Research is widely encouraged with a wide diversity of labs studying different fields within Microbiology. Lots of friendly faculty willing to work with you and help you learn procedures or protocols not actively used in your home lab. Class structure and availability could use some work.
I really liked how invested both in teaching and n the students many of my professors were, this made my experience at UMASS much more enjoyable and meaningful.
Overall I would rate it positive. I've learned a lot while balancing work, academics, and a social life. Specifically within my department, I would suggest improvements to the project parts of several classes. Many of my courses right now have final projects that are so similar to each other, and it is repetitive.