The Qualifying Exam

The qualifying examination is designed to test the student's general knowledge of the fundamentals of physics.  The performance needed to pass this examination corresponds to a mature command of the material typically included in the undergraduate physics major curriculum.  The qualifying examination will be offered twice a year (August and January).  Students in the Ph.D. program are allowed up to two chances to take the exam and must pass within one and a half years of arrival.  Based on the student's performance on a) the qualifying examinations, b) the course work, c) the GRE scores and d) optional research participation, the faculty will decide if the student will be allowed to continue in the Ph.D. program.  Students who do not pass within one and a half years (17 or 19 months, depending on whether the student enrolls in August or January, respectively) will not be admitted to candidacy but may pursue a terminal master's.

For the first part of the qualifying exam, only a calculator will be allowed.  For the second part, the linked formulas will be provided.

Dates for the August Qualifying Exam:

Part 1:  Tuesday August 3, 2021, 1 - 5 pm

Part 2:  Wednesday, August 4, 2021, 1 - 5 pm

The committee for the 2021/2022 Qualifying Exam: