The preliminary exam
All students in the group are required to pass a written preliminary examination that tests undergraduate-level understanding of the fundamental concepts in the field. The exam consists of three parts:
- Quantum Mechanics at the level of "Introduction to Quantum Mechanics", by D. J. Griffiths (example syllabus: 137.pdf)
- Electrodynamics at the level of "Introduction to Electrodynamics", by D. J. Griffiths (example syllabus: 110.pdf)
- Classical Mechanics at the level of "Classical Mechanics" by J. R. Taylor (example syllabus: 105.pdf)
- Spring 2022: Online exam scheduled on 1/29/2022 (Saturday)
Students are allowed to have a formula sheet (letter size, only one-side not both) for each subject. In the beginning of the exam, students need to show their formula sheet (via camera if the exam is online) to the proctor before working on the problems. Nothing else (textbook, computer files etc) is allowed. This time we do not have a physical room for the students because all students should have office space by now. If a student plans to take any subject(s), please send an email to Prof. Lin Tian (ltianATucmerced.edu) to register.
9:00AM-11:00AM Classical mechanics
2:00PM-4:00PM Quantum mechanics
Fall 2021: Online exam was scheduled on 8/24/2021 (Tuesday).
Fall 2020 scheduled on 8/24/2020 (Monday) and was online via zoom. Please see here for instructions!
The exam will be offered twice per year, and must be passed no later than the start of the third year. Incoming graduate students are encouraged to take the exam at the start of the first semester. Students need to pass each part individually but not necessarily at the same time. The passing grade is 80%. A student may, however, be deemed to have passed the exam outright if, at any one attempt, their overall performance in all three sections is good enough. Students who have not passed the exam by the start of their third year may be subject to dismissal.
A selection of past exams from different years can be found here:
Spring 2012 Classical Mechanics
Spring 2016 Classical mechanics
Spring 2017 Classical Mechanics
Spring 2021 Classical Mechanics
Spring 2022 Classical Mechanics