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Newly Admitted Students

Ohio State Physics New Student FAQ  


How do I accept my offer to the OSU Physics Program?

What do I need to do once I've accepted my offer?

When and how do I register for classes?

What about health insurance?

When should I get to campus?

What do I need to do when I get to Columbus (at least two weeks before the term starts)?

Will I have an office as a 1st year graduate student?

Do I have a Department mailbox?

What about an advisor?

As an International Student, what do I need to know?


DATES TO REMEMBER for Autumn 2023

Hiring Orientation/Paperwork

 - International Students on Fellowship or GTA appointments, please check with the Office of International English Language Programs website about the Oral Proficiency Assessment (OPA) test and how to schedule it.  (copy and past this URL: https://ielp.ehe.osu.edu/sep/  )  It is important to do this as early as possible in June or July and the online and in person as the testing time slots fill up fast. The Physics Department will provide you with a PO number for the payment. 

July 31st - Deadline to Register online for ALL of your classes for Autumn.   Fellows will need to register for 12 credit hours and TAs for a minimum of 8 credit hours. Please see #6 below for details on the required courses. Fellows, please note that you will need to add 1 credit hour of Physics 7998 Research with Prof. Pelz to reach 12 hours.  Please note that there will be time to adjust your schedules after your first advising meeting (via Zoom) in late July/early August. 

August 12th (tentative)- Teaching Associates (TAs) -your class schedules are due by July 31st. you will be emailed a schedule link to use to import your own class schedule as well as you can enter a preference for early or late teaching assignments. With your own class schedules, first year students often end up with an early morning or late afternoon-evening set of teaching assignments.

August 2-13  -ALL international students see the Office of International Affairs (OIA) found at OIA.OSU.EDU.  For information about mandatory check in and to register for the mandatory 1 day Orientation scheduled on the first 3 Thursdays in August:   https://oia.osu.edu/units/international-students/new-student-check-in-and-orientation/.   Please schedule your individual check in meetings  for before Tuesday August 15th. If you arrive late, you are also available on Wednesday morning 8 AM to 12 PM.  You can also possible be available on Thursday and Friday if you are not English certified and will be assigned as a grader for your GTA duties. 

Tuesday August 15thMANDATORY Report to campus date.  -you need to be in Columbus by this date and you will have daily assignments you will need to be on campus to complete. 

Tuesday August 15th   1:00 pm- 5:30  MANDATORY Orientation Day 1 in PRB room 4138:   Introduction to OSU, the department, and our graduate studies program. 

Wednesday August 16th 1:00 pm- 4:30pm MANDATORY Orientation Day 2 in PRB room 1080-Smith Seminar Room (SSR):   Information and resources. 

Thursday August 17th  9:00am - 5pm Physics Department MANDATORY Teaching Associate (GTA) day 1 training -by peer grad students experienced with being a GTA

       -Smith Lab teaching keys to be issued during Thursdays GTA Orientation

      -Time & Location TBD:  Office Assignments and Office Key pick up from Kris Dunlap, Physics Grad Prog. Coord.

     - Last Mandatory International Student Orientation at Office of International Affairs (OIA) 

Friday, August 18th  9:00am - 5pm Physics Department MANDATORY Teaching Associate (GTA) day 2 training by Prof. Tom Gramila and the Course Coordination staff

Sunday, August 21st  4-7pm Student Involvement Fair, 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm Ohio Union on South Oval   -see web site for more details https://activities.osu.edu/involvement/student_organizations/student_involvement_fairs/

Monday August 21st - Physics Department MANDATORY Teaching Associate (GTA) 2 hour training and materials pick up for specific teaching responsibilities with your Course Coordinator. Info will be emailed to GTAs from Dr. Nandyala 

Tuesday, August 22nd – Classes Begin!

