All degree-pursing graduate students in the Physics program at Montana State University must pass a qualifying exam.  The exam is held semi-annually, once at the beginning of the fall semester and once at the beginning of the spring semester.

This web page provides current information on the upcoming qualifying exam. 

Current Qualifying Exam Committee

The exam is organized, written, and graded by the Qualifying Exam Committee.

For the 2020/2021 academic year, the committee is composed of:

  • Charles Kankelborg (Chair)
  • Nick Borys
  • Anne Lohfink
  • John Neumeier
  • Anton Vortonsov

Guidelines and committee policy

This year's Qualifying Exam Committee has authored a publicly available set of general guidelines for the writing, organizing, and grading the exam.

Fall 2021 Qualifying Exam

Topic list

A summary topic list for the Fall 2021 exam has been provided.


Dates: The Fall 2021 qualifying exam will be held on August 16 and 17.

Location: Gaines 101

Detailed Schedule

Day Time Topic Tentative Proctor
Monday, August 16 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM Classical Mechanics Anne Lohfink
Monday, August 16 1:00 PM - 4:30 PM Quantum Mechanics Nick Borys
Tuesday, August 17 8:30 AM - 12:00 PM Electricity and Magnetism Charles Kankelborg
Tuesday, August 17 1:00 PM - 4:30 PM Statistical and Thermal Physics John Neumeier

Special accommodations

Accommodations will be made for students on a case-by-case basis in accordance to needs determined by the Office of Disability Services.

Requirements on the day of the exam

  1. You must wear a mask until you are settled in place.
  2. Devices for music, noise cancelling headphones, or earplugs are allowed.
  3. If you choose to listen to music through headphones, please use a moderate volume that does not disturb others.
  4. Calculators are not allowed.