Frequently Asked Questions for Current Undergrads


FAQ for Physics Majors

What is the difference between the VIII-Focused and VIII-Flexible major options?

Many students who choose the Course VIII-Focused option pursue graduate school, teaching and/or research beyond MIT. The VIII-Flexible Option is intended for students who desire to have Physics as a foundation, but may ultimately be interested in a career path outside of Physics (i.e., law, business, etc.). Degree requirements for all three degrees can be found on our Physics Degree Requirements webpage.

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How is my Physics Academic Advisor assigned?

The Undergraduate Coordinator, a Physics faculty member, matches Physics majors to their academic advisor. After the department is notified about a new major, the Undergraduate Coordinator will typically send an e-mail asking if there is any specific area of interest in Physics. A match will attempt to be made if an interest is submitted. The Department uses specific faculty members for each class. In most cases, Physics majors retain their advisors throughout their studies in Physics.

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Whom should I contact regarding a double major in Physics?

Students interested in a double major which includes Physics can contact the Academic Administrator.

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What is the Cambridge/MIT Exchange program?

The Cambridge/MIT Exchange offers an undergraduate exchange program in the Junior Year. Physics students from MIT are eligible to study at Cambridge University in England. General information about the program can be found at the CME website. Information regarding how study at Cambridge relates to Physics degree programs can be found on the Physics CME information webpage.

CMI also sponsors a summer research exchange program for interested students.

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How is the Communication Requirement fulfilled in Physics?

Course VIII-Focused Option students fulfill the departmental portion of the Communication Requirement in 8.13 Junior Lab and 8.06 Quantum Physics III.

We recommend that VIII-Flexible Option students satisfy the departmental portion of the Communications Requirement by taking 8.13 Junior Lab and 8.225J Einstein, Oppenheimer, Feynman: Physics in the 20th Century, 8.226 Forty-three Orders of Magnitude, or 8.287J Observational Techniques of Optical Astronomy. The department may accept substitutions for either or both of these subjects by CI-M subjects from other departments if they form a natural part of the student's individual program. The Associate Department Head must approve any substitutions.

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How can I get a UROP?

Please reference our UROP web page for information about obtaining a Physics UROP.

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When is my Senior Thesis Due?

Please refer to the Institute's Academic Calendar for the official Thesis Submission Date. Also, please be aware that Thesis Proposal Forms are due early in each semester. Specific information can be found on the Senior Thesis webpage.

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What do I need to do when I submit my Senior Thesis?

Please visit the Senior Thesis webpage for a description of senior thesis submission guidelines.

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FAQ for Physics Minors

Whom should I contact regarding a Physics Minor?

Ms. Catherine Modica is the Physics Minor coordinator. Please visit the Physics Minors webpage for specific requirements.

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Whom should I contact regarding an Astronomy Minor?

Prof. Richard Binzel is the Astronomy Minor coordinator. Please visit the Physics Minors webpage for specific requirements.

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