Physics Preliminary Exam
The Physics Preliminary Exam for admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. will be given over the course of two days. The exam consists of four parts: Part I (Classical Mechanics); Part II (Quantum Mechanics); Part III (Electricity and Magnetism) and Part IV (Statistical Mechanics and Math Physics).
Graduate students, who will have completed their firstyear study in May and have not already passed all four parts of the exam, must take the exam this August. Students working toward the terminal Masters degree may take the exam in place of an oral exam.
Each part of the exam will consist of 6 problems. All 6 problems will be scored and the highest 5 scores will count in the total for that part of the exam. Based on the work shown, anywhere from 0 points to a full 20 points may be received for each problem.
The topics covered by the four parts of the Physics Preliminary Exam are listed below. To help students prepare for the Prelim, the Committee offers a practice exam at the end of each May. The old exam problems are available on the web in a PDF file. The exams may be downloaded from the file located athttps://www.baylor.edu/physics/doc.php/288309.pdf
(Since the document is long, please conserve paper by printing specific pages only as you use them.)
Best regards, The Preliminary Exam Committee

The Classical Mechanics (CM) Preliminary Exam will test basic concepts of classical mechanics and related applications to physical problems. The exam will cover both (i) material presented in PHY 5320 (the first semester of graduate CM at Baylor) and (ii) material generally presented at the undergraduate level. The topics that may be covered in the exam are given in the list below. The graduate level at which these topics will be covered is on par with Goldstein, Poole & Safko, Classical Mechanics. The level of the undergraduate material in the exam is representative of that found in typical undergraduate textbooks such as Thornton & Marion, Classical Dynamics.
Elementary Principles Lagrangian and Hamiltonian Mechanics Central Force Motion Dynamics of Rigid Bodies Oscillations Hamilton Equations of Motion Special Relativity
The Quantum Mechanics (QM) Preliminary Exam will test basic concepts of quantum mechanics and related applications to physical problems. The exam will cover both (i) material presented in PHY 53705371 (the full year of graduate QM at Baylor) and (ii) material generally presented at the undergraduate level. The topics that may be covered in the exam are given in the list below. The graduate level at which these topics will be covered is on par with Sakurai, Modern Quantum Mechanics, Chapters 17. Good references for applications are the Complements sections in CohenTannoudji et al., Quantum Mechanics, Volumes I and II. The level of the undergraduate material in the exam is representative of that found in typical undergraduate textbooks such as Griffith, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (which is used in PHY 33723373); Gasiorowicz, Quantum Physics; or Shankar, Principles of Quantum Mechanics.
Fundamental Concepts and Formalism Time Independent Schroedinger Equation in 1Dimension Quantum Mechanics in Three Dimensions Identical Particles Time Independent Perturbation Theory Variational Principle WKB Approximations Time Dependent Perturbation Theory Adiabatic Approximation Scattering
The Electricity & Magnetism (E&M) Preliminary Exam will test basic concepts of electromagnetics and related applications to physical problems. The exam will cover both (i) material presented in PHY 5330 (the first semester of graduate E&M at Baylor) and (ii) material generally presented at the undergraduate level. The topics that may be covered in the exam are given in the list below. At the graduate level, problems will be based at the level of Jackson, Classical Electrodynamics, Chapters 16. There may be undergraduatelevel problems on any of the topics listed below. The undergraduate material on the exam is representative of that found in textbooks such as Griffith, Introduction to Electrodynamics, Marion & Heald, Classical Electromagnetic Radiation, and Schwartz, Principles of Electrodynamics. Also, topics like partial wave techniques and scattering are covered in many quantum mechanics textbooks. Most undergraduate textbooks use the MKS (SI) system while graduatelevel texts use the Gaussian system. You are expected to know the difference between the two systems; however, you are free to use the formulas in either system of units.
Electrostatics
Magnetostatics
Timevarying Fields
Electromagnetic Waves
Relativistic Formulations
The Statistical Mechanics section of Part IV of the Preliminary Exam will test basic concepts of statistical mechanics and thermal physics. The exam will cover both (i) material presented in PHY 5340 (graduate Statistical Mechanics at Baylor) and (ii) material generally presented at the undergraduate level. The topics that may be covered in the exam are given in the list below. The graduate level at which these topics will be covered is on par with Pathria, Statistical Mechanics and Juang, Statistical Mechanics. The level of the undergraduate material in the exam is representative of that found in typical undergraduate textbooks such as Kittel and Kroemer, Thermal Physics, Reif, Fundamentals of Statistical and Thermal Physics; Morse, Thermal Physics, Schroeder, An Introduction to Thermal Physics (which was used in PHY 4340); or Bowley and Sanchez, Introductory Statistical Mechanics.
ConceptsTheromodynamics
First order and critical phase transitions
Kinetic Theory
ConceptsStatistical Mechanics
Applications The Mathematical Physics section of Part IV of the Preliminary Exam will test basic concepts of mathematical physics at the level of Mathematical Physics Butkov, Mathematical Methods for Physicists Arfken and Weber, or Mathematical Methods for Physics (Wyld). The topics that may be covered in the exam correspond to the material presented in PHY 5360 Math Physics (the first semester of graduate Math Physics at Baylor) and are given in the list below.
Vectors, Matrices, and Coordinates
Functions of a Complex Variable
Fourier Series
Integral Transforms
Linear Differential Equations of Second Order
Partial Differential Equations
Green Functions 