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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequent Student Questions

Frequent Public Questions

If you did not find the answer to your question here, please contact the department at or 503-725-3812.

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December 5, 2012



Do I have to take General Physics lab and lecture in the same term?

For General Physics and General Physics with Calculus, the lab is a corequisite for the lecture, which means that yes, you do need to take them concurrently.

The ONLY (that means none other) exception will be made if you are retaking only the lecture or the lab. If this is the case, you will need to go to 134 SRTC to obtain a departmental stamp to override the corequisite requirement. You will need to show proof of a passing grade in the course that you do not need to take (lecture or lab). If the grade appears on your PSU transcript we can look it up for you to verify the passing grade. If the class was taken elsewhere and does not yet appear on your PSU transcript, you must have the transfer advisor sign your Special Registration Form before it can be stamped.

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The class I need to register for is full--what do I do?

Unfortunately this is a frequent problem, especially with general physics and the labs because space is limited by classroom and instructor availability. While we try to avoid having problems like this when planning the schedule, rising enrollment and other factors cause classes to fill more quickly than anticipated.

If your first choice section is full, try to register for another section. Registration is on a first-come first-served basis and it does not always work out to have your first choice. Remember to check Banweb frequently as it is very common for students to withdraw from a class before the beginning of term. If there are no other sections that will work, go to the physics office during the first week of classes and see if any spots have become available. You may also want to talk with your advisor to discuss other alternatives.

Please be patient. We try to get everyone registered as soon as possible, but it can take time to make the arrangements, especially in the first week of a term.

For upper-level courses, check with the professor to see if it is possible to open another seat in the class.

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Where do I go with registration problems?

The Physics Department Office is located in SRTC Room 134, or you can call 503-725-3812. They can provide by-arrangement and special registration forms, some assistance with registration problams and the department override stamp. You may also download registration and records forms; including those for Deadline Appeals, By Arrangement, Special Registration, and Credit by Exam here at the Admissions website.

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Which classes are being offered next term?

We try to give as much notice as possible for course projections to allow students time to plan their programs. Tentative schedules are posted on the Course Schedules page. Remember, these are tentative schedules and are subject to change at any time.

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Who is my advisor?

The advisor list can be found on the Advisors page. Please contact the advisor directly to set up an appointment.

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How do I contact my professor?

Faculty websites and contact information can be found on the Faculty page. If you are on campus, this information is also posted on the directory board outside of 134 SRTC.

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Who is my TA and how do I contact them?

Teaching Assistant assignments can be found on the TA Schedules page and contact information is on the Graduate Students page. This page also provides pictures of all graduate students (including TAs) in case you've forgotten the name.

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Where can I get a syllabus from a past or current course?

Some syllabi are located as .pdf attachments on the Course Descriptions and Syllabi page. We only maintain the most recent syllabi for each class. If you need one from a past course (up to 3 years), you may contact Alex Christy or by contacting the instructor.

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What is credit by exam and how can I use it?

Credit by Examination allows a student to pass a course only by taking the exams for the course. In addition to the university requirements listed in the University Bulletin on p. 48, the department has the following restrictions:

  • Credit by Examination can only be used for the General Physics Sequences (PH 201/202/203; 211/212/213; 221/222/223)
  • All arrangements must be made with the instructor prior to the beginning of the class.
  • The final exam must be taken with the class (therefore, this can only be done when the class is offered).
  • If the exam is comprehensive, the student has the grade option of pass/no pass or graded. If the exam only covers a portion of the coursework, the only option is pass/no pass.

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How do I apply to the graduate/undergraduate program?

Undergraduates apply through the Office of Admissions. Information about undergraduate programs in physics can be found on the Undergraduate Programs page.

Graduates must apply to both the university and to the department. Application materials and information about graduate programs in physics can be found on the Graduate Programs page.

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Which math course should I start in?

Please contact the Math Department or a physics advisor.

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Are tutors available in the department?

Yes! Please see our Tutoring page.

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Where is the PSU Physics Department?

The Physics Department is located at 1719 SW 10th Ave. in Portland, Oregon. The Department office is located in 134 SRTC Most faculty offices are also located in the Science Buildings.

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Who specializes in...?

Descriptions of faculty interests and research can be found on the Faculty page.

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