Academic Programs

Masters Qualifying Exam for Physics Degrees at NIU

This page describes the masters qualifying (proficiency) examination required for students in the physics M.S. and Ph.D. programs. It will be waived based upon a physics GRE score of more than 50%. Also, students entering with a M.S. degree in physics are not required to take this exam.

Students entering the program should attempt to take the examination during their first year and are required to pass it before they complete their second year.

The exam consists of 25 questions covering undergraduate physics split into sections on special theory of relativity, classical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, waves and optics, and thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. The questions are similar in content to those used on the GRE physics exam. The test is split into two two-hour long sessions. The example exam #1 and example exam #2 can be used as a study guide. Only calculators provided by the department can be used on this exam.