Other useful Information:

  • Fees explanations are available online at: http://registrar.osu.edu/policies/feesexplanation.asp

    •  Everyone will be charged the following fees per term: COTA Bus fee, Student Activity fee, Recreational fee, Student Legal fee, and 15% of your student health insurance costs (the department covers the remaining 85%). Fee rates can be found on the fees explanations page linked above. Your fees will automatically be deducted from your paychecks through out the semester.

      •  Please note that Student Health Insurance (or proof that you already have your own insurance) is required for full-time students.  

    • Familiarize yourself with the regulations about registering on time--this will save you money.  BE VIGILANT EVERY TERM REGARDING REGISTRATION. Not registering on time generates late fees, and late fees are extremely costly at Ohio State—up to $500.

  • You can change your schedule online through the first week of classes.  For the 2nd week, your schedule can be changed by submitting a Course Enrollment form to add a new course.  After the 2nd week, you will need to petition to add a new course and the petition is available through the Graduate School’s forms website, gradforms.osu.edu. 

  • Parking passes can be purchased after you receive your Buck ID. Please visit the Traffic and Parking website for more information.

  • After your are issued your Buck ID, we will need for you to fill out a form to request your office key and to activate your ID to allow you into the building after hours.  Kris Dunlap and Crystal Moloney will facilitate issuing your office key and activating your building access.  Please see Mark Reed, Room 1146 if you have any difficulty using your ID for building entry after the first few weeks of classes.

  • Whenever you move, please change your address online at Buckeyelink

  • If you need financial assistance, you can apply for a short term loan.  Please vist the Student Financial Aid website for more information. 

  • An interactive map of Ohio State’s campus can be found at http://www.osu.edu/map/

  • For more information about your first year as well as other useful information to physics graduate students, please check the Physics Graduate Student Council’s Web site.

1. To accept our offer of admission, please email the department Grad Studies office at: gradstudies@physics.osu.edu to inform us of your decision. Students with a University Fellowship should also email the Graduate School at: grad-schoolfellowships@osu.edu

2. Accept your admission on-line: Visit your BuckeyeLink application center (go to www.osu.edu and hover over the 'Future Students' tab. Slide your cursor over to the Graduate section of that tab and click the “Application Status” link. This should get you to the  correct page.)  There should be a bar at the top of the page that says: “Admissions”.  Under that bar you will see text that says “Accept/Decline” in blue letters. Please click on that link and click the appropriate Yes option. Please note that you may not see the  appropriate Accept/Decline options until you have reported your decision to the department. 

3. Please check the Graduate School’s Web site for more information (there is a lot!). For information about the appropriate steps to take after you have accepted our offer: go to the Grad School's website and hover over the 'Incoming and New Students' tab. Slide your cursor down to the 'Overview for New Students' tab and click on the 'New Student To do List',  which can also be found here:  /sites/physics.osu.edu/files/Grad_School_To_Do_List_fornewstudents.pdf

4. Activate your OSU internet account and email account at the OSU Account management Web site.  When setting up your email be sure to read the “Future Students” tab to familiarize yourself with the safe computing guidelines.                       This email will be your primary OSU email account and will be used for ALL OSU and Department communications. Email forwarding will not be permitted.

5.  To register for classes, you will access the Student Information System via the link found at http://buckeyelink.osu.edu/ under “My Student Center”. If you need help logging in to your account, call the IT Help line at 688-HELP (4357).                                  - Register for classes using the link provided above by the fee payment deadline 1 week before classes begin to avoid late fees. It is very important that you are registered FULL TIME by this date.     -Before orientation, incoming students will have a chance to meet with their academic advisor to discuss classes and add or drop courses as needed.  

(Please note that international students can not register for any courses until they have met with the Office of International Affairs after arriving on campus. This may mean that you will have to register a little bit later in August.)        *After registering for classes, you can change your address online.

