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Preliminary Exam

The purpose of the Preliminary Examination is to assess the student’s preparation for working toward an advanced degree. This Examination covers material typical of an undergraduate physics major curriculum. The performance needed to pass the Examination is intended to correspond to a mature command of such a curriculum.

The Preliminary Examination is given in mid-August and early January every year. The exact dates are arranged to be at or near the start of classes and are advertised on the Departments webpages.

Each student, including all the incoming students, are expected to take this exam every time it is offered unless a passing grade has already been achieved. The Ph.D. and M.S. degrees require that this exam is passed before the end of the second year in our graduate program. This page contains information on the Preliminary Exam Bibliography and Requirements for Graduate Degrees in the Department of Physics.

Bibliography

This listing is to provide a bibliography that might be reviewed prior to taking the Preliminary Examination. The advanced courses required for UF majors are listed, along with present (or recent) textbooks that have been used during the courses. In many cases, numerous textbooks are available at the same level of presentation. This listing is only to provide a guide. The textbook for our introductory course is Physics 1 & 2, 4th Edition, Resnick, Halliday, Krane, and it is assumed that you have a comprehensive knowledge of the material present in this textbook (or its equivalent).

Reminder: The Preliminary Examination contains 12 questions/problems that will consist, in general terms, of 2 in classical mechanics, 2 in statistical mechanics and thermodynamics, 3 in quantum mechanics, and 3 in electromagnetism. The remaining 2 problems may be generated from any area of physics that is studied in a typical undergraduate program. In addition, the problems might not be specifically described as related to one area of physics, but they may be a synthesis of several subjects.

Classical Mechanics (PHY3221 and PHY4222)

Classical Dynamics of Particles and Systems, 5th Edition, Thornton and Marion
Classical Mechanics: A Modern Perspective, 2nd Edition, Barger and Olsson

Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics (PHY3521 and PHY4523)

Introductory Statistical Mechanics, Bowley and Sanchez
Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics, Reif
Thermodynamics and An Introduction to Thermostatistics, 2nd Edition, Callen
Thermal Physics, Kittel and Kroemer
Heat and Thermodynamics, Zemansky and Dittman

Electromagnetism (PHY3323 and PHY4324)

Introduction to Electrodynamics, 3rd Edition, Griffiths

Quantum Mechanics (PHY4604 and PHY4605)

Quantum Mechanics, Vol 1 and 2, Cohen-Tannoudji
Quantum Physics, Gasiorowicz

Optics (PHY4422)

Optics, Hecht
Optics, Klein and Furtak

Modern Physics (PHY3101)

Modern Physics, 4th Edition, Tipler and Llewellyn
Modern Physics, Ohanian
Concepts of Modern Physics, 4th Edition, Beiser

Laboratory Physics (PHY4802L and PHY4803L)

The Art of Electronics, Horowitz and Hill
Experimental Physics: Modern Methods, Dunlap

 

Previous Preliminary Exams

DateExams
January 2018Part A  Part B  Part C  Part D
August 2017Part A  Part B  Part C  Part D
January 2017Part A  Part B  Part C  Part D
August 2016Part A  Part B  Part C  Part D
January 2016Part A  Part B  Part C  Part D
August 2015Part A  Part B  Part C  Part D
January 2015 Part A  Part B  Part C  Part D
August 2014Part A  Part B  Part C  Part D
January 2014Part A  Part B  Part C  Part D
August 2013Part A  Part B  Part C  Part D
January 2013Part A  Part B  Part C  Part D
August 2012Part A  Part B  Part C  Part D
January 2012Part A  Part B  Part C  Part D
August 2011Part A  Part B  Part C  Part D
January 2011Part A  Part B  Part C  Part D
August 2010Part A  Part B  Part C  Part D
January 2008Part A  Part B  Part C  Part D
August 2008Part A  Part B  Part C  Part D