Department Snapshots

On this page:


Academic Highlights: The UMass Astronomy Department is the sole public institution in New England offering Astronomy at either the undergraduate or graduate level.

Research Areas: Understanding the beginning of the universe, birth and life of galaxies through cosmic time, ecology of galaxies, the universe in x-rays, the lives of stars from nurseries to black holes, comets as probes of the early solar system, and interstellar chemistry and the origins of life.

Degrees: BA, BS, MS, PhD; Part of the Five-College Astronomy Program.


  • Tenure-track faculty: 14
  • Research faculty: 3
  • Postdoctoral fellows: 2
  • Undergraduate majors: 92
  • Graduate students: 23

Research Awards: $2.44M

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Academic Highlights: The department’s commitment to interdisciplinary approaches to elucidate the molecular mechanism of the machinery of the cell and to innovative instruction is reflected in the fact that nearly half of its undergraduate majors make the Dean’s List each semester.

Research Areas: Protein folding/trafficking and associated diseases, mechanisms of cellular signal transduction, and plant and environmental interactions for food, fuel and drugs.

Degrees: BA/BS, 5-year BS/MS, PhD


  • Tenure-track faculty: 14
  • Lecturers: 5
  • Research faculty: 3
  • Postdoctoral fellows: 9
  • Undergraduate majors: 707
  • Graduate students: 26

Research Awards: $3.7M


Academic Highlights: Spanning the breadth of life science, the Biology curriculum integrates the cellular and molecular investigation of living organisms, including humans, with the study of the evolution and ecology of organismal biology. Inquiry-based laboratory and field experiences provide rich opportunities for students to develop and hone the skills of practicing scientists. Our goal is to prepare our students for a variety of career paths and also provide them with the tools to be life-long learners in the rapidly evolving world of biological sciences.

Research Areas: Cell biology, neurobiology, evolutionary biology, ecology and behavior, genetics and genomics, physiology, plant genomics and physiology.

Degrees: BA, BS


  • Tenure-track faculty: 32
  • Lecturers: 10
  • Postdoctoral fellows: 9
  • Undergraduate majors: 1,321
  • Graduate students: 42

Research Awards: $4.93M


Academic Highlights: Widely regarded for its educational teaching innovations, including the ongoing development of computer-aided learning environments, used by over 100 universities, the department excels at teaching thousands of students in dozens of majors, and in mentoring undergraduate and graduate students engaged in laboratory research.

Research Areas: Nanomaterials, chemistry-biology interface, initiatives in renewable energy

Degrees: BA, BS, MS, PhD.


  • Tenure-Track Faculty: 23
  • Postdoctoral Fellows: 11
  • Undergraduate Majors: 183
  • Graduate Students: 128

Research Awards: $6.1M

Environmental Conservation

Academic Highlights: ECo faculty are passionate about our mission: to train the next generation of scholars and environmental leaders who will solve the global challenges of environmental sustainability and make a big difference in the world. The department is now a proud partner in the new School of Earth & Sustainability.

Degrees: AS, BS, MS, PhD.


  • Tenure-track faculty: 20
  • Lecturers: 10
  • Adjunct research faculty: 46
  • Research fellows: 12
  • Postdoc research associates: 9
  • Undergraduate majors: 816
  • Graduate students: 148

Research awards: $3.9M

Food Science

Academic Highlights: Offering the oldest Food Science program in the U.S., the department has been ranked in the top 4 departments in the university student satisfaction survey for the last 10 years. Top-ranked PhD research program in the U.S. by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences

Research Areas: Food and environmental biotechnology, physical-chemical properties of food, food safety, and foods for health and wellness.

Degrees: BS, MS, PhD


  • Tenure faculty: 10
  • Extension faculty: 1
  • Postdoctoral fellows: 10
  • Undergraduate major students: 93
  • Graduate students: 86

Research Awards: $2.5M


Academic Highlights: Top Microprobe Laboratory in the World, and Internationally recognized Biochemistry Laboratory, The department which emphasizes opportunities for field work across the globe, provides students the close faculty interaction characteristic of a small school and the extensive research facilities and projects characteristic of a large university. Ranked 4th in the U.S. based on percentage of women faculty, home to the N.E. Climate Science Center - 1 of 8 such institutions in the U.S., home to the Massachusetts Geological Survey, and home to the world class Climate System Research Center

Research Areas: Paleoclimate studies, coastal processes, regional tectonics and structure, origin of magmas, fault system mechanics, geophysics, surface and groundwater systems, hydrogeology, landscape evolution and hazards, urban geography, indigenous peoples, water and energy geography, geographic information systems

Degrees: BS, BA, MS, PhD


  • Tenure-track faculty: 20
  • Lecturers: 5
  • Postdoctoral fellows: 11
  • Undergraduate major students: 350
  • Graduate students: 65
  • Available scholarships: 10

Research Awards: $2.9M

Mathematics and Statistics

Academic Highlights: The department’s curriculum offers a complete spectrum, from introductory-level general education courses to research opportunities for undergraduates; from an innovative MS program in applied mathematics for careers in high-tech industry to doctoral direction and postdoctoral mentoring.

