Let me just come right out and say it: I passed the qual.
That would be the Syracuse University Physics Department PhD Qualifying Exam. For those that don’t know, it’s a two day exam, 3 hours each day, 5 problems each day. These are homework level problems, which means, if they’re assigned as a homework problem, they’ll probably take between 1-5 hours to complete. And we have to do 5 problem in 3 hours.
Passing this test is considered a Big Deal. Very important, more or less do or die kind of a thing. Once you’ve passed it, your done demonstrating that you are capable of being a PhD. You know your stuff, and you know how to figure things out. You just have to carry on doing that.
So, what am I qualified to do?
Well, I guess that would be 4-5 more years of work on a research topic. Write a thesis and present it. You know, the hard-but-fun part of a PhD program.