Thesis research is the heart of the doctoral program. Students are therefore encouraged to learn about research opportunities within the department, beginning early in the first year of graduate study. At the end of the first semester, the faculty reviews the performance of all beginning students. Those who are making satisfactory progress will receive written notice that they should make a research affiliation during the second semester. Those showing unsatisfactory or marginal classroom records will be so advised, and their eligibility for research affiliation will be considered by the faculty on a case-by-case basis. Once approved to start research, each student is responsible for selecting a suitable research area and making arrangements to join the research group of a faculty member (including research faculty members) within the department. Students may need to be somewhat flexible in their choice because not all faculty can take additional students in any particular year. Students desiring to work with someone who is not a regular faculty member or research faculty member in Physics and Astronomy may do so with the permission of the Graduate Committee. They will be required to submit a brief outline of the proposed work and to obtain the support of a faculty member within the department who will act as departmental advisor. The proposed topic must be appropriate for a degree in physics or astronomy, and the thesis director must be qualified to supervise the project. All research expenses in the department, including most student stipends, are paid by grants and contracts held by faculty. Thus, a student must make a research affiliation well before May 15 of their first year in order to continue in the program and to receive further support.