Physics Major

The course requirements for a physics major are divided into three groups:

  1. Core Courses are physics courses which form the core of the major.
  2. Support and Elective Courses are courses in other academic disciplines that are needed to understand physics.
  3. General Education Courses needed by every educated person.

The courses listed below are the current academic requirements for graduation. However, students are bound by the course requirements in effect at the date of their matriculation unless they file a general academic petition to substitute the current course requirements.

For a description of the contents of these courses see the Catalog listings, or for information about when they are taught see the How to Schedule listings.

CORE COURSES

A 2.0 cumulative GPA is required in core courses, including option courses for the major, in order to receive a degree in physics.

The following 69 units of courses are required of all physics majors.

Course Number Course Name Units
PHY 131 General Physics
3
PHY 131L General Physics Laboratory
1
PHY 132 General Physics
3
PHY 132L General Physics Laboratory
1
PHY 133 General Physics
3
PHY 133L General Physics Laboratory
1
PHY 234 General Physics
3
PHY 234L General Physics Laboratory
1
PHY 235 Elementary Modern Physics
3
PHY 235L Elementary Modern Physics Laboratory
1
PHY 308 Fundamentals of Mathematical Physics
4
PHY 309 Fundamentals of Mathematical Physics
4
PHY 314 Physics of Electricity and Magnetic Phenomena
4
PHY 315 Physics of Electricity and Magnetic Phenomena
4
PHY 321 Mechanics
4
PHY 322 Mechanics
4
PHY 333 Thermal Physics
4
PHY 401 Quantum Mechanics
4
PHY 402 Quantum Mechanics
4
PHY 417 Optics
3
PHY 417L Optics Laboratory
1
PHY 430L Advanced Physics Laboratory
1
PHY 431L Solid State Physics Laboratory
1
PHY 432L Nuclear Physics Laboratory
1
PHY 461 Senior Project
2
PHY 462 Senior Project
2
PHY 463 Undergraduate Seminar
2

SUPPORT AND ELECTIVE COURSES

The following 57 units of courses are required of all physics majors.

Course Number Course Name Units
CHM 122/122L General Chemistry
3/1
CHM 123/123L General Chemistry
3/1
CS 128
CS 125
Introduction to C++
or FORTRAN
4
4
MAT 115 Analytic Geometry and Calculus II
4
MAT 116 Analytic Geometry and Calculus III
4
MAT 214 Calculus of Several Variables
4
MAT 215 Calculus of Several Variables
4
MAT 216 Differential Equations
4
  Advanced Electives *
12
  Unrestricted Electives
15

* To be chosen from upper division courses in Physics or related fields in consultation with advisor; at least 4 units of these must be in Physics.

GENERAL EDUCATION COURSES

The following 64 units of courses are suggested for physics majors in order to minimize the number of units required for graduation. However, any course on the universitiy's approved list or articulated transfer credit will meet the explicit general education requirement, but perhaps not some other prerequisite or graduation requirement.

Course Number Course Name Units
Area A    
ENG 104  1. Freshman English I 4
 2. Select one course from this area. 4
 3. Select one course from this area. 4
Area B    
MAT 114  1. Analytic Geometry and Calculus 4
CHM 121/121L  2. General Chemistry 3/1
BIO 110/111L
BIO 115/115L
 3. Life Science and Life Science Lab
      or  Basic Biology
3/1
3/2
 4. Select one course in consultation with advisor 4
Area C    
 1. Select one course from this area. 4
 2. Select one course from this area. 4
 3. Select one course from this area. 4
 4. Select one course from this area. 4
Area D    
PLS 201
HST 202
 1. Introduction to American Government
    and   U.S. History
4
4
 2. Select one course from this area. 4
 3. Select one course from this area. 4
 4. Select one course from this area. 4
 Area E    
 Select one course from this area. 4