StudentsReview :: The University of Minnesota Twin Cities - Graduate (MS/PhD) Ratings
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The University of Minnesota Twin Cities

Total Grad Surveys 10
Females 4
Males 6
Avg years at University 3.7
Research Quality B+ (7.4)
Research Availability B (7.3)
Research Funding B- (6.2)
Graduate Politics B (6.8)
Not Errand Runners B- (6.4)
Degree Completion B+ (7.7)
Alternative pay [ta/gsi] B- (6.0)
Sufficient Pay B- (6.1)
Competitiveness B+ (7.3)
Education Quality B+ (7.5)
Faculty Accessibility B- (6.5)
Useful Research A- (8.4)
"Individual" treatment B- (5.9)
Friendliness B (6.6)
Safety B (7.2)
Campus Beauty B+ (7.9)
Campus Maintenance B+ (7.6)
University Spending B+ (7.9)
Extracurriculars B (7.1)
Scholastic Success B+ (7.9)
Surrounding City A (9.4)
Social Life/ Environment B+ (7.5)
"Individual" treatmentB-
Surrounding CityA
I completed my PhJun 19 2016Biology
I completed my Ph.D. at the U of M. The program I was in was pretty awfully-run. The University as a whole seems to be pretty awfully-run. However, my department was exceptionally great and really took care of its students. This was a huge plus and made the experience "worth it". It's abundantly clear that research is NOT THE TOP PRIORITY of the U of M. This is a big concern since one would think that this would be near to a top priority of a large research institution. The red tape you have to go through to get anything done is obscene. Also, it seems pretty clear that the U of M does many things to accelerate its sports programs (which seem to often be administrated by ethically questionable individuals) while at the same time doing little to actually recruit excellent faculty that can advance the research mission of the U of M.

The U does do some things that, in name, sound like great things for research. Take the biomedical discovery district. New research space needed to be built. This was critical, and I'm glad they did it. However, they built this new space very far from the hospital. And, ostensibly, the "BDD" is supposed to support a translational research mission. Just at the base level, how the hell are you going to translate something between the 'bench' and the 'bedside' when these two entities are physically separated by a half mile and a giant football stadium? It smacks of poor planning, to me at least. Especially when a few years later, the U eminent-domained a few blocks right next to the hospital to build a new clinic. So, why not just have eminent domained a few more blocks and put the "BDD" right next to the hospital as well? It's odd.

Also, the administration at the U of M is seriously recalcitrant to any discussion of what the hell they are doing. They clearly do not value the input of anyone at the U. For example, they removed a stop sign from the street right in front of the research building that I work in. I emailed president kaler and explained that this seemed really dangerous to me and that I would like to discuss it further. He emailed me back a few weeks later and essentially responded by saying he would forward the issue to his VP, Pam Wheelock. Pam never got back to me, so I emailed her about the same issue directly. In so many words, she implied that I should just fuck off. Now, I realize that there are a lot of moving parts at a giant university, but all I wanted was a discussion. There was no way that a discussion would be entertained. It was abundantly clear that these two administrators had no interest in my input (in this case, to a totally valid campus safety issue). Suffice it to say, this is a challenging system to work with.

Finally, the HR and admin personnel seem to be really challenging to work with. For example, when I started my postdoctoral fellowship (also at the U), I didn't get paid for more than a month! This was basically due to a long line of screwups and failed communications on the part of the HR in our department. These guys really don't seem to give a shit if you are being paid or not. And i'd get emails from them like "well, you will be paid soon, so I'm sure it's OK"...well, I don't get paid very much and I need to pay my rent lest I get evicted. So no, it's not "OK". THis is not the sort of HR that you want to be dealing with. In my opinion, these folks are supposed to be on your side. In our department, it was definitely the case that the HR guys were NOT on your side. So this is really tough to deal with too, and from what I understand, endemic to the U of M.Good luck! Grad school is tough anywhere, and the U does very little to make it easier. That said, certain departments can be real gems, and may be worth the incessant U of M bullshit.

