The facilities and support staff here are fantastic. The staff do a great job of helping students learn how to use equipment and make it possible for us to focus on science, instead of maintenance. As a computationalist, I have access to some of the best high performance computing resources in the country, and a great team of system administrators to deal with the day-to-day operation issues.
As someone coming from an MSE background, I really liked the way core curriculum requirements were handled. I was able to dive into new areas and take classes more specifically relevant to my projects sooner, after proving my knowledge of core subjects. I've taken classes in mechanical and chemical engineering, math, and even the School of Information.
The department is involved in a variety of interdisciplinary grants. I'm a participant in the Open Data project, which is between the School of Information, Bioinformatics, Computer Science and Materials Science. I regularly collaborate with students from a variety of backgrounds to solve real issues facing scientists everywhere.
Aside from the great academics, I love the Ann Arbor campus. The town is constantly busy and caters well to graduate students and young professionals. There are plenty of great restaurants, bars, and shows downtown for a welcome break from studies on the weekend. At the same time, Ann Arbor doesn't offer too many distractions like those in a large city, so it's easy to find a balance between work and social life. Ann Arbor is one of my favorite places I've lived thus far, and I think most graduate students will be happy in the program here.
I have found everything about the University of Michigan extraordinarily welcoming. This started at the visit weekend where we were met by current graduate students who readily related their experiences, tips, and insight throughout the weekend, and continued with the department faculty and staff throughout that weekend. Its not just a show! After arriving on campus last fall the students, faculty, and staff were just as welcoming and helpful whether searching for an adviser, looking for help in research from a professor other than your own advisor, or hearing student's perspectives about classes, professors, or research topics. Everyone here will be more than happy to help you out, and this sense of welcoming was one of the biggest things that stood out to me in my graduate school search, and played a big role in why I chose to come here!
The MSE department exemplifies diversity in terms of the areas of research (multidisciplinary research) as well as I terms of the provenance of the faculty and students. My application was accepted both at the University of Delaware and the University of Michigan. The weather would have been a factor in my decision to which graduate school I wanted to go to. In my case, I decided to accept the offer at Michigan as I was impressed by the multiple resources available for research (grant, interesting areas of research, …) and the emphasis placed on attracting both faculty and students from diverse backgrounds. Ann Arbor is a nice city rich in culture (cuisine, arts, theatre….) and there is a good representation of different cultures (international and national).
My initial reason to come to the University of Michigan MSE department was the outstanding research in organic electronics, my field of interest, is being conducted here. However, upon arriving I have also been surprised by the diversity of research programs and the large efforts in research collaboration in the department. The chance to use top-notch research facilities, collaborate as well as discuss with students from many fields has been helping me to solve many problems and utilize my creativity in doing research.
I also find the support staff at U of M extremely helpful. The staff on campus is more than willing to help new students look for research advisors, choose classes or even solve many personal life issues such as housing problems. It is hard to find any other universities having such a fantastic bus service and the availability of on-campus housing options for almost every student.
Aside from great study environment, I am also impressed with the diversity and availability of social life here. Ann Arbor offers a combination of both small town pleasures and large city conveniences. There are over 200 diverse restaurants here and it is not difficult to find a restaurant that satisfies your flavor. As an international student from Vietnam, I was surprised to find more than a handful of restaurants and grocery stores that offer great Vietnamese as well as other Asian foods. Ann Arbor's beautiful parks and recreational activities, charming homes, superb cultural amenities and numerous galleries throughout the city have been helping me to balance between studying and social life.