Advising

The advisor for all physics majors is Dr. Silvia Bompadre, the Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Physics and Astronomy Department. You are strongly encouraged to go and talk to her to make sure you are taking the required courses and are on track for graduating with a physics degree. If you cannot see her during office hours, just stop by her office (rm 320 Physics Bldg.) anytime or you can email her and ask for an appointment.

Graduation Plans
After completing 55 credit hours of work, a student must submit a graduation plan to the College of Arts and Sciences (107 Lowry Hall).  A printed graduation plan can be found in front of rm 324. This graduation plan must be completed together with your adviser, signed by both you and the adviser, and then taken to 107 Lowry Hall. When coming to see your adviser for completing the graduation plan it is helpful to have with you an unofficial transcript that you can easily print from MyZou.

Requesting letters of recommendation
There will come a time during your undergraduate career when you will be requesting letters of recommendation from your professors. These letters may be for summer research programs, graduate school, fellowships, scholarships, jobs, etc. Below are some guidelines that will help you in this process. When requesting a letter of recommendation, you should ask if the instructor:

  • feels that he/she knows you well enough to write a strong letter.
  • would like to meet with you to discuss your plans in more detail.
  • would prefer to fill out an online form or a paper form, if the option exists.
  • would like to see any of your work or other items that might be helpful (unofficial transcript, resume).

It should be emphasized that the most important thing to do if you anticipate needing a recommendation letter sometime in your undergraduate career is to get to know at least a couple of your teachers very well as well as allowing them to get to know you. Even if you did great in a class, your professor can only write so much if he/she didn’t get to know you personally.

After a professor has agreed to write a letter, you should give him/her the following items, nicely organized in a folder, or sent by email, for the items for which this is possible. If you then decide to apply to additional programs, just supplement the folder with the new materials. But try to give the instructor all of the programs at one time, because this keeps things more organized and reduces the chance of errors.

  1. A detailed list of all the programs you’re applying to. For each program, you should provide:
    • Due date (specify if postmarked date or receipt date)
    • Name and location of the program
    • Website for the program
    • Whom the letter should be addressed to
    • How to submit the letter. Specify which of the three ways applies
      • Address to which the instructor should mail it. Note any accompanying forms.
      • You pick up the letter in a signed and sealed envelope. Give the date you will pick it up. Note any accompanying forms.
      • url of the online recommendation form (if known at this time).
  2. Stamped and addressed envelopes for the letters that need to be mailed, along with any accompanying forms.
  3. A transcript (you should be able to print one out from MyZou).
  4. A list of courses taken from the instructor, the year and term, and the grade.
  5. A resume, if you have one (this is a good excuse to write one).
  6. A personal statement about why you want to do the program that you’re applying to, and what your future plans are, etc. You will probably have to write such a statement for the applications anyway. This statement is a good opportunity to remind your instructor of any particular strengths you have, if a significant amount of time has passed (and even if not) from your main interaction with him/her.
  7. Finally, ask the instructor if he/she would like to be reminded of the due dates by email.