The first few weeks as a graduate student are often the most hectic. Your ID and keys must be obtained, as well as your teaching or research assignments. Classes start. This section summarizes some of the basic procedures you will need to learn during your time here.

A. Paychecks

Assistantships for the academic year are divided into ten equal payments, with the first check on the last business day of August. You must sign up for direct deposit of your pay to a bank; see Marge Wolfe for forms. New students must be on campus to do paperwork no later than August 10th in order to receive an August paycheck. A teaching assistantship or research assistantship may be available for the two summer months.

B. Communications


E-mail accounts can be obtained by logging into My Red.

Please give the main office your e-mail address for inclusion in the departmental directory, and for the departmental distribution list. Remember to update the main office if there is a change in your contact information.

The department uses email as the primary mode of communication, so you should check your e¬-mail at least once a day for important messages.

Free anti-virus software is available from Information Services at It is a good idea to install and keep this software updated. Please be prudent when opening files and/or forwarding messages from unknown sources.

Regular Mail

All graduate students have mailboxes located in 214 Jorgensen Hall. The office staff receives mail on even-numbered calendar days only and distributes it to the mailboxes. Large packages may be placed on the table in the mailroom and a note left in your mailbox. Please check your mailbox at least once per day for interdepartmental mail.

Outgoing mail for both ‘Campus’ and ‘U.S. Postal Service’ should be placed in the trays in 214 Jorgensen Hall. Note that no personal mail can be sent from or delivered to the departmental office. All outgoing mail must have the department’s address and the sender’s name on the outside of the envelope.

Campus mail addresses must include the recipient’s name, the room and building, and the on-campus zip code. Departments on City Campus (like us) are denoted by CC (xxxx), where the xxxx are the last four digits of the extended zip code. The Department of Physics and Astronomy’s campus zip code is 0299. Departments on East Campus are denoted by EC (xxxx).


All campus offices start with the 472 prefix. To phone a campus office from campus, dial 2-xxxx where the ‘xxxx’ is the last four digits of the telephone number. The departmental phone directory is posted on its website.

To get an off-campus number, you must dial ‘9’ first.

C. Photocopying

Research or Teaching Related Photocopying

Research- and teaching-related photocopying can be done in the department copy room (214 Jorgensen Hall). Codes have been assigned to all research grants and teaching-related areas. Ask your advisor or the professor for whom you are teaching, which code(s) you should use. The office staff can also assist you.

If the photocopier is out of order and you have an urgent photocopy need, see one of the secretaries in 208 Jorgensen Hall for instructions.

Appendix C is a copy of a recent memo summarizing photocopy policies.

Personal Photocopying

Personal photocopying for members of the department can also be done in 214 Jorgensen Hall. The copy code for personal copies is available from the office staff. Mark the number of copies you make next to your name on the clipboard near the copy machine. Copies are tallied once every month or so, and you will receive a bill in your mailbox that can be paid in room 208F Jorgensen Hall. The current price is 4.5 cents per copy.

D. Use of Computers

Computers are available in some graduate student offices. The Association of Students of the University of Nebraska (ASUN) will provide you with a used computer for your office, as available. See Marge Wolfe for details on how to get one of these computers.

E. Obtaining Supplies

Supplies  (paper, pens, chalk, etc.) for research- and teaching-related uses are located in room 208.2 Jorgensen Hall. Some materials are in an open cabinet; others must be requested from the business office staff. If you need something that is not stocked, it can be ordered through the Office Depot catalog (which is also available in the Physics Business Office, 208.2 Jorgensen Hall). The supplies in 208.2 Jorgensen Hall are for research and teaching related needs only.

Equipment or supplies not in stock must be requisitioned through the web forms available on the departmental website ( Click on “Department Home” tab, then “Downloadable Forms.” The Excel or PDF form must be e-mailed to

When you receive your order, verify that the shipment is correct, and then sign the invoice or packing slip and return it to room 208.2 Jorgensen Hall.

F. Access to Facilities


All students must have an NCard which is available at the ID office in the University Bookstore (Union). The ID office is on the first floor of the Student Union. You must already be registered for classes and bring a photo ID with you to the ID office when obtaining your card. The NCard will cost you $20. This student ID also serves as your library card and will give you access to Jorgensen Hall before or after business hours (8 am to 5 pm) on weekdays and over the weekend.

International students must first check in at the International Student and Scholar Office (ISSO) at 201 Seaton Hall upon arrival on campus.  After you have been on campus for 10 days, go to the Federal Building to apply for a social security card.  A receipt showing the application for your social security number must be presented to Marge in the Physics and Astronomy Office for submission to Payroll.

Keys/NCard Access

You will need to get a key for your office on arrival.  Keys are obtained from Patty in 208G Jorgensen Hall

Keys are the property of the University.  Security concerns dictate that keys may not be duplicated or lent to anyone else.  Report any suspicious activity to the Main Office. Return the key to the Physics Department when you graduate or separate from UNL.

Jorgensen Hall’s exterior doors will be locked at all times outside the building’s normal business hours.  You will need your NCard activated to enter the building after normal hours.  You will also need your NCard activated to enter the Mail Room (214 JH) which is locked at all times.  NCard access is obtained from Beth Farleigh in 208A Jorgensen Hall.


Keep your offices and labs locked when they are empty. If you enter through a locked door, make sure that the door shuts and latches afterward.  Do not prop open doors.

Keep purses and valuables (such as laptop computers) out of view.  In the past, on rare occasions, items have been taken from offices and labs.  The problem is usually at its worst during the last few weeks of classes each semester.  Report any suspicious people to the main office, or to the campus police at 402-472-2222.

G. Love Library

Many research journals are available over the web.  To access them from any computer in the department, go to the UNL library web site (, select “E-Resources” on the navigation bar, scroll down to “Electronic Journals,” then select “Electronic Journal Finder.” 

Also available on the web are a number of databases for searching the scientific literature. Links to these databases are located on the library’s E-Resources webpage, and can be found listed alphabetically by clicking on the appropriate letter in the “Databases by Title” section in the center column.  One of the most powerful databases is the “Web of Science” database located under ‘W’.  The library periodically offers workshops on using these databases.


Most books can be checked out of the library using your student ID card.  Some books are on reserve for courses, or are designated reference materials that can only be used in the library.  Please be aware of fair use copyright laws and limit your copying to materials that fall within the fair use guidelines. 

Do NOT remove any material from the library without checking it out.

Ordering Articles

The delivery of any books that you request will be made to the Engineering library, so you can pick them up at the Circulation desk, W204 Nebraska Hall. Any journal articles you request will continue to be delivered as usual -- directly to your email address. If you need a book or an article, you can request an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) via the university library’s website. To access Interlibrary Loan, go to, and select “Delivery/Interlibrary Loan” on the left of the page.

H. Office Space

The department endeavors to provide all graduate students with office space.  Office space is assigned by the Department, is considered to be temporary, and will expand or contract depending on current teaching and research requirements of the Department.  New graduate students will receive office assignments in 208 Jorgensen Hall.

I. Parking

Parking permits are available from UNL Parking and Transit Services, 625 Stadium Drive, Suite A (located in the ground level of the Parking Garage), or online (

J. Reimbursements for Travel

If you are going on a work-related trip for which you will be reimbursed, you must fill out a travel authorization prior to leaving.  On the department website (, choose “Department Home,” then “Downloadable Forms.”  During travel, be sure to get itemized receipts for all expenditures. Upon return, you must fill out a travel reimbursement form. Both are submitted electronically to papurchasing@unl.eduReimbursement must be requested within 60 days of the last day of travel.