Letter to Prospective Graduate Students

This is a copy of the letter sent to prospective graduate students who contact
the department for information about the Physics graduate program.

Dear Prospective Graduate Student:

Thank you for your interest in physics graduate study at UMass. The research opportunities available in the department are very broad, including experimental and theoretical condensed matter physics, nanoscience, low temperature physics, nuclear physics, experimental and theoretical high energy physics, biophysics, gravitational physics and a variety of collaborative research programs with several departments on campus, including Polymer Science. A complete overview of our department, including graduate courses, seminars, research programs, faculty listings, general information about the campus, enrollment requirements, financial aid, and details about how to apply for graduate school can all be found on our web pages at http://www.physics.umass.edu. You will find under the research area there are links to the individual research groups' website. More details about the process of applying to our graduate school can be found at http://www.umass.edu/gradschool/applicants.html.  Our information is also included in our American Institute of Physics and Astronomy listing at http://www.gradschoolshopper.com.  If you would like to know more about us see our social media links to the right of this page. 

The anticipated value of the total compensation package for a first year non-resident doctoral student is in excess of $45,200. This includes the first year stipend for a teaching assistantship of $18,810 (9-month salary), waivers of tuition, curriculum and other fees, and health benefits.

Our research groups provide many opportunities for Summer Research Assistantships (RA's). The department also has some Summer Teaching Assistant (TA) positions for the few students who need them. A Summer RA pays up to $6,930, depending on the duration of the work, and a Summer TA pays between $1,300 and $3,000 depending on the size of the class being taught. In recent years, most first year students have been able to find a Summer TA or RA. If you negotiate RA support for the entire Summer with a research group, you can receive up to $25,740 a year.

To students with exceptional records we offer a departmental fellowship amounting to $2,000 for the first year of stay at UMass and renewable for a second year assuming satisfactory progress in their graduate career. This fellowship usually comes with at least guaranteed partial Summer support for the first Summer. With full Summer support, this would increase the annual income up to $27,740. Fellowships for qualified minority candidates are also available through the Graduate School's Minority Graduate Education Program.

All applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test and the Physics Subject Test. In addition, foreign applicants must also take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). All application materials, including three letters of recommendation, are due by January 15th. However, since all departments on campus have the same deadline, I recommend submitting application materials to the Graduate School by the beginning of January. An application feeof $75 is required before an application may be processed. We realize that this fee may present a difficulty for some applicants, but unfortunately we are unable to waive it.

Amherst itself is a typical New England college town, with bookstores, coffee shops and a wide range of cultural activities. The surrounding Pioneer Valley is quite rural, with wooded hills, a large network of rivers and lakes, and an abundance of hiking and ski trails. As rural as we are, we are within a few hours of major metropolitan areas and all that they have to offer. A free bus system connects the University with the town itself and with the four first-rate undergraduate liberal arts colleges in the local area. The programs of these colleges enrich the many cultural offerings available.

We welcome any inquiries about our program or about life at UMass. Should you require additional information, please feel free to contact us.

Sincerely,

David Kawall
Physics Graduate Admissions Chair