The first year or so of graduate study is usually filled with course work in basic subject areas, including quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics, and electricity and magnetism. Formal requirements include courses for breadth distribution, but most students find that solid course coverage is to their advantage. Basic courses may be followed by more specialized and advanced theoretical courses, as well as by courses in other departments. Formal . degree requirements include two written examinations and one oral comprehensive examination. The most important step in the doctoral pursuit, however, is finding a thesis supervisor; students are advised to begin this search early in their graduate career.