Research Areas: Pure and applied mathematics and statistics

Degrees: BA, BS, MS, PhD


  • Tenure-track faculty: 40
  • Lecturers: 8
  • Postdoctoral fellows: 10
  • Undergraduate majors: 583
  • Graduate students: 75

Research Awards: $1.08M


Academic Highlights: The curriculum offers undergraduate a broad background in the sciences and focused training in Microbiology in a small classroom environment aired with personalized academic advising. More than 90% of Applied Molecular Biotechnology MS alumni are placed in biotech companies, research institutions, and PhD programs

Research Areas: Pathogenic microbiology, environmental microbiology, microbial genetics and biotechnology

Degrees: BS, PhD, Five-year BS/MS, One-year MS in Applied Molecular Biotechnology, Two-year MS, Biotechnology Certificate 


  • Tenure-track faculty: 15
  • Lecturers: 4
  • Postdoctoral fellows: 6
  • Undergraduate major students: 205
  • Graduate students: 43

Research Awards: $3.48M


Academic Highlights: The multi-track undergraduate program for majors includes many undergraduate research opportunities, and the comprehensive graduate program offers opportunities for doctoral studies in most forefront areas of physics research.

Research Areas: Cosmology, gravity, nuclear, and particle theory; astrophysics, gravity, nuclear, and particle; theoretical and experimental hard and soft condensed-­matter physics; MassNanoTech: Nanoscale Science and Engineering Institute; Center for Biological Physics: Biological Physics Theory and Experiment.

Degrees: BA, BS, MS, PhD.


  • Tenure-track faculty: 27
  • Lecturers: 5
  • Postdoctoral fellows: 11
  • Undergraduate majors: 200
  • Graduate students: 76

Research Expenditures: $5.7M

Polymer Science and Engineering

Academic Highlights: In the latest U.S. National Research Council rankings, PSE was top rated in polymers, and evaluated in the broader Materials Science and Engineering discipline, PSE placed as high as third for research.

Research Areas: Bio-inspired materials, electronic polymers/devices, energy and green science, high performance composites, nanostructured materials, soft materials physics/mechanics, synthetic polymer chemistry, responsive polymers

Degrees: MS, PhD


  • Tenure-track faculty: 20
  • Technical Staff: 9
  • Graduate students: 123
  • Postdoctoral fellows: 24

Research Awards: $15M

Psychological and Brain Sciences

Academic Highlights: The undergraduate program provides students with broad exposure to the behavioral sciences with a focus on research tools. The BS neuroscience track and developmental disabilities and human services program implement a specialized set of courses and experiences. PhD programs provide students with extensive research facilities and opportunities to conduct collaborative and independent research. The Clinical Psychology Program is a member in the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science, placing it among the best clinical science programs in the country.

Research Areas: Behavioral neuroscience, clinical psychology, cognition and cognitive neuroscience, developmental science, and social psychology

Degrees: BA, BS, MS, PhD


  • Tenure-track faculty: 40
  • Lecturers: 12
  • Postdoctoral fellows: 15
  • Undergraduate major students: 1,692
  • Graduate students: 95
  • Available scholarships: 12

Research Awards: $5.7M

School of Earth and Sustainability

Academic Highlights: The School of Earth and Sustainability (SES) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst provides students, faculty, the campus community, and the Commonwealth with a central hub for innovation, research, education, and outreach related to earth, sustainability, and environmental sciences. SES brings together 10 undergraduate majors and 5 graduate degree programs, and provides students with the knowledge and professional training to address the environmental challenges of the 21st century.

Stockbridge School of Agriculture

Academic Highlights: The Stockbridge School of Agriculture, founded in 1918, is a part of the College of Natural Sciences. The School’s curriculum is unique in that all courses are part of an undergraduate curriculum and all of its faculty teach at the undergraduate and graduate level, participate in research, public service and are highly trained professionals. The Stockbridge School offers an Associate of Science degree in six majors, a Bachelor of Science degree in four majors, and graduate education. These majors integrate the scientific, business, and technical skills required of professionals within the equine, food crops, and green industries. The majors are centered around course work in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, the Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Department of Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning.

Degrees: AS and BS


  • Tenure-track faculty: 19
  • Lecturers: 6
  • Extension faculty: 3
  • Undergraduate majors: 350
  • Graduate students: 30
  • Postdoctoral fellows: 10

Research Awards: $3M

Veterinary and Animal Sciences

Academic Highlights: The department offers two undergraduate majors, animal science and pre-veterinary science, with a student/faculty ratio of 16:1. Students work directly with large and small animals and engage in research in several campus farm and livestock facilities.

Research Areas: Autoimmune diseases, breast cancer, developmental biology, environmental toxicology, fertility research, infection and immunity, lymphoid development, reproductive biology, stem cell biology, and veterinary immunopathology.

Degrees: BS in animal science, BS in pre-veterinary science, MS in animal biotechnology and biomedical sciences, PhD in animal biotechnology and biomedical sciences


  • Tenure-track faculty: 15
  • Extension faculty: 2
  • Research faculty: 4
  • Lecturers: 5
  • Postdoctoral fellows: 6
  • Undergraduate majors: 406
  • Graduate students: 19

Research Awards: $12.8M