Rutgers University Department of Physics and Astronomy

Placement Exams

Since fall 2009, all incoming students must take placement exams. The exams are intended to make sure students are ready to succeed in the core graduate classes. They consist of questions that one might expect to see in an exam in an advanced undergraduate course on that subject. Students failing an exam should take an appropriate advanced undergraduate elective rather than the core course. Instructions for the exam and topics that may be on the exam can be found in pdf format here.

In parallel with the placement exam, challenge / exemption exams are held. These exams can be used to satisfy the corresponding core course requirement of a grade of B or better in the course. They consist of questions that one might expect to see in an exam in an introductory graduate course on that subject. Permission of the Graduate Program Director is required to take a challenge exam. Please request permission in advance, as challenge exams might not be given unless enough students will be taking them. The challenge exams are held at the same time and place at the corresponding placement exams - make sure you take the correct one!

The placement / challenge exams are typically held towards the end of the week before the term starts, during orientation week in August and just before Martin Luther King Day in January.

The fall 2018 orientation schedule can be found here. The fall 2018 exam schedule - the placement and challenge exams for a given class are held in the same room at the same time - is:

(Exam order was updated from preliminary order on August 20.) The January 2019 exam schedule for the spring term classes, Quantum Mechanics II, E&M II, and Statistical Mechanics / Thermodynamics, will be announced later.

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This page is maintained by Prof. Ronald Gilman. Last Revised - August 20, 2018.