The University of Massachusetts Amherst
The University of Massachusetts Amherst - Graduate (MS/PhD) Ratings|
|Total Grad Surveys||10|
|Avg years at University||2.3|
|Research Quality||B (6.6)|
|Research Availability||C+ (5.3)|
|Research Funding||C (4.3)|
|Graduate Politics||B- (6.0)|
|Errand Runners||B (7.0)|
|Degree Completion||B (7.3)|
|Alternative pay [ta/gsi]||C+ (5.6)|
|Sufficient Pay||C (4.5)|
|Education Quality||C- (4.1)|
|Faculty Accessibility||B- (5.9)|
|Useful Research||B- (5.9)|
|"Individual" treatment||B- (6.2)|
|Campus Beauty||B- (6.4)|
|Campus Maintenance||C+ (5.1)|
|University Resource/spending||B- (6.4)|
|Surrounding City||B (6.8)|
|Social Life/Environment||B (7.0)|
the buildings are in deplorable to excellent shape, and the campus was ill planned. The chancellor is sticking around for another year (unplanned). UMass Amherst is "flagship" but not really- they don't get priority funding from the state (very little, actually). State politics, lack of vision (for several decades!) and poor leadership have really held the school back. There is an institutional culture of complacency, bordering on incompetence from the top down in the administration- which spreads like a virus. I've heard it from faculty, staff and other public school administrators (retired, no vested interests)- UMass struggles as university. So my advice if you find a good department with a solid backing and reputation, go for it. But steer clear from getting entangled in the failed bureaucracy at UMass Amherst. It's really quite sad, they've managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for decades!
Some of the education faculty are exceptional, the polymere laboratory and engineering is rumoured to be outstanding, but the building department is corrupt and incompetent, so many resources get siphoned from education into boondoggles such as dysfuctional power plants (now used for storage) and an ugly library where books can only be stored on every other floor due to inadequate engineering. The architecture is grim.
The ice rinks are good, but if you aren't a recruited athlete the gym, pool, etc. facilites are abysmal or nil. I hear the fencing coach is outstanding but doesn't have enough space for his sessions. This is surprising in a school with such a large exercise science department.
The administration admits more students than it can house or educate. Spire - the computer system - was a nightmare both years I attended. The leadership should realize that it's impossible to learn in a meaningful way through a computer classes.If you don't read about extensive reform in the building and maintenence department, the university will continue to go downhill, and students will find a better education at another school.
I adore my department, professors, and classmates. Everything is perfect in that area.
If you are going to attend UMASS for graduate study, do whatever you have to do - take out more loans, whatever just LIVE OFF CAMPUS. The grad dorm here itself (Prince Hall) isn't too bad. It's mostly international students, and this has been a very enriching experience for me because I get to meet people from all over the world.
However, it is not worth the mental anguish of living in "Southweast" home to the most noisy, drunken, stupid, arrogant jocks in ths state of Massachusetts. When the Red Sox (or Patriots or school basketball team) win a playoff game, they stream outside by the hundreds to yell, scream, run around, taunt cops, and light things on fire. Last year they destroyed two cars. This year I watched crowds of students be shot at with rubber bullets and tear gas grenades FROM MY WINDOW. Prince Hall may occasionally have the jovial atmosphere of the United National Wine Tasting Programme, but do not be fooled. Living with the fucktards in the surrounding buildings has been the most difficult part of my time at UMASS. I do not feel safe. When I call the police to complain, they say things like "Well you know, the game just ended ma'am." So, to sum up: UMASS graduate education = good. Living in Southwest if you would like to sleep, study or feel safe = bad.