learning opportunities that fit with the other demands of your life.

Will you help me with the technology tools?

Yes, we will help you get comfortable with all of the technology tools we use!

We primarily use Zoom (an online meeting platform) and Canvas (a platform that allows us to share materials and engage in online discussions). We will provide assistance to make sure you know how to use them.

Will I earn college credit by participating in UMAC?

No. UMAC is not designed as a degree-seeking program. Instead, UMAC provides participants with opportunities to learn and grow, and study areas of interest, but without the requirement of writing papers or taking tests.
For participants who are interested in formally enrolling in a class, UMAC staff can help with doing so. We can help you find classes of interest and assist you as you navigate enrollment. There are likely to be additional tuition costs, depending on residency status and eligibility for existing student classifications. Note that some University of Minnesota courses are only open to students enrolled in specific programs. We will help you determine which courses are open for enrollment.

When do I need to apply?

We welcome applications on a rolling basis until the start of each module.


When and how do I pay UMAC fees?

We utilize an online payment system. We will send you a separate link and directions to access the system.


Call us at 612-624-3100, or email: