Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ overview

  • I missed a lab.  What can I do?
  • Can I switch sections?
  • Can I access my data outside of my lab section?
  • Can I take my data with me?
  • Can I get tutoring for my Physics course?
  • What is considered plagiarism?
  • I hate my lab.  What can I do about it?
  • I will be participating in a University-sanctioned activity that conflicts with my lab.  What should I do?

I missed a lab. What can I do?

First, email your TA as soon as possible to explain your absence. Notice should be given to your TA in advance of the missed lab whenever possible.

For Courses 1010, 1025, 1035, 1075, 1600: you will have an opportunity to make up a single lab at the end of the semester. Before the make-up day, you should remind your TA that you want to make up the lab.

For Courses 1201, 1202, 1401, 1402, 1501, 1502, 1601, 1602: your lab grade automatically drops your lowest grade in the event that you must miss lab due to illness or other emergencies. You may request to attend a different lab section that week if you feel you have a valid reason for absence. Valid absences are limited to Varsity athletic events (NO CLUB SPORTS), academic conferences, or religious observances.

In rare cases, a special arrangement may be possible. You must talk to your TA in advance if you feel your case merits special attention. Neither the TA nor the course instructor is required to concede to any request for special arrangements.

If you do not make up the lab that you missed, then you will receive a zero for your in-class work.  You may also receive a zero for any work which was due (e.g., pre-lab or formal report).  If you missed 2 labs in a semester, then you will be allowed to make up one lab.  You will receive a zero for the in-class work for the remaining missed lab.  If you miss more than 2 labs in a semester, you will receive an “F” for the laboratory portion of the course.

Can I switch sections?

We ask that you attend the section in which you are enrolled. Switching sections permanently without doing so officially causes all sorts of problems with equipment and grades.

If you would like to officially change your lab section, you must contact the Physics Main Office.

Can I access my data outside of my lab section?

Generally, you won’t be able to do so. Our classrooms are used all day long for classes, and it is difficult to access our computers while the rooms are occupied.

Can I take my data with me?

Absolutely. You are encouraged to do so. The computers in the labs can save to USB key. You can also email the data to yourself from the labs. Make sure you store your data in a format that you can view at your home computer. The data acquisition software used in the labs is proprietary and you won’t be able to view your data unless you export to another format (e.g., Excel) while you’re in the lab.

Can I get tutoring for my Physics course?


If you have questions related to the labs, you should attend the office hours for your TA. She/he will know what you did in class and will be able to answer your questions most efficiently.  The tutors in the Physics Learning Resource Center may also be able to answer your lab questions (particularly pre-lab questions).

If you have questions about lecture, you should contact your instructor.

If you would like to guidance with homework and have specific questions, the Physics Department offers the Physics Learning Resource Center (PLRC, for short). Visit the PLRC page for information on scheduling and location.

What is considered plagiarism?

Classwork is generally considered group work, and all the members of the group will receive the same grade.  Formal lab reports are individual work. While your data will be identical to other group members, the narrative must be original.  Collaboration on a formal lab report is a form of cheating.  Copying work, including narrative, diagrams or mathematical process, from another student (current or former) is considered plagiarism.  Short quotations, in narrative or mathematical process, from reputable, published sources are permitted if the sources are properly cited.  All students at UConn must take a Freshman Writing Course, which includes an explanation of the concepts and details of plagiarism and citation.  Students in a physics lab are held responsible for this knowledge.

Students who submit unoriginal work will receive a grade of 0% for that assignment.  The procedure for notifying the Dean’s Office as explained in the Student Code will be followed. If a student is found engaging in cheating during the lab final, the student will receive a failing grade for the lab, which could mean a failing grade for the course. The Dean will be notified in this case also.

I hate my lab.  What can I do about it?

We are sorry to hear this. We encourage you to come visit us in room P217 to discuss the problem and potential solutions. Please contact us with your comments and feedback, and don’t wait until you can’t take it any more. Often, if we tackle the little problems that arise, we avoid the big problems.

I will be participating in a University-sanctioned activity that conflicts with my lab.  What should I do?

Students who may miss a lab because they are participating in University-sanctioned activities (e.g., academic conferences, scholarship banquets, live performances, playing in athletic events) must inform the teaching assistant and the laboratory manager of the potential conflict.  Students in this category must submit a list of potential conflicts to the teaching lab manager at the beginning of the semester.  The department makes every effort to accommodate students who are participating in University-sanctioned activities.  However, notification well in advance of the event is required to provide accommodation.  Students who may miss 4 or more labs because of participation in University-sanctioned activities will be asked to join another lab section, or to take physics in another semester.

Students who participate in University-sanctioned activities must provide specific documentation to the teaching  lab manager in advance of the activity.  If the student provides all appropriate documentation, then the teaching lab manager will make a good-faith effort to arrange a make-up for the student.  Make-ups are never guaranteed.  The student’s class schedule, the schedule of the University-sanctioned activity, and the course lab schedule must be consulted.  In the event that a make-up can not be provided, the student will be allowed to turn in the pre-lab work and any due formal report work by a new deadline.  This new deadline will be set by the laboratory manager or the teaching assistant.  The student will receive a zero for the in-class work.  If the lab that was missed was scheduled for a formal report, then the student will be assigned a different week’s experiment (the previous or next week) to use for their formal report, with a new set of deadlines provided by the laboratory manager or the teaching assistant.