First year students have a program advisor selected by the department to advise on course selection and rotations until settling into a research group. Students typically join a research group during or near the end of the first year. This Dissertation Research advisor will direct the research program for the remainder of the student’s graduate career.
Professor Patrick Hayden is the Chair of the Physics Graduate Study Committee for the 2022-23 academic year. He is available (by appointment) to consult with students about any graduate student related matter, including degree progress.
Physics graduate students have a wide range of research choices available to them, including working on a Physics-related program in a different department, with a research advisor who is not a member of the Physics Department. Students working with advisors outside Physics/Applied Physics/SLAC* must have a co-advisor who is a faculty member in the Physics Department. (*Students with SLAC Photon Science faculty advisors with a Ph.D. in an area other than Physics require a co-advisor.)
Students may work with SLAC staff scientists but because they are not faculty members of the Stanford Academic Council, staff scientists can only serve as a student’s co-advisor. Students may work with and be funded by the SLAC staff scientist in the same manner as they would with a faculty advisor but, University policy requires that an Academic Council member be listed as primary advisor. To have a SLAC staff scientist serve as their co-advisor, students must complete a Petition for Non-Academic Council Doctoral Committee Members form and submit it to the Department SSO.
A co-advisor serves two main roles: (i) acting as an official liaison for the student to the Physics Department and (ii) insuring that the student's dissertation has a physics component that is sufficient to allowing granting of a Ph.D. in Physics. The co-advisor also serves as the student's contact to the department for any academic issues that would be more appropriately dealt with by Physics, rather than a faculty member in another department.
Students should select the co-advisor as soon as he/she is no longer on rotation and has decided on a research program with an advisor in a department other than Physics. In any case, this should be no later than the end of the second year of graduate study. Students should complete the Advisor/Co-Advisor form and submit it to the Physics Student Services Officer.
During the third year year the student submits a dissertation proposal on his/her research, including a description of the physics components, to the Student Services Officer. The proposal should have been reviewed, approved and signed by the student's research advisor, co-advisor and Reading Committee Members.
From then on, the student is required to meet with his/her co-advisor on a yearly basis, although more frequent meetings are encouraged. During that annual meeting, the student submits a one-page progress report on research for co-advisor approval and signature. The form is given to the Student Services Officer for placement in the student's file.
If, during the annual meeting, the co-advisor determines that the research no longer contains a significant physics component, the student will be warned that a Ph.D. in Physics may not be merited and he/she may need to transfer to the relevant department.
Physics First Year (Program) Advisor
Stanford Physics program advisors are responsible for welcoming incoming students to the Physics Department, meeting with the students and helping them to navigate the graduate program. The program advisor is expected to be aware of and to support the students’ progress through the rotation system.
Rotation and Dissertation Research Advisor
The advisor-student relationship will be, in most cases, the student’s central academic relationship during their time at Stanford. It represents a serious commitment for both parties and should not be entered into without careful consideration.
The students admitted to the Stanford Physics graduate program are among the best-prepared and most motivated scientists in training throughout the world. These students will best explore their creative potential and develop their intellectual and analytical skills through frequent collegial interactions with faculty.
Dissertation advisors are responsible for the intellectual and professional mentoring of graduate students. Sustained, meaningful communication between the advisor and student is key for achieving shared goals, including the student’s mastery of the subject material and ultimate career success and satisfaction, inside or outside of academia.
The advisor is expected to be aware of and support the student’s progress towards Physics PhD milestones, including the Oral Qualifying Exam (2nd year), the Thesis Proposal (3rd year), Oral Presentation to Reading Committee (4th year) and final thesis defense and submission.
Students working with dissertation advisors outside Physics/Applied Physics/SLAC* must have a co-advisor who is a faculty member in the Physics Department. (*Students with SLAC Photon Science faculty advisors with a Ph.D. in an area other than Physics require a co-advisor.)
Yearly meetings with the co-advisor are required, to ensure that the student's dissertation has a physics component that is sufficient to allowing granting of a Ph.D. in Physics. More frequent meetings are encouraged