This is basically the same thread that mgorby created but about UT Austin instead: Anyone have some insight on UT Austin's physics department? I'm interested in experimental AMO physics and they seem to have a lot of research groups that interest me. I'm more concerned if it's a friendly program, if the school itself is a welcoming place, how the town is, and then how well respected the research coming from the department is. I'm concerned because it seems that the school is very highly ranked so its research must be good, but it seems like their admission standards for U.S. applicants are not as high as others in the same range of rankings, for example they let in a third of all U.S. applicants. I am worrying that the atmosphere for grad students there is one of attrition and cut-throat competition. I'm hoping that instead it's all nice and friendly between profs and students and each other. I'm also wondering whether it's easy to make friends there (or does everyone just go home after class) and whether UT Austin gives you an individual treatment or treats you like a number (a big worry for me when it comes to big schools) Thanks to everyone and mgorby for the idea for the thread!