The UC Davis Physics Graduate Program requires courses, two comprehensive examinations, research, and a dissertation.
The two examinations are the "preliminary" exam, and the "qualifying" exam. Dave took the first half of the preliminary last fall, and passed (phew!). This summer, in addition to his laboratory work, he has been studying for the second half of the preliminary exam. He and his graduate school classmates took it this last Friday (September 16), and he feels great about it. Again, "phew", (only not as big a relief as it will be when he gets the actual score). Dave usually judges correctly on these things, though, and it's a good sign that he left no problem unanswered.
Also, I just learned that Dave is one of only a few people on earth doing his particular research topic, which is what one wants ideally for a Ph.D. topic. But, wow! How many of us "regular folks" can say that we are bona fide, real-life pioneers? How exciting!
In other news, classes resume this Thursday. Also, Dave's applying for a new fellowship to replace his current Cota-Robles, which expires in June 2012. By the way, here is a bio of that wonderful Professor Eugene Cota-Robles, whom the fellowship honors:
And, of course, Dave's website:
Peace and all good!