Qualifying Exam

Qualifiying Exam

The qualifying exam is a two day exam that you must complete to satisfy graduation requirements. This exam will cover 5 topics:

  1. Classical Mechanics
  2. Electricity and Magnetism
  3. Statistical Mechanics
  4. Quantum Mechanics
  5. Math and Other

The exam covers both graduate and undergraduate material. The current format of the exam is "under construction", and more information will come out on the department website when it is finalized.


Practice exams and other useful materials can be found on Jonathan Whitmore’s website. Jon is a previous UCSD physics graduate student who graduated in 2011.

In terms of preparation, some students spend 2 weeks and others spend all summer. A general rule of thumb that's been passed down from year to year, is that if you solve 100 practice qual problems you'll have a high likelihood of passing the qual. Take this with a grain of salt.

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