StudentsReview :: The University of Massachusetts - Amherst - Graduate (MS/PhD) Ratings
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The University of Massachusetts - Amherst

Total Grad Surveys 10
Females 4
Males 6
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)
Competitiveness C+ (5.7)
Education Quality C- (4.1)
Faculty Accessibility B- (5.9)
Useful Research B- (5.9)
"Individual" treatment B- (6.2)
Friendliness B- (5.9)
Safety B+ (7.9)
Campus Beauty B- (6.4)
Campus Maintenance C+ (5.1)
University Resource/spending B- (6.4)
Extracurriculars B (7.2)
Success-Understanding B (6.6)
Surrounding City B (6.8)
Social Life/Environment B (7.0)
Education QualityC-
I am a PhD student starting my 4thSep 05 2014Biology
I am a PhD student starting my 4th year in the Plant Biology program. Plant biology is set up in a way that they train you to become a professor and not much more. There is zero involvement in industry in any way. As far as the biology and biochemistry programs as a whole the professors are all wonderful, minus a few, and you really get the feeling of a community. There is not a huge amount of pressure to be the next Nobel Prize winner so its relaxed. If you are a type-A go getter, and want to win a Nobel Prize, go somewhere else.
UMass has some very strong grad programsAug 25 2011Unknown
UMass has some very strong grad programs. and some weak. all depends on the department. so really research things thoroughly.

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!

Dec 08 2009Electrical Engineering
I enjoyed my stay at UMass Amherst. A great place for research especially in computer engineering and computer science.
Research Topic(s): Soft multiprocessors
I graduated with a 3Aug 27 2005Education
I graduated with a 3.95 and an M.Ed. + 15. I would have gone for a phd but recevied absolutely no support when I tried to find an assistantship.

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.

As a person coming from an urban setting,May 22 2005Unknown
As a person coming from an urban setting, Amherst is a very small town and it gets boring after a semester. The surrounding towns are not much better. My dept. is not competitive enough. It's very euro and U.S. centric. There needs to be a renewal of faculty soon. Most of the faculty who founded the dept. are still there, and most are not doing cutting-edge work. If you work with dominant languages, for instance, French or German, and other European languages, then this might be a place for you. If you are aiming to move beyond the old CompLit model, as Spivak has suggested, this is definitely not the place to do graduate studies. Teaching opportunities are good, plenty of flexibility with coursework, though you really have to look around for interesting courses, often times, looking outside of the dept.
As a new Graduate Student at UMASS, IDec 29 2004Unknown
As a new Graduate Student at UMASS, I wasn't sure what to expect. I am fresh out of undergrad, and thought I could deal with living on campus. I COULD NOT HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG.

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.

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