Physics Major Requirements

Requirements for the Major in Physics

Number of Units

Eight courses in physics, numbered 150 and higher, with a minimum grade of C- are required for the major. A SIP in physics is not required for the major and, if completed, does not count toward the eight courses. A maximum of one AP, IB, dual enrollment, transfer, or study abroad credit may be counted toward the eight courses. Any number of required cognates may be met with AP, IB, dual enrollment credit, or local placement exam results. Departmental approval is required for all use of AP, IB, dual enrollment credit, and transfer credit toward major requirements. Students transferring from another college or university may receive credit for multiple courses in physics, subject to Departmental approval.

Required Courses

PHYS 150, 152, Introductory Physics I and II, with Lab
PHYS 220 Intro to Relativity and Quantum Physics with Lab
PHYS 370 Electronics and Electromagnetism with Lab

Four additional physics courses, 200 level or above, with at least three of these courses at the 300 level or above.

Required Cognates

  • MATH 112, 113, and 214 Calculus I, II, and III
  • MATH 240 Linear Algebra and Vectors
  • MATH 280 Differential Equations and Numerical Methods
  • All cognates in math must be at C- or above.

Successful completion of the major requires taking a departmental comprehensive exam, normally offered in late January of the senior year. The Advanced Physics GRE exam may be used in place of the locally administered departmental exam.

A least one course in Computer Science, one course in Complex Systems, and MATH 310, Complex and Vector Variables, are recommended for all students in the major. Students planning on graduate study in Physics, Applied Physics, or Electrical Engineering should take both PHYS 380 and 410, and PHYS 420, Quantum Mechanics. Students interested in further study in environmental engineering or related programs should take CHEM 110 and 120, and consider additional coursework in chemistry and biology. Students interested in biological physics or neuroscience should explore the concentrations available in those

Requirements for the Minor in Physics

Number of Units

Six units, exclusive of lab credit, in Physics are required, with a minimum grade of C-.

Required Courses

  • PHYS 150, 152 Introductory Physics I, II with Lab
  • PHYS 220 Intro to Relativity and Quantum Physics with Lab
  • Three additional physics courses, two at the 200 level or above and at least one at the 300 level or above.

Students may not major in 3/2 engineering and minor in physics.