My question is directed at anyone who currently is enrolled or was enrolled in Penn States PHD program as well as any faculty. Any other advise though would of course be appreciated. I was wondering what am I expected to be proficient in or to know prior to me starting in the fall semester. Other programs such as Cal Tech I know answer this on their page by stating textbooks you should have studied through. I remember in particular they said be comfortable with Classical Mechanics on the level of GoldStein. Now I have a friend doing his PHD in Philadelphia and he says his first graduate course actually was going through Goldstein. Obviously different programs expect different levels of knowledge which leads to my question. I will be pursuing to studying the interfacing of ideas in general relativity and quantum mechanics, cosmology, etc. which at Penn State will be learning towards Ashtekar's Loop theory I would imagine. For instance I will have to go over Goldstein again if need be but have taken a graduate course in General Relativity. I would just like to identify any gaps in my mathematical and Physics knowledge compared to what is expected to be already known. Feel free to answer any way you think will help whether its by textbooks or actual topics. Thanks in advance for any help!