Finding a Research Group
Exploring possible research areas and groups is an extremely important aspect of the first months of graduate school in this department. Students are encouraged to keep an open mind and enter the department with multiple professors in mind that they might like to work for. There are outstanding research opportunities within (or even outside) the department in areas that you have likely never considered.
Before a student officially joins a research group, the head graduate adviser serves as a resource in course and adviser selection as well as any other academic issue. A list of available projects that professors are offering will be distributed at the beginning of the fall. Then throughout the months of September and October students will have the opportunity to hear each professor present about their available projects and their lab's research. Generally in the beginning of November each new student will turn in their top five adviser choices, along with their research project of interest, to the head graduate adviser.
Students are generally required to discuss projects of interest with professors if they are to put them down as one of their top three choices. Students are also strongly encouraged to meet and talk with current graduate students in the labs they are interested in (see Lab Reps for a contact). Attending the lab's weekly group meetings is also a great way to become more familiar with the group's research and its members. A group's website will offer additional information, including publications which will assist in better understanding the available projects. It is best to be pro-active in learning about possible research projects/labs - new students want to learn as much as they can to make an informed decision about the adviser, group, and environment they will be working with over the next ~5 years.
The head graduate adviser assigns each new student to a faculty research adviser, basing the decisions upon student and faculty preferences and availability of projects. Every effort is made to satisfy the maximum possible number of people to the greatest possible extent in this process.