Program Details

Western Michigan University

Updated: September 04, 2012

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


How many graduate students-- male/female?


How many post doctoral associates - male/female?


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


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

Graduate students can purchase family health insurance, but it is not included in the stipend.

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

The Department of Physics at Western Michigan University consists of 2 female (Profs. Lisa Paulius and Nora Berrah) and 16 male professors. Since the department began offering a Ph.D. in 1990, a total of 40 Ph.D. degrees have been granted, of which 6 have been to women (15%). In addition, a total of 90 Master's degrees have been granted, of which 23 have been to women (25%).

Students interested in a female-friendly physics department should apply to WMU because 1) the department offers a variety of programs in Astrophysics, Atomic and Molecular, Condensed Matter, and Nuclear physics. 2) The department has two role models as full physics professors, Profs. Paulius and Berrah who have been in the department since 1993 and 1991, respectively. Both started as Assistant Professors and climbed the ranks to become Full Professors. 3) The department strives successfully to recruit female students. 4) The retention rate of female graduate students funded by the department is nearly 100%. 5) The department has social events such as a holiday potluck dinner and fall and spring picnics to increase the interaction between faculties and students. 6) The department offers a mentoring program to undergraduate students. Graduate students are mentored via their research advisers/thesis committee members. 7) The Chair and a department committee have organized a lounge space (Physics Student Commons) where students can meet to increase networking and work together. 8) We have recently begun a journal club that allows students to meet and discuss research topics outside their research areas to both increase their research experience and also informally socialize. 9) Informal meetings between female students and female faculty have occurred, and we are planning more frequent interactions. 10) One of the female faculty, Prof. Berrah, has experience with gender issues and was a member and chair of the APS Committee on the Status of Women in Physics (CSWP). All the professors are committed to working with students to make their experience at WMU both productive and enjoyable.

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


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