Graduate Written Exam

Graduate Written Examination: Must pass by the end of the fifth semester.

Every student entering the program must take and pass the Graduate Written Examination. The exam is given once each year a few days before or after the start of Fall Semester classes. Students entering the program are required to take the exam every time it is offered. All new students take the exam as a “free try” at the start of their first semester. Returning students must take the exam each time it is offered until they pass.

***The 2017 Graduate Written Exam will be held on Saturday, September 9.***

The use of calculators will be allowed, though they will not be provided. The use of cell phones will not be permitted.

Listed below are examinations from previous years:

Information About the Graduate Written Exam

The exam has two parts.

Part I is comprised of about ten elementary level questions and counts one third of the total score. A total of two hours is allotted for this part. Each question is designed to require about 7 minutes for its solution. Questions are at the level of University of Maine introductory under-graduate courses PHY 121/122 and PHY 236. The topics are mechanics, thermodynamics, kinetic theory, waves, electromagnetism, electrical circuits, light and optics, and elementary modern physics. Representative elementary physics texts are Physics for Scientists and Engineers (Knight) and Concepts of Modern Physics (Beiser).

Part II is comprised of a choice of 10 out of 15 questions and counts two thirds of the total score. A total of four hours is allotted for this part. Each question is designed to require about 12 minutes for its solution. Questions are at the level of University of Maine upper level under-graduate courses PHY 229/230, PHY 223, PHY 238, PHY 441/442, 454/455, PHY 462/463, PHY 469, and PHY 472. About ten Part II questions concern core topics: classical mechanics (motion in electromagnetic and gravitational fields, rigid bodies, coupled oscillations, and continuum vibrations), electricity and magnetism (statics, fields in matter, Maxwell’s equations, op-tics and radiation), thermal physics (thermodynamics and statistical mechanics of matter and radiation), and quantum mechanics (wave mechanics, angular momentum, perturbation theory, atoms and molecules, and scattering). Representative core text books are Classical Mechanics (Taylor), Introduction to Electrodynamics (Griffiths), Thermal Physics (Byerlin), Art of Experimental Physics (Preston & Dietz), and Quantum Physics (Griffiths). Additional questions may concern light and optics at the level of Optics (Pedrotti), special relativity, nuclear/particle physics, plasma, solid state physics, and space physics encountered as applications in core courses, and laboratory techniques including error analysis, instrumentation, circuits and electronics.