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Department of Physics and Astronomy

Incoming Students

Welcome home! Moving to a new place, dealing with grad school and learning the dos and don'ts can be an overwhelming task sometimes, but worry not, since on this page we have the information you are looking for.
And if you don't find an answer to your question, please do not hesitate and reach out to us!

Important Steps

We hope you are enjoying your summer and are excited about joining our graduate program in August. The new semester will be here before we know it, so be sure not to miss out on any information regarding upcoming orientations, workshops, and meetings. As a reminder, you can download this checklist [pdf] of tasks to be completed before the 1st semester.

With a few exceptions, everyone has been signed up to attend the TA workshops. There will be one session in the morning and one in the afternoon. You should have received an email confirmation with the date and times. If for some reason you can’t attend the workshops, please be sure to reschedule your day as soon as possible. The workshops are a requirement to receive your TA.
Useful resources regarding the GTA/GIA Training can be found on the dedicated page of the Graduate School.

There will be a placement exam. This exam is used to determine which classes you should take during your first semester. The subjects covered on the exam are classical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum physics, and modern physics. If you are going to miss the placement exam, please let Nancy know as soon as possible so that other arrangements can be made.

Please do not miss our “welcome meeting” in the morning. We will go over several important things regarding our graduate program. Afterwards, our Advisement Committee will meet with each of you individually to go over what courses you will need to take. You will need to make an appointment with Nancy for Advisement. 

Please check with Nancy to make sure you are added to our Outlook Calendar. This is where we will have specific dates for everything going on.

The content of this page can be found in our welcome letter [pdf] as well, feel free to download it!

International Students

As an International student, you will be required to take a few more steps, other than the ones mentioned above.

You are required to attend the international student orientation and TA training workshops. You will also be required to take the TA assessments to ensure your English skills are satisfactory for teaching undergraduate student labs. Don’t wait until the last minute to practice your English! The assessment is in the form of a microlesson assignment [pdf] which is taught to a small group. We also gathered a set of possible topics for the microlesson [pdf], feel free to be inspired!

Since you are all expected to be TAs, you will be required to complete a Form I-9 (employment eligibility verification). A list of acceptable documents to use as identification is included. Please note that these documents must be unexpired originals. If you are an international student, please bring your passport, I-94, and I-20. If you have any question about an acceptable document, please let us know.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.