Passing the written M.S. exam is required for the M.S. degree, unless a student pursues a research-based M.S. degree (see below). The examination is offered in August and consists of specially designated problems (usually eight) on the concurrent Physics qualifying examination (see below). The designated problems are in the areas of mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics/statistical mechanics, and special relativity.
A student may take the master’s examination a total of twice, including any attempts at the full Ph.D. qualifying examination. The first attempt must be in the August following matriculation, and the second attempt must be made the next year. For this purpose only, students admitted in the Spring semester will be treated as if they had been admitted the following Fall. Students who take the Ph.D. qualifying examination are automatically considered to be taking the master’s examination, unless they have previously passed it. Passing the Ph.D. qualifying exam automatically implies passing the master’s examination.