You are viewing: 2023/24 version

Preliminary Examination in Physics and Philosophy


  • 1. The subjects of the Examination shall be (a) Physics and Mathematics, (b) Philosophy.

  • 2. All candidates must offer both (a) and (b).

  • 3. The Examiners shall indicate on the pass list each candidate who has not passed the examination, but who has passed in one subject, and shall indicate in which subject the candidate has passed.

  • 4. The Examination shall be under the joint supervision of the Board of the Faculty of Philosophy and the Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Board, which shall appoint a standing joint committee to make regulations concerning it, subject always to the preceding clauses of this sub-section.

  • 5.

    • (i) The Examiners for Physics and Mathematics shall be such of the Examiners in the Preliminary Examination in Physics as may be designated by the Chair of Examiners for the Preliminary Examination in Physics.

    • (ii) The Examiners for Philosophy shall be nominated by a committee of which the three elected members shall be appointed by the Board of the Faculty of Philosophy.

  • 6. Candidates who do not pass the examination at their first sitting may re-enter on one subsequent occasion as follows:

    • (i) Candidates must re-take any papers failed at the first attempt, and

    • (ii) Candidates who fail two or more papers in Physics and Mathematics must retake all the papers in that subject.


Distinction can be obtained by excellence either in Physics and Mathematics or in Philosophy provided that adequate knowledge is shown in the other subject of the examination.

Candidates will be required to take five papers, as follows:

  • (a) three papers in Physics and Mathematics;

  • (b) two papers in Philosophy.

(a) Physics and Mathematics

Candidates will be required to take the following three papers:

  • (1) CP1 Physics 1

  • (2) CP3 Mathematical Methods 1

  • (3) CP4 Mathematical Methods 2.

Their syllabuses shall be approved by the Faculty of Physics and published in the Physics Course Handbook not later than the beginning of Michaelmas Full Term for examination three terms thence. Except for papers for which their use is forbidden, the Moderators will permit the use of any hand-held calculator subject to the conditions set out under the heading ‘Use of calculators in examinations’ in the Regulations for the Conduct of University Examinations and further elaborated in the Physics Course Handbook.

(b) Philosophy

Candidates will be required to take two papers:

  • (1) Elements of Deductive Logic

    As specified for the Preliminary Examination in Mathematics and Philosophy.

  • (2) Introduction to Philosophy

    The paper shall consist of two parts:

    • A. General Philosophy

      As specified for the Preliminary Examination in Mathematics and Philosophy.

    • B. Leibniz-Clarke

      This section shall be studied principally as an introduction to the philosophy of space and time in connection with The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence, ed. H. G. Alexander, Manchester University Press, 1956. This section, while not being confined to the detailed views of the author of the set text, will be satisfactorily answerable by a candidate who has made a critical study of the text. There will not be a compulsory question containing passages for comment.

Candidates will be required to attempt four questions, and answer at least one question from Part A and at least one question from Part B.