6.  Recommended Classes for Fall Term:

        Physics 6780 – Special Topics – Instructor is Prof. Jon Pelz  

        Physics 7891A - Instructor is Dr. Beatriz Burrola Gabilondo

Physics 7601 Classical & Statistical Physics I

Physics 7501 Quantum Mechanics I

Physics 7701 Analytical & Numeric Methods of Physics (E&M I)

Fellows will need to add 1 credit hour of 7998 Research with Prof. Pelz to reach the minimum full time credit hour requirement of 12

For more information about a specific course, please refer to the Physics Semester Courses webpage.

7. FINAL TRANSCRIPTS need to be sent to OSU admissions at:

The Ohio State University       Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions    

PO PO Box 182004  Columbus Ohio, 43218-2004

Please also forward a copy to the Physics Graduate Studies office as well.

8.  For preliminary information on Ohio State’s graduate student health insurance plans, please check the Office of Student Life Web site and click on the section for “Graduate Students.”  The department covers 85% of the cost and you will cover 15% per Term. this works out to be around $200 per term and is deducted from your monthly paycheck. 

The term starts on Tuesday August 24th, 2021 Please plan to arrive on campus no later than 2 Sundays before the start of the term, as you need to report for duty by MONDAY August 16th, a little over 1 week before the start of the term.  It is highly recommended to arrive before then to hunt for an apartment as most leases begin on the 15th of August. 

1. In mid July there will be a Doodle Poll available. In this Doodle Poll you will be able to notify us of when you plan on arriving in Columbus, which hiring orientation you will be attending, and sign-up for an appointment to speak with Professor Jon Pelz to discuss your class selections for Autumn.

2. Your appointment time to meet with our Human Resource Professional will be sent via an email in July. .  The system to update your personal, tax withholding and direct deposit information will not be accessible until the first day of your appointment, Tuesday, August 16th as noted on your Graduate Appointment document and in your Letter of Admission offer.

You will need to bring 2 forms of ID, one with a picture and your social security number, to fill out your I-9 form. A copy of the I-9 form and instructions will be forwarded via email at a later date or you can download it from OSU’s HR Web sitePlease note that there will be set times for these HR appointments and we can not accommodate walk ins to complete the hiring paperwork.

3. OSU ID Card - as soon as you enroll in classes and/or get on the payroll, you can obtain your OSU ID, also called Buck ID.  The Buck ID card is necessary for using the library and for riding the city bus for free.  The Buck ID center is located in the Ohio Union on the 3rd floor. For more information, please visit https://buckid.osu.edu/Default.asp

4. Yes, office and desk assignment will be determined by the Graduate Studies Program Coordinator and Prof. Pelz.  You will be notified of your location sometime during the week of your reporting to campus but no later than by the last Friday before the start of the term. All 1st and some 2nd year students are usually assigned to offices located on the 3rd floor.

5. Yes,  your mailbox will be located in the main office in PRB room 1040.  We recommend that you please check your mailbox regularly. You will only be able to access your mailbox during regular University business hours Monday - Friday 8 AM to 5 PM.

6. Your initial advisor will be Prof. Jon Pelz, Vice Chair of Graduate Studies and Research.  More information about opportunities to connect with research advisors will be provided during your first semester.

International Students

As our own website information for international students is under construction, please visit the Department of Materials Science Engineering for information you will find helpful. Their pages for International Students can be found at: http://mse.osu.edu/graduate/newly-admitted/international-students.
Please visit the Office of International Affairs (OIA) Web site to obtain their specific instructions for pre-arrival, check-in/orientation, etc.  We recommend that you try to arrive at least 3 weeks before the semester starts in order to allow enough time to complete your required english language testing as well as to discuss your course registration for Autumn term.  After you arrive, you will first need to visit the Office of International Affairs (OIA) on main campus.  Here you will receive orientation materials and schedule any tests that are needed.  They will also give you information about obtaining a social security number.

After you get your permanent social security number, please meet with our Physics Human Resources Professional to update your records.  You should also go to the Graduate School and tell the receptionist what your new social security number is. 

Regarding taxes, you may qualify for a tax exemption status. The Human Resources person will cover this when you meet with to finish your hiring paperwork. 

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Last updated 7.14.2023