Program Details

University of Maryland (Astronomy)

How many tenure-track or tenured faculty -- male/female?

male: 12
female: 3

How many graduate students-- male/female?

male: 18
female: 20

How many post doctoral associates - male/female?

Postbaccalaureate researchers: 5/2 (9/13)
Postdoctoral associates: 2/3 (10/6)
Research scientists: 16/3 (51/17)
The values in parentheses are totals that include scientists who are employed by our department but based at NASA/Goddard.

Is there a family leave policy for graduate students? If so, describe.

Formal options for graduate students include a Parental Accommodation Policy, a Leave of Absence for childbearing or adoption, and/or a Waiver of Continuous Registration.
The "Parental Accommodation Policy" provides a period of up to 6 weeks during which new parents may postpone completion of academic requirements. Either or both parents are eligible, including domestic partners. Students receive their regular teaching or research assistantship stipends and benefits. Students must develop plans with their instructors/adviser on how work will be completed or made up. The intent of this policy is to permit all students, including international students, to maintain their status as full-time, enrolled students. Deadlines with regard to time to degree, time to candidacy, etc. will be extended one semester per childbirth or adoption upon the request of the student.
Graduate students may also take a "Leave of Absence for Childbearing, Adoption, Illness or Dependent Care". Either or both parents are eligible, including domestic partners. The leave is for up to two semesters; leaves for a longer period may be approved in exceptional circumstances. Deadlines with regard to time to degree, time to candidacy, etc. will be extended by the duration of the leave. The leave is unpaid; students on leave are not registered at the University and therefore are not eligible for teaching or research assistantships or benefits.
Finally, graduate students who have not yet advanced to candidacy are eligible to request a "Waiver of Continuous Registration" for childbirth or other reasons, allowing them to remain in the program for a semester or a year without enrolling. This time is unpaid and does not stop the "time-to-degree" clock.
The above options may be used in combination with each other. Thus, for example, a student may apply for the benefits of the 6-week Parental Accommodation Policy in the fall, then apply for a Leave of Absence for the following 1-2 semesters.
For students who are teaching or research assistants, the "Time Away from Duties" policy is also relevant.

Parental Accommodation Policy:
Leave of Absence:
Waiver of Continuous Registration:
Time Away from Duties:

Is there family health insurance for graduate students? If so, is it included in the stipend?

Graduate students have the University employee health care choices available to themselves and their families. The costs are included in their stipend.

Please describe why someone applying to graduate school who is interested in a female-friendly department should choose your department.

The UM Astronomy department combines a welcoming environment with a challenging educational program. We are committed to helping our graduate students succeed and to providing them with a broad range of research opportunities. We have an active and open social and intellectual atmosphere with over 30 female graduate students, scientists, and tenure-track faculty. Our interest in diversity and female-friendly policies is exemplified by:
1) Our co-sponsorship and hosting of the 2009 Women in Astronomy and Space Science meeting,
2) Our student-led Astronomy Gentleladies Network organization for mentoring of female undergraduates,
3) Our student-led Graduate Resources Advancing Diversity with Maryland Astronomy and Physics (GRAD-MAP) program in collaboration with mid-Atlantic minority-serving institutions, and
4) Our weekly Better Astronomy for a New Generation (BANG) seminar series, which regularly includes talks that are specifically relevant to women in astronomy.

Has the institution had a Climate for Women in Physics Site Visit or Gender Equity Conversation?


Updated: November 16, 2017

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