Candidates are expected to take the Comps II examination within one year of completing Comps I and no later than their sixth enrolled semester. Comps II consists of the preparation of a formal paper that summarizes a broad research topic. The student then delivers an oral presentation about the content of the research paper and takes an oral examination on the research topic as well as his/her general knowledge of physics.

Comps II research topic proposals should be submitted to the comprehensive exam committee chair. Students can obtain assistance with writing the paper by contacting Donald Wilkerson and by taking his Advanced Writing class (PHYS 7820), offered in the spring.

Much more detail and advice can be found in the Comprehensive Exam Process Guide for Students.

Paperwork and Deadlines

A link to the score sheet will be sent to Comps II committee members by the Comps chair. Students do not need to provide forms.

Students who have not taken Comps II by the end of their sixth enrolled regular semester are considered to have failed Comps II and may not remain in the program. Exceptions can be made for extenuating circumstances! Please contact the Associate Chair for Graduate Studies to request an extension if needed.

A student who fails a first attempt in the semester before the deadline, or needs to retake any part of the exam, may continue through the following regular semester to allow time to complete the exam process. Retakes in the fall semester must be completed by September 30.

Scheduling the Exam for Master’s Degree

If the candidate wants to use Comps II as a Master's exam, which the department encourages, it must be taken during a term when the student is registered (Fall or Spring). The exam must be completed before the first day of classes for Summer session. In Fall, two weeks prior to the start of classes also counts as Fall term (though it is usually difficult to find professors for a committee before the semester starts). The Physics department does not allow Comps II exams during the summer. Please review information regarding obtaining a Master's degree for more information.