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Arrival Information For New Students (Fall 2018)


Welcome to the Physics Department! Soon, you will arrive in Syracuse to begin your graduate studies in physics. Your first few weeks will be a very busy time, meeting new people, looking for housing, and learning about our city and our University. Below is some information about what will happen when you arrive. The brief calendar and the arrival information are very important.

The instructions below tell how to begin your life as a member of the physics department. However, you will also be receiving instructions directly from the Teaching Assistant (TA) program about their orientation.

If you need any further information, you should feel free to e-mail

We look forward to meeting you this fall!

Checking In

Checking In for International Students

All international students must check in with the Lillian and Emanuel Slutzker Center for International Services (LESCIS) as soon as possible after entering the United States. The International Services Center is located at 310 Walnut Place and meets many of the needs of international students. Be sure to bring your documentation so they can prepare the I-9 information for payroll for you. They can be reached by e-mail at or by telephone at 315-443-2457.

Checking In with the Department

As soon as possible after arrival, all new students should come to room 111 of the Physics Building. You will be given a brief tour, assigned your mailbox, and given office keys. You will also have your photgraph taken for the department directory and website.

For new TAs who are United States citizens and permanent residents, I-9 forms are to be completed at the Human Resources Satellite Office located at 210 Steele Hall.

Calendar of Training and Orientation Events

**During July: Please e-mail to tell Patty Whitmore the date you plan to arrive in Syracuse.

Monday, August 6 - Wednesday, August 8, 2017

Arrival: International students (students from outside the U.S.) should arrive on these days. Students should check in at 111 Physics Building and the International Services Center at 310 Walnut Place.

ALL new physics graduate students, whether international or from the U.S., should check in at room 111 Physics building as soon as possible.

You can find information about the Office of International Services (SCIS) here. Note that they may be open late during this week in August.

Friday, August 10 through Monday, August 13

Syracuse University Teaching Assistant Orientation for International Students who are new TAs. Note that all new international students should attend these meetings, even if they are not TAs this year (for example, those on a fellowship). You will receive more information about this orientation from the international TA program. For a schedule, please click here.

Tuesday, August 14 through Thursday, August 16

Syracuse University Teaching Assistant Orientation. Required for all new TAs (domestic & international).

Saturday, August 18, and Sunday, August 19

9:00am: Qualifying Exam: Graduate students normally take this exam at the beginning of their second year in the program, but well-prepared new students may choose to take the exam in their first year. First year students who take the exam but do not pass are allowed to take the exam as usual in their second year without prejudice. See this year's qualifying exam syllabus for an outline of material covered by the exam. Please email to request samples of past Qualifying Exams. If you are interested in taking the Qualifying exam upon your arrival, please also email

**Please note that all 1st-year graduate students must take the Comprehensive Exam, even if you choose to attempt the Qualifying Exam upon arrival.

Saturday, August 18, and Sunday, August 19

2:00pm: Comprehensive Exam: All new students must take the comprehensive examination. The Comprehensive Examination is used to assess your background and preparation in order that we may better advise you in your studies at Syracuse. The exam is at the level of undergraduate texts such as Halliday and Resnick or Tipler and covers the areas of mechanics, electricity and magnetism, heat, optics, and modern physics. (The Qualifying Examination tests understanding of graduate-level material.) To view a sample of the Comprehensive Exam, please send an email to

Parts I (Mechanics) and II (Electricity and Magnetism) are held from 2:00-4:00pm on Saturday, while parts III (heat and optics) and IV (modern physics) held from 2:00-4:00pm on Sunday.

Monday, August 20 - Thursday, August 23

New Graduate Student Physics Department Orientation. A schedule will be distributed to all new students in early August.

Monday, August 27

First Day of Classes.