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Department of Physics and Astronomy

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Undergraduate Research

The Department of Physics & Astronomy encourages Physics majors to engage in research under the supervision of department faculty or faculty elsewhere in the university who are engaged in physics-related research.  Normally, students wait to start research until they have completed at least one year of physics and mathematics coursework; some computer science (programming) skills are also often invaluable in getting started in research.

Students may get started in research by contacting a professor on their own or by asking for guidance from the Director of Undergraduate Studies or any other member of the faculty.  Normally, the first time a student does research, he or she enrolls in Directed Study (PHYS 3840 or ASTR 3840).  Once a student is more experienced, he or she typically enrolls in Independent Study (PHYS 3860 or ASTR 3860).  Students admitted to the Honors program enroll in PHYS 4998 or ASTR 4998.

To enroll in research for credit, fill out the form found at

   http://as.vanderbilt.edu/oas/academicpolicies/independentstudy/

After obtaining the necessary approval signatures, students should turn in the form to Ms. Peggy McGowan in the department administrative office (SC 6301).  Students cannot enroll directly, via YES, in any research course.