After 6 years at the University of MinnesotaApr 08 2015Architecture
After 6 years at the University of Minnesota it has become very clear that the University as a whole has little interest in treating you like anything more than a paycheck. Their billing system is purposefully as confusing as possible, and they commonly make mistakes in billing students. When these mistakes happen they offer little to no help in resolving the matters. It is unfortunate that with the resources they have at their disposal they have little interest in making your experience as a student enjoyable. In fact it seems they set out to do the opposite and make your experience as stressful as possible. With everything I have experienced in the past 6 years, I could not recommend this college any less. Save yourself the headaches and stressful nights and simply go somewhere else that will value you as a student.
Jun 28 2014Electrical Engineering
UMN is a selfish and mean.
The U of M School of Social WorkOct 03 2013Social Work
The U of M School of Social Work is a terribly run, terribly managed program. It's run mainly by an old guard of tenured faculty and long-term administrators who have little to no involvement in actual social work, have few accomplishments to their name since the early 90s, and have no idea what the current field looks like. The students have more social work experience than the faculty, and everything I've learned, I've learned from talking to my fellow students. The curriculum is a disaster that's constantly being changed and revised, there's no communication between professors, and some of the professors who teach multiple classes simply copy and paste one syllabus for every single class. The faculty responds to complaints by advising you to join a committee, or telling you to "advocate" for yourself. The internship system is horribly mismanaged, the placements fill the slots with St. Thomas and St. Kate's students early because they know U of M students have been taught no concrete clinical skills or even basic modalities, and placements that are known to be abusive to interns remain on the list of available placements. If you get a good internship, that's where you'll get all your education, which means that the School of Social Work is less useful than a paid job in the field.Come here to get your diploma, so you can get your licensure. Expect nothing more. This program only exists to suck up money from adult professionals, primarily to go to overhead (the faculty are public employees, so their wages are public information -- tenured faculty makes over 100k to teach the same class they've been teaching since the eighties). This school is an embarrassment to the public university system, and I'm ashamed to tell professionals that I attend.
Given the choice I would NOT choose thisMay 04 2011Education
Given the choice I would NOT choose this school again to pursue my PhD. "The U" as it's so arrogantly referred to is expensive ($900 per grad credit), the East Bank campus is in the middle of dirty Dinkytown, the building where I primarily took my classes is run-down, there was too much required coursework that has a very easily identifiable agenda (indoctrinate everyone to focus on meaningless minutiae) and the faculty in my program are all old and haven't been in a real classroom teaching for 20 years at least. Here's some more:

- relevant or pragmatic research in education is not promoted or fostered
- the admin office in my department is largely a mess full of idiots (save one decent person) who are incapable of giving anyone the correct information or friendly, timely service

- the profs are largely whiney, cantankerous belly button gazers who care more about their research than teaching

- there is not adequate funding or Graduate Assistant opportunities in the department for the number of grad students accepted into the program (I received most of my meager funding ($20/hr for 20 hrs per wk max which doesn't go far when trying to live on your own in a large metro area) from opportunities I created outside the department

- there is no training on working with students in the initial teaching licensure MEd program (which are pretty much the only in-department GA/TA opportunities available) or on how to supervise and manage student teachers

- the Student Services and Career Services offices should remove the word Service from their name because they provide NONE and I would daresay they actually hinder the Master's students more than anything

- my advisors are cranky, negative, unavailable, insensitive and tired and really have provided me with no advice-I've basically had to learn how to advise them to advise me

- I've received ZERO guidance on what it tales to complete my thesis
- when you do actually manage to get a GA or TA position you are treated like a servant or lackey
- the one article I've been able to publish while here was one I wrote completely but my advisor (who cant multitask and is overly pre-occupied with going up for tenure review) somehow ended up as first author

- trying to stay in the K-12 classroom to actually teach while in the PhD program is discouraged (to put it mildly) and the program is just not friendly overall for working teachers- anyone who applies for the Master's or PhD program is basically accepted-even if severely under qualified or under performing-there is no prestige. Its a school where everyone settles for whats here and puts up with the politics, crappy instruction, bad advising and poor student service since there really are no other public universities in the Twin Cities and no other options in-state go pursue a PhD or grad level initial licensure in Education. If there was some competition the programs might improve.

I basically enjoyed my time at the UDec 08 2002Language - French/Spanish/etc.
I basically enjoyed my time at the U. I transferred from a small,elite women's college in the East to attend as an undergraduate because I wanted to major in Scandinavian Studies. I went on to get my MA in Scandinavian too. This department is now, I understand, part of the Germanic Studies department, or something like that. I found everyone at the women's college I transferred from to be bright and interesting, even if I didn't like them; but at the U, I found a number of dull and uninteresting students, mostly among the undergraduates. There were, of course, enough of the bright and interesting students to make the whole thing acceptable anyway. Unfortunately, I found my chosen department to have a few professors who were quite disfunctional; my undergraduate advisor was an alcoholic misogynist. There were others there who resented women, I don't know why; but they didn't always treat us women graduate students like we had a brain. There were others in the department who were not at all like that, fortunately. One of them, a natural diplomat and man of high integrity, went on to become the president of the U. I got a good education, but the disfunctional faculty didn't make it easy for us; sometimes it seems as if they were actually witholding help by what they didn't share. They were simply quite self-focused and arrogant. I found excellent support from fellow graduate students, and I loved much of the material that I worked with. I was able to be a TA, and that was a wonderful experience.

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