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Department Snapshots

Astronomy

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.

People:

  • 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: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology has experienced exceptional growth with the major growing by an average of 50 undergraduates per year for the past 5 years. 35% of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology majors are on the Dean's List, and all Biochemistry and Molecular Biology majors participate in authentic, course-based laboratory research.

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

People:

  • Tenure-track faculty: 18
  • Extension Faculty: 3
  • Research Faculty: 2
  • Lecturers: 5
  • Postdoctoral fellows: 7
  • Undergraduate Major Students: 680
  • Graduate Students: 28

Research Awards: $3.2M

Biology

Academic Highlights: Dedicated teachers who have been nominated and awarded for many teaching awards, the Biology department offers Biology Undergraduate Research apprenticeships, an online application system which places students in world-class research labs. The department are contributors to 4 interdisciplinary MS/PhS degree programs, and offers BioTap, BioRap and Bios— Residential programs developed to advance the studies and develop communities within the program. 

Research Areas: Evolutionary Biology, Physiology, Molecular Biology, Plant Biology, Neurobiology and Ecology

Degrees: BS

People:

  • Tenure-track faculty: 32
  • Lecturers: 14
  • Postdoctoral fellows: 15
  • Undergraduate majors: 1,397
  • Graduate students: 60

Scholarships: 5

Chemistry

Academic Highlights: Widely regarded for its educational teaching innovations, including the ongoing development of computer-aided learning environments, the Chemistry department provides the bulk of laboratory-based undergraduate training on campus, teaching thousands of students in dozens of majors. Mentorship of undergraduate and graduate students engaged in laboratory research is a high priority; all BS majors do research. Leader in developing iCons: integrated Concentration in Science program to train tomorrow's leaders. 13 winners of the University's Distinguished Teaching Award; the most on campus. 

Research Areas: Materials: Synthesis, fabrication, characterization and theory of novel materials. Chemistry-Biology Interface: Researching the chemical basis for disease, using approaches such as crystallography, spectroscopy, and protein engineering. 

Degrees: BS, MS, PhD.

People:

  • Tenure Faculty: 23
  • Lecturers: 10 
  • Visiting Assistant Professors: 2
  • Postdoctoral Fellows: 7
  • Undergraduate Major Students: 189
  • Graduate Students: 129

Available Scholarships: 25+

Research Awards: $6.1M

Environmental Conservation

Academic Highlights: ECo programs offer real-world experiences, both in the classroom and beyond with hands-on training in the field and laboratories, internships, research experiences with faculty and international exchange. ECo ranks amongst the highest in the college for student satisfaction. Student fieldwork spans the world from Western Massachusetts to Africa and Asia, and over 90% of our MS and PhD graduates find employment in their field after graduation. ECo is also a proud partner in the new School of Earth and Sustainability. 

Degrees: BS, MS, PhD

People:

  • Tenure-track faculty: 22
  • Lecturers: 8
  • Adjunct research faculty: 44
  • Research fellows: 7
  • Postdoc research associates: 7
  • Undergraduate majors: 768
  • Graduate students: 145

Scholarships available: $63,000

Research awards: $4.2M

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

People:

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

Research Awards: $2.5M

Geosciences

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

People:

  • 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

People:

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

Research Awards: $1.08M

Microbiology

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 

People:

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

Research Awards: $3.48M

Physics

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.

People:

  • 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: One of the largest academic polymer centers in the world and has graduated more PhD's than any other U.S. polymer program with 15-20 PhD's awarded each year. 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. PSE research support exceeds $15M per year, and the cost of instrumentation exceeds $40M, with many sophisticated instruments housed in staff-run shared instrument facilities. Projects are currently supported by DOE, FAA, NSF, NIH, EPA, DOD, and other federal agencies as well as 40+ companies. 

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

People:

  • Tenure-track faculty: 19
  • Lecturers: 2
  • Extension faculty: 1
  • Research faculty: 1
  • Graduate students: 101
  • Postdoctoral fellows: 21

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

People:

  • 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

People:

  • 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, MS, PhD

People:

  • Tenure faculty: 15
  • Research faculty: 4
  • Lecturers: 5
  • Postdoctoral fellows: 7
  • Undergraduate major students: 463
  • Graduate students: 21

Available Scholarships: 10

    Research Awards: $7.7M