General Doctoral Examination Samples

The MIT Physics Written Exam addresses four topics: Electricity and Magnetism; Classical Mechanics; Statistical Mechanics; and Quantum Mechanics. Students take each topic as a separate 75-minute exam, selecting one of two presented written questions; their performance is evaluated separately for each section. Students may also meet any one of the topic requirements through classwork (for E&M, 8.311; for CM, 8.309; for SM, 8.333; and for QM, 8.321).  Written Exams are administered and results are available prior to the fall and spring semesters each year.

Sample exams, with solutions, are available to help MIT Physics doctoral students study for the Written Exam. Prior to 2015 our Qualifying Exams were given in 3 parts: Parts I and II comprised the Written Exam, and the Oral Exam was known as Part III. [Note that faculty and students who experienced the exams in this format may still refer to the current Written Exam as ‘Part II’ and the Oral Exam as ‘Part III’.]

Sample exams labeled ‘Part II’ with the 4 sections presented as a 5-hour exam continue to be valuable for Written Exam study, if reviewed as separate 75-minute topics. The fall 2015 is the first exam that was administered in the current format.

Study Materials are available here at the Physics Written Exam Samples  and the Physics REFS webpage which includes a helpful Physics Written Exam Study Guide.

Written Exam

Written Exam Solutions