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Why Penn State?

You can participate in some of the department's most important and exciting research accomplishments and go on to become a leader in your field, whether it is in an academic, government, or industrial setting.

As you view our Web site, what you will find unique about our Department is the depth of concentration we have in several key research areas.  Unlike many departments where one individual represents a given specialty field, we have at least several faculty members working in each specialty. This will provide you with a very unique experience—multiple faculty members with strong expertise to serve on your thesis committees and a larger network of graduate students sharing common interests. This synergy facilitates a group learning experience and increases the possibility of participation in research teams.

Our graduate program is first and foremost about students. The program is designed for students with widely diverse academic and research experiences. Students represent a range of experiences, with varied backgrounds from biology, chemistry, zoology, entomology, meteorology, ecology, and botany programs to name a few. You will find an exceptional faculty that offer an unequaled range of research expertise and breadth within our focus areas.

You will enjoy a vibrant downtown full of restaurants, clubs, galleries, the State Theater and The Pennsylvania Centre Orchestra. Canoeing, hiking and cycling are within a few miles in the Allegheny mountain region.  State College is consistently ranked among the best places to live in the U.S. by numerous sources (e.g., CNN Money, Sperling’s Best Places, etc.).  Here are a few recent rankings:

  • State College was ranked 5th as best place to live among northeast small cities by Money Magazine.
  • State College ranked No. 1 as the lowest stress city in the United States by Psychology Today.
  • State College rated by Places Rated Almanac as the 7th safest city.
  • State College is ranked as one of the 50 next great adventure towns by National Geographic Adventure magazine.