Information for incoming students
All incoming Physics and Astronomy graduate students are admitted as conditionally classified. A conditionally classified student must meet certain conditions (such as specific course equivalencies) as stated in the letter of acceptance to the Graduate Program. Any specific conditional course requirements must be taken on a letter grade basis and may not be used as part of the 30-unit Master's course requirements. Students are advanced to candidacy (and full classified status) upon filing the ATC form (Advancement to Candidacy)- usually at the beginning of your final year of study. Other than conditions that must be satisfied prior to filing their ATC, conditionally classified graduate students have the full privileges and opportunities of all graduate students.
Taking the new graduate student placement test is one of the required conditions for every incoming student. For the date and place of the placement exam, see deadlines. You should plan to arrive in San Francisco two or three days before the exam, and you should plan to be on campus for a full day on the day of the exam.
This test cannot be "passed" or "failed" -- the entire purpose of this test is to determine where in the program you need to start. We have students in the program with a variety of different backgrounds. Each of you is an individual, and each of you has different needs and different desired outcomes. We hope to serve each of you in the optimum way for you. This test will help us to do that.
After taking the test, you should make an appointment with the graduate advisor to discuss the results and plan your program. See deadlines for time and place. Students must appear on the approved students list to enroll in graduate courses.
Level I English proficiency may be demonstrated by by achieving a score of 4.5 or above on the analytical writing portion of the GRE or by taking and passing one of the following classes during your first semester:
- Astr 340 or Phys 340
- Phys 490/491
- Phys 710
- SCI 614
You should have received information about registration via internet ("MYSFSU"). You may register for classes before the test--subject to possible changes in your program after your advising meeting-- or you may choose to wait until after your meeting with the graduate advisor. If you are planning to take undergraduate courses in departments other than Physics, then you should register for those classes as soon as possible.
Students may not take graduate classes in Physics or Astronomy (with numbers 700 and above) after the first semester at SFSU unless they have taken the Phsyics Major Field Test and achieved a score of 50th percentile or above. Dr. Golterman will give you information about when you can take this test, and the courses you may need to take to remedy any deficiencies in your undergraduate preparation.
Students who will be teaching in the coming semester should plan to talk with one of us (see above) about your teaching responsibilities. There will be a TA training session before the semester starts (again, see deadlines for time and place).
Please do not hesitate to contact any one of us if you have questions or concerns.