you think you have it tough, have a look at a pool of questions from
various disciplines on MIT’s doctoral qualifying examinations. These
are actual questions that students in the past have had to answer. They
are allowed four hours, and they have four sets of questions like these
over two days.
the history of the papacy from its origins to the present day;
concentrate especially but not exclusively on the social, political,
economic, religious, and philosophical impact on Europe, Asia, America,
and Africa. Be brief, concise, and specific.
have been provided with a razor blade, a piece of gauze, and a bottle
of Scotch. Remove your own appendix. Do not suture until your work has
2,500 riot-crazed aborigines are storming the classroom. Calm them. You may use any ancient language except Latin or Greek.
life. Estimate the differences in subsequent human culture if this form
of life had developed 500 million years earlier, with special attention
to the probable effects on the English parliamentary system. Prove your
Write a piano concerto. Orchestrate it and perform it with flute and drum. You will find a piano under your seat.
on your knowledge of their works, evaluate the emotional stability,
degree of adjustment, and repressed frustrations of each of the
following: Alexander of Aphrodisias, Ramses II, Hammurabi. Support your
evaluation with quotations from each man’s work, making appropriate
references. It is not necessary to translate.
Estimate the sociological problems that might accompany the end of the world. Construct an experiment to test your theory.
management. Define science. How do they relate? Why? Create a
generalized algorithm to optimize all managerial decisions. Assuming an
1130 CPU supporting 50 terminals, each terminal to activate your
algorithm, design the communications interface and all the necessary
Develop a realistic plan for
refinancing the national debt. Trace the possible effects of your plan
in the following areas: Cubism, the Donatist controversy, the wave
theory of light. Outline a method from all points of view. Point out
the deficiencies in your point of view, as demonstrated in your answer
to the last question.
There is a red telephone on the desk beside you. Start World War III. Report at length on its socio-political effects, if any.
Take a position for or against the truth. Prove the validity of your position.
Explain the nature of matter. Include in your answer an evaluation of the impact of the development of mathematics on science.
lead into gold. You will find a tripod and three lead tubes under your
seat. Show all work including Feynman diagrams and quantum functions
for all steps. You have fifteen minutes.
Sketch the development of human thought; estimate its significance. Compare with the development of any other kind of thought.