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 and references are available to Michigan Tech students (requires login). Problems may be solved using techniques taught at the advanced undergraduate level.

Classical Mechanics

Text References

  • 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

Text References

  • 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

Text References

  • 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

Text References

The general physics section of the exam will consist 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.