New Student Information

Welcome to all of our new graduate students! If you have received your letter of acceptance from the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs, then you are probably wondering about many different aspects of your next few years at Queen's. The following information (which will also be given to you when you arrive) is provided here to answer in advance some of the questions you might have about getting settled in during your first few weeks here. You will find other useful information (regarding stipends, TAing, etc) under Applicants and its sub pages from the main navigation. Many helpful resources are also available on the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (SGSPA) homepage.

Suggested Arrival Dates

Most new graduate students arrive in late August. At the latest you should ensure that you arrive in time for Graduate Student Registration, which is in September. When you arrive in the department, see Kyra Funk in the main office.

Tuition Fee Payments

After you have been accepted by SGSPA, you will receive a letter from the Registrar's Office informing you that you must make fee payment arrangements. Please check out the Student Funding Guide (PDF) for graduate students for detailed information.

Department Grad Student Orientation Session

A welcoming/orientation session will be held in the department within the first week or two of September, in Rm 201. At this time, various members of the Department as well as other individuals from across the University will provide you with information about the department and the programs, and be available to answer any questions or concerns you might have. Pop and pizza will be available during the lunch hour!

Office Space

Office and desk arrangements will have been made in preparation for your arrival.  You can either see your supervisor or the Department Manager in the main office (Julie McDonald) about this when you arrive.


Go to the Queen’s Net ID Profile Manager to activate a new NetID and email account. Graduate students can also go here to reset a password once an account has been set up.


The Department mailboxes are located at the back of the main office.  The graduate student mail is alphabetically separated into five separate mail slots.  All outgoing mail must either already have a stamp attached if it is personal mail or if it is research-related mail, an account code should be penciled in at the top (Kyra Funk in the main office can help you with this).  The University also has an inter-departmental mail system; see Kyra in the main office for more details on this.


As a member of the Physics Department, you will require keys to your office, your supervisor's research area/laboratories, and to the building for after-hours access.  Some doors are controlled by either an access card and all outside doors are accessed by a key fob. Under no circumstances are you to lend your keys and/or access card/fob to anyone else at any time.  This is for reasons of safety and security.  Please come by the main office to make arrangements for getting keys and an access card/fob. Graduate students are required to pay a $50 cash deposit before they will be given any keys. This deposit will be returned to the student via a cheque requisition once you have completed your program and returned all keys to the main office.


The Department operates a photocopier inside the main office.  This photocopier can only be used with an access code.  Kyra Funk in the main office assigns the access codes. In general, photocopying for courses is paid for by a teaching account while research-related photocopying will be paid for by your supervisor's research grant.  Arrangements for both need to be made before access codes can be assigned.

TA Assignments

Kyra Funk in the main office will have a list of the TA assignments for the fall and winter term.  Please drop in to the main office to make arrangements for your TA contract, ask any questions, and then contact the course instructor for additional details about the course(s) you will be TAing.

Staff-Student Shop (Rm 104)

Graduate students may be given access to a Staff-Student shop where they can build instrumentation for their research projects. The Staff-Student Shop is supervised by Pat Given. All students who will be using the shop must first take a course. Upon completion of this course, you will fill-out an authorization form that must then be signed by Chuck and returned to the main office so that access can be added to your access card.  Announcements regarding shop courses will be made during the first few weeks of September via email.  Alternatively, you may contact Chuck to enquire about when the next course will be scheduled.

Laboratory and Department Safety

All new members of the Department are urged to locate the nearest emergency exits, fire alarm stations, and plumbed eyewash stations.  Furthermore, no one is allowed to work alone in a lab after hours (between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m. on weekdays and at any time during weekends) without ensuring that someone is within visual or audible range and is aware of your location.  After-hours access to the Staff-Student Shop is not allowed at any time.  The Department has a very detailed Physics Safety web site, accessible through the main Physics web site, with which you must familiarize yourself before working in any lab or shop.  If you will be working with hazardous materials, you must also take a WHMIS training course offered through the University's Environmental Health and Safety Department.  Upcoming courses are always announced via email.  Any unsafe equipment or situations must be reported to the Physics Safety Officer, Julie McDonald, in the main office.  

Staff, Graduate and Faculty Lounge

Graduate students are encouraged to use the lounge in room 207 to relax, chat, and share ideas.  A small kitchen is also available and includes a coffeemaker (you will need to join the coffee club if you wish to use this coffeemaker), as well as a refrigerator, toaster oven, and microwave.  It is your responsibility to keep any surface or appliance that you use in this kitchen clean.