Comprehensive Exam - Fall 2019
The Fall 2019 Comprehensive Examination will be held the week before the start of the Fall 2019 semester in room Harriman Hall 112 & S-240. The exam will be in four separate parts which are outlined below. Please complete this questionnaire if you would like to take any of this semester's Comprehensive Exams.
*Note that if you do sign up and do not sit for the exam, you will NOT be penalized.
Email address *
Last Name *
Your answer
First Name *
Your answer
SBU ID # *
Your answer
Choose All of the Comp Exams You Expect to Take *
Exams will be held in the S-240 except for Tuesday's QM Exam which will be held in Harriman Hall 112. You may use (with the proctor's approval) a foreign-language dictionary and formula sheet. No other materials may be used.
Electronic Sign Up:
You must sign up for the exam, and (electronically) sign a certification of academic integrity by going to the sign up form:
Formula Sheet:

For each subject (i.e. each day), you may bring a one page (A4 or US Letter) hand written sheet of formulas, front and back. Any additional sheets of will be compensated. Also formula sheets which are not hand written will be confiscated.
If you are ill on the day of the examination, do not take the examination, but get medical certification of your illness and present it as soon as possible to the exam committee. NO MEDICAL EXCUSE WILL BE ACCEPTED AFTER AN EXAM HAS BEEN TAKEN!!!

If you have a physical, psychiatric/emotional, medical or learning disability that may impact on your ability to carry out the exam, you should contact the staff in the Disability Support Services office [DSS], 632-6748/9. DSS will review your concerns and determine, with you, what accommodations are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation of disability is confidential.

Students who require assistance during emergency evacuation are encouraged to discuss their needs with their professors and Disability Support Services. For procedures and information go to the DSS website.

Please have the DSS send the accommodations to be made to the Chair of the Exam Committee ( and Graduate Program Director ( at least a week before the exam.
The Format of the Exam:
There will be three problems in each of the four core subject areas listed above. An effort will be made to test each area separately; however, a strict separation between areas need not be maintained, and material from the other core courses may be mixed in as appropriate.

The problems reflect the material taught in, and the level of, the graduate core courses. A list of exam topics is given on the graduate web page (see below).

Samples of similar problems from the prior exams are available on the department web page; follow link to Grad, then Exams. Typical Stony Brook core course material can be found, for example, in Prof. K. Likharev’s Essential Graduate Physics series, available at
Passing the Exam at the PhD and Placement Levels:
Students taking this exam as the qualifying exam will have to pass two of the three problems in each subject at a level set by the faculty. All students have to pass the qualifying exam. Students taking this exam as a placement exam will have to do all three problems in a given area with a passing grade that is substantially higher than required for the qualifying exam. Students who pass the placement exam have fulfilled the core course requirement for the corresponding subject. Both for the qualifying exam and the placement exam, student do not have to take and pass all areas at the same time, but may pass each area separately.
Department of Physics & Astronomy Policy Academic Dishonesty (Fall 2016)
Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated. In the context of written examinations “academic dishonesty” includes (i) the use of notes, books or other material (except when explicit permission has been given by the responsible faculty member) and (ii) the exchange of information between students during an examination. Giving information is as serious an offense as receiving information.
The penalties for academic dishonesty in written examinations are severe. Any such act will result in automatic failure on the examination in question. More serious penalties will be sought as appropriate. These can include suspension or dismissal from the University.
Given the importance of the Comprehensive Examination, incidents of academic dishonesty connected with this examination will be viewed with the utmost severity. In such cases, the Department will consider the most serious penalties (i.e. suspension or dismissal).
I have read and understand the Physics Department Statement on Academic Dishonesty. *
Electronic Signature (First Name & Last Name)
Your answer
A copy of your responses will be emailed to the address you provided.
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