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Department of Physics

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Quality of Life

(More Information)

Manhattan, Kansas! You've got to be kidding.

Nope, this is a great place to live. We are not one of the five boroughs of New York City. We are a small city of 52,000 (over 70,000 with students) nestled near the junction of the Kansas and Big Blue rivers in the Flint Hills of Kansas (the great flat wheat fields start 50 miles or so to our west). We average around 150 blue sky days per year, with summers warm, but not unbearable, and winters usually milder than the rest of the US Midwest. Manhattan has clean water, clean air, clean parks, clean streets, and a low crime rate.

What is the cost of living?

Housing costs range from $300-$600 per month, depending on whether apartments are shared or rented individually. Housing is available within walking distance of campus. A car is not an absolute necessity, but your quality of life will be higher if you have one. There is public transportation available in Manhattan.  Food costs are typical for American university towns.

I have children. Are there daycare facilities? How are the schools?

There is a large on-campus daycare facility, the K-State Center for Child Development (CCD) in the K-State graduate student housing complex, and two smaller on-campus facilities associated with academic programs in child development. Private facilities exist as well. Rates for the CCC are based on a  sliding fee scale that is based on household, household income and University affiliation.  For more information, see their webpage at  or call the CCD Director at 785-532-3700 or contact them at http://www.k-state.edu/ccd/contact.html. The public school system is generally well-regarded, especially in the elementary schools where class sizes average 22 students. See www.usd383.org for more information.

So what's there to do other than physics?

Kansas State University boasts the fine regional Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art and a year-round performing arts series at McCain Auditorium. Our student fitness and recreation center has been rated tops in the country. The University fields national class sports teams in football, women's volleyball, men's and women's basketball, track and field, and livestock judging (this is Kansas!). Just out of town are Tuttle Creek Lake, a vast recreational expanse, and the Konza Prairie Natural Research area. A new Tallgrass Prairie National Park is an hour drive to our south. Many canoeing venues are available in eastern Kansas and western Missouri, and western Kansas offers several superb wildlife refuges. Manhattan may have the best zoo for a town its size in the country. 

What's there to do that's not so healthy?

There is no shortage of establishments in the Aggieville district adjacent to campus that you can visit to help forget about your qualifying exams. Manhattan has a decent selection of restaurants (very good steak), several nice coffee houses, a microbrewery, a movie complex,  and a community theater. Large concerts are occasionally held nearby; expect the singers to have a nice country twang.

But what else is there to do?

Kansas City is an easy two hour drive to the east and offers concerts, museums, jazz, major league sports, and many other activities. The Rocky Mountains and Denver are an easy one day drive to the west.