Graduate Qualifying Exam

The purpose of this exam is to ensure that each student has the necessary knowledge to conduct research in his or her area of concentration. The qualifying exams are administered twice a year, usually during the second and third weeks of the fall and spring semesters.

Please read the Physics Graduate Student Handbook for more details. Questions regarding the qualifying examination policies may be directed to the chair of the physics qualifying exam committee.

Sample Exams

Sample examinations are available to Michigan Tech students on a shared Google Drive. Please see Claire if you need access and don't have it.

Text References

Classical Mechanics

  • Classical Dynamics of Particles & Systems, J.B. Marion and S.T. Thornton, 3rd edition, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1988. Chapters 1 to 14.
  • Analytical Mechanics, G.R. Fowles and G.L. Cassiday, 7th edition, Harcourt Brace & Company, 2005. Chapters 1 to 11.
  • Classical Mechanics, J. Taylor. University Science Books, 2005. Chapters 1-11, 13, 15.

Electricity and Magnetism

  • Introduction to Electrodynamics, 3rd ed. D. J. Griffiths, Prentice Hall. Chapters 1 to 11.
  • Electromagnetism, G. L. Pollack and D. R. Stump. Addison Wesley, 2002. Chapters 1-11, 13-15.

Quantum Mechanics

  • Quantum Physics of Atoms, Molecules, Solids, Nuclei and Particles, R. Eisberg and R. Resnick, 2nd edition, John Wiley & Sons, 1985. Chapters 1 to 10.

  • Quantum Mechanics, An Accessible Approach, R. Scherrer, Pearson Addison Wesley, 2006. Chapters 1 to 10.

General Physics

The general physics section of the exam consists of short questions covering all areas of physics normally taught at the undergraduate level including mechanics, special relativity, electromagnetism (including AC and DC circuits), quantum and atomic physics, thermal and statistical physics, optics and laboratory techniques including data analysis.