Frequently Asked Questions for Current Students
This listing has been made to address the questions that are most often asked by graduate students in our program. The answers to these questions are described in detail in the other materials that are distributed or available, but sometimes it is helpful to have them summarized in one place. From time to time, the rules and regulations change, so this document is to be used only as a guide. The official answer to the questions may still be found in the latest rules of the University of Florida, the Graduate School, and the Department of Physics. Naturally, if you have any questions or if you would like further clarification, please meet with the Graduate Coordinator or one of the Program Assistants in the Office of Student Services, NPB 1210.

FAQs are provided in the following subjects:

   [Definitions]    [Appointments]    [PhD Program]    [MS Program]    [Research]

                          [General Advice]    [Qualifying and Final Exams]

QUALIFYING or FINAL EXAMS

When am I expected to have passed my Qualifying Examination?
The Qualifying Exam must be taken during the 3rd year. A student is allowed two attempts. Should the first attempt be unsuccessful, the second attempt is to be taken during the semester following the one in which the first attempt occurred. The Qualifying Exam must be passed by the end of the Fall semester of the 4th year. It is not a good idea to postpone the Exam till the Summer semester of the 3rd year.

What am I expected to do for the Qualifying Examination?
Although the specific requirements vary for each sub-field, the general requirements are a written part and an oral part. The written part is typically 10 to 15 double spaced pages of text and figures that describe the student's knowledge of the field, progress to date, and proposed thesis topic. The oral part is a 15 to 30 minute description of what the student proposes for a thesis topic. The Supervisory Committee may ask a variety of questions to explore the student's preparation for advanced research and to evaluate the appropriateness of the proposed project.

The paper must be submitted to the Supervisor Committee no later than in one week before the Qualifying Exam. The Supervisor Committee may move this deadline to an earlier date. A student is advised to check with the Committee members on their individual requirements well in advance of the minimal deadline. If the paper was not submitted by the deadline, the Committee may decide to re-schedule the Exam.

What happens if my final thesis is not exactly on the topic that I presented as my thesis topic during the Qualifying Examination?
This situation arises often, and it must be judged by the Supervisory Committee. Of course, the Supervisory Committee realizes that hot topics for thesis projects evolve with time. So, if your research still extends to the "cutting edge" of the sub-field where you have been working, then the thesis topic is accepted by the Supervisory Committee. If there are any concerns, then the Supervisory Committee should be informed in advance of modifications of your project.

When am I expected to have completed my thesis and to have presented it at my Final Examination?
Depending upon the rate of progress on the research topic, most students would complete these finals tasks during their 5th or 6th years in the program. The thesis must be submitted to the Supervisor Committee no later than in two weeks before the Final Exam. The Supervisor Committee may move this deadline to an earlier date. A student is advised to check with the Committee members on their individual requirements well in advance of the minimal deadline. If the paper was not submitted by the deadline, the Committee may decide to re-schedule the Exam.