Student-Faculty Project Proposal: PHYS 351/353 – Senior Project

(version June 1, 2016)

This form should be used to formalize arrangements for a senior project. The advisor(s) and student should read this document together. The student and advisor should prepare a document containing it and the (or an) adviser should then send it by electronic mail to, with a copy to the student.  Alternatively the student may send this to that with a copy to the adviser(s), after which at least one adviser should reply all with words like “I agree to advise this project”. What is sent should include the agreement that follows the line below together with the information requested from the student and advisor. It is expected that the abstract will be composed collaboratively by the student and adviser. The objectives may be composed primarily by the adviser. The expectations for abstract and objectives will be described to the students in Phys 351/352. The abstract should be similar to that required for grant proposals to federal agencies, or to prior Senior Project abstracts. The objectives should be similar to a “bullet list” of objectives or specific aims in a grant proposal to a federal agency. The project abstract and objectives will be approved or discussed with the student and adviser.

The adviser, at the end of the project, will be expected to use (or somewhat change) the rubric below this in the menu to assign most of the grade for the research part of the senior project.  

The syllabus and other instructions, including due-dates are here.  If this is last year’s dates, let the instructor know.  

By submitting this contact, names, title, abstract and objectives the adviser affirms that he/she agrees to supervise the student for the project described. She/he also affirms that she/he and the student have discussed the conditions / contract below and that each affirm that they will conform to it. If there is more than one advisor, then it is preferred that all advisors sign the contract. In any case, the submitting advisor affirms that all advisors and the student have discussed and agreed to the conditions and contract.

Replace this line with the Title, Student, Advisor(s) and Abstract.

Replace this line with the objectives.

Remember, by submitting this by electronic mail to , you affirm that you have discussed and agree to the below.




The Physics Senior Project is a 3 credit course each semester. The student should spend approximately 9 hours a week on it. Of this the seminar takes approximately 2. The student agrees to spend (on average) at least 7 hours a week for two terms working on the project, exclusive of time spent in the seminar. The adviser or advisers and student have discussed when they will meet consistent with the student achieving these objectives, and affirm that they will adjust this schedule as appropriate.

Separability From Other Work

The work which will be done will not be work for which the student is paid, nor will it be part of a requirement for another course. The work may be related to work for which the student is paid, or to work for other courses, or a continuation of work for which a student has previously been paid or obtained course credit but it is not the same, and there is a way to separate it from such other work.


The project will contain significant technical content, appropriate to a physics senior project.

Notification of Changes

The student and adviser or advisers will promptly send an e-mail  if there is a substantial change in the objectives of the project, if fulfilling the broad objectives of the project becomes impossible, if there is a change of adviser or other substantial change.  Important: If the relationship between the student and adviser ceases to work or if either the student or adviser fail to work / adequately supervise work that amounts to the 9 hours a week expected for a senior project, for several weeks, each of them are expected to promptly notify the instructor of Physics 352, e.g. send an e-mail.

Quarterly Reports, Notification of Difficulties

The student and adviser agree to   send an e-mail if there is a substantial likelihood that the project as currently constituted has a significant likelihood of not having a successful completion e.g. if meetings are not occurring or if work is not progressing at an acceptable rate. Moreover, the student will meet with an instructor for Physics 352 prior to the time for mid-term grades the first term, and the student and (an) adviser will attend a oral progress report, organized by the student, at the end of the first term and prior to midterm grades the second term.


The abstract is (must be) appropriate for posting on the (publicly available) Physics Senior Projects abstracts web-page. and does not contain any proprietary information. If the nature of the research changes substantially during the year, a final abstract may be submitted together with a final paper. 

Authorship of and Mentoring for Written and Oral Assignments

While it is expected that abstract is written jointly by the student and adviser, with the objectives written primarily by the adviser, the student will be the primary author, with the advice and editing of the adviser, of the proposal, poster and final report.  However, the adviser, as well as persons associated with the adviser, are encouraged to mentor the student in this endeavor, including offering advice on drafts, etc. Such mentoring, which is how many people seem to have learn most effectively to write is strongly encouraged at the student will get a bonus of the adviser  sends an e-mail about it.  However, this should not take primary responsibility for the paper from the student.  A plagiarism detector will be used on the written assignments.  Commonality with prior work by the adviser and the adviser’s group is not forbidden, but will be taken into account when grading the papers.  Explanations of such commonality are encouraged.  Oral presentations are expected to be pitched to typical CWRU seniors in physics.  Written ones may assume professional understanding of facts well known in the field.

Open Publication: Poster, Paper, (P)reprints

Two requirements of this course are a poster and a paper. After the student completes the course, these will be published to the open to the world Physics Senior Projects Senior Projects web-page unless the adviser or student  sends an e-mail or requests together with the submission of each document that publication is not desired / or that some information needs to be published later or redacted. The student and adviser hereby acknowledge this warning and assume all liability for any harm that may result from publication of the posters and papers not submitted with requests that they not be published.  The student and particularly the adviser are strongly urged to make (p)reprints or links thereto of any papers that will be published, for which the student is an author, and to which her/his undergraduate research contributed significantly.  We would like to include (as controlled by the journal) preprints, reprints or links to the publisher’s versions of the papers.  We will happily post these in lieu of the final paper.