Physics Qualifying Exam
The Doctoral Qualifying Examination and the Master's Comprehensive Examination are the same test. Students pursuing the Master of Science Degree, Plan B and all Ph.D. students must take this examination.
Students may obtain a grade of
“Pass at the Ph.D. level,”
“Pass at the M.S. level,” or
Students who score “Pass at the M.S. level” are eligible to receive (if applicable) the Master of Science Degree in Physics when all other degree requirements have been met.
Students who obtain “Pass at the Ph.D. level” are eligible to receive (if applicable) the Master of Science Degree in Physics when all other degree requirements have been met and are eligible to be admitted to Candidacy in the Doctoral Program when all other Ph.D. Candidacy requirements are met.
The examination consists of three parts: two written and one oral. Part 1 of the written examination covers topics in Classical Physics (Mechanics, Thermodynamics and Electromagnetism). Part 2 of the examination covers Quantum Physics and Modern Physics (including relativistic treatment of phenomena). Part 3, the oral examination covers both areas of physics. Each written part of the examination is usually given on consecutive days. The oral part of the examination is given within two weeks of the administration of the written part.
Students are allowed two attempts to pass the examination. The final score is based on performance in all three parts, i.e. grades are not given separately for Part 1, Part 2, or Part 3. The examination is usually taken at the end of the studentís first year, but must be taken not later than the end of the student's second year of graduate work. A year's deferral may be granted to students who enter with course deficiencies. Such deferral must be approved by the department during the studentís first semester of enrollment.
If a student is enrolled in the Master of Science Degree in the Physics Program and receives a grade of “Fail” on this examination, the student following Plan B, is not eligible to received the Master of Science Degree under this plan. However, the student may petition the department to complete the Master of Science Degree under Plan A.
Now available on-line: copies of earlier exams with a list of recommended literature.