Student Community

Department contacts

You can find the department administrative contacts here. You will likely have the most direct communication with the Graduate Coordinator, the Student Affairs Manager, and possibly others. Here is the full department directory with contacts for faculty, graduate students, postdocs, and staff.

Grad student reps

Physics grad students can express their needs, concerns, etc. most directly through two governing bodies: the Physics Graduate Council (PGC), and the Graduate Student Association (GSA)


The Physics Graduate Council is a governing body established by the physics graduate student population in Spring 2012. The PGC exists in order to coordinate between the department administration and the grad students, and to advocate for the needs of the grad students with the administration. The PGC also takes on a few additional responsibilities, including throwing social events for the entire department. These typically occur a few times per quarter, and include some type of free food (donuts, pizza, burritos, etc.) and free drinks (beer, soda, etc.).

  • More information about the PGC can be found on the PGC website.
  • Meetings are held every ~month in the grad lounge (Mayer 5205)
  • Meetings are open to anyone who wants to attend
  • Two PGC reps are elected from each entering class, at the same time as the GSA rep elections (see below).


The Graduate Student Association is the official body representing the entire graduate student population campus-wide. Every department is allotted a number of representatives to the GSA Council proportional to the number of graduate students in the department. The GSA is responsible for representing graduate students to campus administration, the faculty senate, and external organizations, as well as hosting several events for graduate students on campus.

  • More information about the GSA can be found on the GSA Website.
  • The Physics department elects 4 GSA representatives every year (3 reps and 1 alternate) near the end of Spring quarter. Nominations will open two weeks prior to the election (you may nominate yourself or someone else). There is a department-wide election amongst all candidates who accepted their nomination, with the top four candidates serving as GSA reps for the following academic year.
  • The GSA council convenes every other Monday while the quarter is in session. All regularly scheduled GSA meetings are open to the public. You can find schedule of the current year's GSA Council meetings on the GSA website.
  • Travel grants are offered by the GSA every quarter for graduate students to present their work at conferences. You can find more information about how to apply for travel grants here.
  • The GSA hosts a multitude of social events with free food and drinks for graduate students, including Roaming Socials, a quarterly "Free-For-All" party, and academic & professional mixers. To see the upcoming GSA socials, check out the GSA calendar or look up UCSD GSA on Facebook.

Tea Time

Tea time is a social gathering held every few weeks during the school year (the exact schedule depends on who is organizing it). It will typically be held on the 4th floor of Mayer Hall right near the breezeway that connects Mayer to Bonner. Grad students, postdocs, and faculty are all welcome at tea time. Tea, coffee, and cookies are provided by the department.

Tea time is a great opportunity to meet older grads, catch up with friends in the department you may not have seen in a while, chat with faculty, etc.


The physics department colloquium is generally held every week during the school year. Usually it falls on Thursday afternoons, in the range 3:30-5:00 PM. In that time period, there will be both an hour-long lecture by an invited speaker, and some form of refreshment (usually tea, coffee, and cookies). The normal location for the colloquium is Garren Auditorium, in the Biomedical Sciences Building on the medical school campus. Occasionally the place/time/food will be modified due to special circumstances. Younger grads who need to fill up their 12 credit requirement can sign up for a course that grants 1 credit for attending the weekly colloquium.

Seminars, journal clubs, etc.

  • Astrophysics seminar (Wednesdays, 4-5PM, SERF 383)
  • Biophysics seminar
  • Condensed matter physics seminar (Wednesdays, 4-5PM, Mayer Hall 4322)
  • High-energy physics (HEP) seminar (Usually on Tuesdays, 1-2PM, Mayer Hall 5263)
    • Sign up for the mailing list here.
  • Plasma physics seminar

Here is a calendar to some of the above seminars.


  • Outreach
    • PGC: Typically hosts social events (i.e. donuts, burritos, beer,) for the whole department. Also sometimes hosts professional development events with invited speakers.
    • WIP: Hosts professional development events, runs a mentorship program
    • YPP: Runs outreach programs to high school students
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License