The Qualifier Examination changed as adopted by the faculty in April 2004. The new requirements were effective with the 2004/5 class. These old requirements are only for students who entered before Fall 2004.
The qualifier exam is a written exam given at the end of the first year of graduate studies at Duke. The exam covers four areas of physics: Classical Mechanics, Electromagnetism, Statistical Mechanics, and Quantum Mechanics. The material examined emphasizes material at the advanced undergraduate level, but also includes material covered in the first year graduate courses.
See the Qualifying exam that was given on
We encourage students to talk with faculty about any questions they may have on qualifier problems.
The purpose of this exam is to assure that students in the Ph.D. program have a basic working knowledge of the fundamentals and problem solving skills in the four areas of the examination. Passing the qualifier examination qualifies the student to continue in the Ph.D. program.
Students are expected to demonstrate competency in all four areas in order to pass this exam. Remedial work may be recommmended if a marginal or poor performance occurs in only one area. In general, however, failure or marginal performance in more than one area will require retaking the entire exam one year later.
A third taking of the entire examination is not normally allowed. A student and his/her adviser may, however, petition the Director of Graduate Studies for a third taking of the entire exam. Approval of such a request requires a vote of the entire faculty of the Physics Department.