This is advice and information for students who have formally accepted the UCSB Physics Department's offer of admission.
As a Physics Ph.D. student, you have your own individual strengths, weaknesses, interests, and goals. You’re all different, right? True! But in our experience some pieces of advice apply to everyone.
Get involved. We know you’re busy. Being a TA and doing homework for grad classes can take a lot of time. But nevertheless it is important to take time to connect with the community. Finding out now what is going on in Broida and on campus will make it much easier to locate and connect with a research advisor. So, make the most of graduate seminar, attend colloquia, Gradloquiua, and journal clubs and check out the opportunities for outreach. Check out the department and GradLife calendars for events!
Take charge of your coursework. The Faculty Graduate Advisor, your Supervising Committee, and the rest of us in the department, will work with you to design a Ph.D. program that is right for you. The rules of the Department allow substantial flexibility, built around a solid core which defines what it means to be a Physics Ph.D. Talk to the Faculty Graduate Advisor if you think you need some extra courses to fill in missing background, or if you think should be exempted from some of the required courses. Would you like to check out an advanced course but don’t have the time? Think about auditing the course, just sitting in on some lectures, or taking it pass/fail.
Start researching research. It’s never too early to start talking to faculty, postdocs, and fellow students in your areas of interest. Maybe you’re wondering when to start doing research and what background you need? Ask and find out! Sooner is better than later. Not sure which of several areas you want to pursue? Try them out! Talk to the faculty about doing some sort of trial project, or reading course, or maybe just attending their group meetings to see what’s going on.
You can get further advice from your Supervising Committee or the faculty advisor. For further advice from your fellow grad students, check out the GradLife Advice Pages, or contact any of the grad student members of the GradLife committee. Likewise, if you have any advice for us about how to improve graduate life in the department, please let us know!
The Faculty Graduate Advisor provides guidance on course selection, progress to degree, preparing for advancement, selecting a research advisor, and any issues that influence students’ academic progress. Students meet with the Faculty Graduate Advisor on a quarterly basis to complete an academic progress evaluation until the time they select a Research Advisor and advance to candidacy.
Find out more on the GradLife Advice page.