Physics Undergraduate FAQS

Major:

How do I declare my Physics Major?
How does the Physics Department advising system work?
What if I have a question or concern about the Physics Department?
How is the level of honors calculated for graduating seniors?

Graduate School:

How can I study for the Physics GRE?

Other:

How do I go about obtaining letters of recommendation?
How do I sign up for the Society of Physics Students?


How do I declare my Physics Major?

The deadline for declaring a major is the spring of sophomore year. However, you can still declare in the spring of your freshman year if you wish. For the physics major, it is advisable for you to declare early. You can always change later if you want. When you have decided to declare your physics major, you should schedule an appointment with the Undergraduate Physics Advisor, Prof. Daniel Zwanziger. The declaration process consists of reviewing your plan of study, and filling out some minor paperwork. You can fill out this form beforehand, if you wish. Please see Bill LePage after you have met with Daniel Zwanziger so that he can enter your information officially in SIS/Albert.


How does the Physics Department advising system work?

All Physics majors automatically have the Undergrad Physics Advisor as their advisor. The Undergraduate Physics Advisor is always a member of the Physics faculty and changes on a yearly basis. You can talk with the advisor about anything at any time, from course selection, to future job or graduate plans, to labs, etc.


What if I have a question or concern about the Physics Department?

If you ever have any questions, or issues, or complaints about anything in the physics dept, you are encouraged to talk with the following people:

Daniel Zwanziger, Director of Undergraduate Studies: daniel.zwanziger@nyu.edu, Broadway 906
Bill LePage: wlp1@nyu.edu, Meyer 424


How is the level of honors calculated for graduating seniors?

Candidates for a degree with honors in physics must complete the requirements for the basic major including courses PHYS-UA 120 Dynamics, PHYS-UA 124 Quantum Mechanics II, and PHYS-UA 210 Computational Physics. They must also complete the equivalent of a two-semester experimental or theoretical research experience resulting in a final paper or oral defense based on this work. Students who wish to fulfill this requirement should discuss possible options, such as independent study courses, with the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Their overall GPA must be 3.65 or higher, as well as a minimum GPA of 3.65 in the physics major.​


How can I study for the Physics GRE?

A practice booklet can be found on the ETS webpage here. A description of the Physics exam can be found here.

Although a few students take the Physics GRE in the spring of their junior year, most take it in November in their senior year. Don't wait until the December date, because the scores might not arrive in time. Save the December date for a retake, if you feel that you need to do that; but again, the scores might not arrive in time. Take one of the practice exams early, so you can see what topics are covered and what the problems look like. Save at least one exam for a few days before the actual test, so you can get your mind in test-taking mode.

Don't forget to sign up by the registration deadline.

Here is a GRE Guide from OnlineColleges.net. This is a guide for students planning on taking the GRE. This guide covers all the important subjects and sections of the GRE, how to study and provides additional online resources for students seeking additional help.


How do I go about obtaining letters of recommendation?

See the document “Requesting Recommendation Letters” for some guidelines. You can link to it from here.


How do I sign up for the Society of Physics Students?

For more information on the Society of Physics Students, see the SPS webpage http://physics.nyu.edu/~sps/.