FAQs

Q: What is the difference between PHYS 401/402 and PHYS 407/408?

A: Essentially the same topics are covered in both courses, it is the mathematics requirements that are different. PHYS 407/408 requires that students have taken or are taking calculus. This course is aimed primarily at students in the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, but students with a calculus background from any college are welcome. PHYS 401/402 requires a mathematics background in algebra and trigonometry only; this course is typically for students not in CEPS.

Q: How can I learn more about the introductory courses?

A: Visit our introductory course descriptions page for course descriptions, links to the current course pages, and for examples of syllabi from previous years and professor notes where available.

Q: I already have a good background in physics, do I really have to take PHYS 407?

A: We do offer a way to test out of PHYS 407, 408: if you take and do better than the average student on our standardized test, you can be excused from the PHYS 407, 408 requirement. However, you do not get the 4 credits for the course; you must replace that course with another. For more information, see Katie Makem at the Physics Office, Demeritt 105.

Q: When and where can I add/drop/switch sections for PHYS 400 level courses?

A: We cannot add/drop/switch sections until we have the information from the registrar. This happens typically on the second day of classes. You can call us at 862-1950 before you come over to be sure that we can do this.

Come to the Physics Office at Demeritt 105 to add/drop/switch.

Q: Do I have to retake the lab if I passed the lab but failed the course?

A: No, if you passed the lab in PHYS 401, 402,407 or 408, and your lab grade was acceptably high, but did not pass the course, you may petition out of the lab. To do this, come to the Physics Office (Demeritt Hall 105, 862-2063) and fill out a lab petition (you will need to tell us which course you took and in which semester). Once you fill out the petition, we will look up your old lab grade. Be sure to check back about a week after filling out the petition to be sure that we could find your old records, and that your lab grades was sufficiently high (typically over 70.

Q: I'm not doing so well in my course, what can I do?

A: There are several ways of getting help:

  • Visit your professor or TA during their office hours; if you can't make office hours, try to schedule a meeting at a more convenient time. Office hours are sometimes intimidating, but they are part of the service that we are happy to provide to students.
  • Work in a group with your fellow students, either students in your class or your dorm. Even if you are all struggling, you can often do more in a group than you can do on your own.
  • Get tutoring help from one of the student groups on campus. Call the CEPS Dean's office (862-1781) to find out when tutoring is available.
  • Get tutoring help from the Society of Physics Students. They will announce tutoring on the bulletin board in Demeritt right next to the steps leading down to the front door.
  • Contact the Center For Academic Resources to see what services you are eligible for.

CENTER FOR ACADEMIC RESOURCES 

Q: What Math Preparation is Necessary for PHYS 407-408?

A:

  • You need to have taken Calc I (MATH 425) or be registered for it the semester that you take PHYS 407.
  • You need to have taken Calc II (MATH 426) or be registered for it the semester that you take PHYS 408.
  • Algebra: Solve one equation for one unknown.
  • Algebra: Solve two simultaneous equations with two unknowns.
  • Trigonometry: Be able to sketch the graph of cosine(x).
  • Trigonometry: Be able to find the length of the side of a right triangle given the length of the other two sides.
  • Trigonometry: Be able to find the length of the side of a right triangle given the length of one other side and one angle.
  • Precalc: if f(x)=(x+1)*(x-1), be able to write f(x+3).

Q: What Math Preparation is Necessary for PHYS 401-402?

A:

  • Algebra: Solve one equation for one unknown.
  • Algebra: Solve two simultaneous equations with two unknowns.
  • Trigonometry: Be able to sketch the graph of cosine(x).
  • Trigonometry: Be able to find the length of the side of a right triangle given the length of the other two sides.
  • Trigonometry: Be able to find the length of the side of a right triangle given the length of one other side and one angle.

Q: What Math Preparation is Necessary for PHYS 406 - Astronomy?

A:

  • Solve one equation for one unknown
  • Understand how to use scientific notation (powers of ten) on your calculator
  • Understand how to estimate a numerical result to determine whether your calculator is giving you sense or nonsense

Come to the Physics Office at Demeritt 105 to add/drop/switch.

Q. Is a subject GRE required for application?

A. Yes. This requirement can be waived under exceptional circumstances.

Q. What is the minimum GRE score to be admitted?

A. The Physics Department does not have specific minimum scores for the GRE. The admissions committee prefers to look at the application package as a whole, including transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.

Q. Is there a minimum for the Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)?

A. The absolute minimum TOEFL score is 550 (paper based) or 213 (computer based) as set by the graduate school.

Q. What kind of support is available for graduate students in Physics?

A. Unless they indicate they have other support, students who are accepted in the Physics program are offered teaching assistantships to support them during the early part of their graduate education. Most Ph.D. students become research assistants while working on their thesis research. A few work as TA's during the summer. Current information on stipends is available by contacting the Administrative Manager.

Q. How does the cost of living near UNH compare to other parts of the United States?

A. There are various advantages and disadvantages to attending schools in different parts of the USA. The small town versus big city debate will never end, but one advantages of small towns is that the cost of living is usually lower than in near-by large cities. In other words, the prices of things like housing and food will be lower, so you can live comfortably on less money. The following web-site has a calculator for the salary you would need to have an equivalent living standard near different universities:

HOME FAIR

Under "moving to a new state", click on "cost of living comparison". The closest town they list to UNH is Dover, NH.

Q. What kind of work does a TA do?

A. The majority of TA's work on lower level undergraduate courses under the supervision of a faculty member. Many TA's serve as laboratory instructors for large lecture courses. Some do only grading work. On average, TA's spend about 20 hours a week on their teaching duties.

Q. Does the Physics Department admit students for the Spring Semester?

A. The Physics Department only rarely accepts students for Spring admission. It is better for students if they start in the Fall, given the order and availability of the courses they need to take.

Q. I am an international student and have heard it is difficult to get a visa. What happens if I am admitted to UNH, try to come, but cannot get a visa?

A. This is a difficult problem we have been facing over the last couple of years. Our practice has been to defer admission as long as there is a reasonable chance the student may get a visa.

Q. How do I apply for graduate school in Physics at UNH?

A. Potential students should contact the graduate admissions coordinator directly. While the application process goes through the graduate school, the physics graduate admissions coordinator can help guide you through the process and answer questions

UNH GRADUATE SCHOOL

Q. I want to study space science and see that there is a Space Science Center at UNH. What is its relationship with the Physics Department?

A. Students in space science at UNH are enrolled in the Physics Department. All of the space science teaching faculty and nearly all of the research faculty hold joint appointments in Physics and the Space Science Center.