Jan 29, 2020  
University Catalog 2016-2017 (ARCHIVED June 2017) 
    
University Catalog 2016-2017 (ARCHIVED June 2017) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics, B.A.


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Departmental Honors Program

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers an honors program for qualified students. Students may apply in their junior year after completing PHYS  2100-2300.  Candidates must maintain a B (3.0) grade point average both in their major and overall. Completion of the honors program requires 2 units of independent, research-oriented study (PHYS 3960) and presentation of the work in a colloquium. Graduation with honors in Physics is conferred upon those students whom the faculty of the department deem worthy after presentation of the colloquium. Diplomas and transcripts of honors program graduates are designated: “Graduated with Departmental Honors in Physics.”

Physics, B.A.

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics provides a program appropriate for students interested in such careers as teaching, public service, business, or science journalism. This program does not include the advanced study needed by students who wish to prepare for careers as physicists, but provides the breadth needed for many other innovative and challenging occupations.

The total number of units required for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics is 120 units, of which 81 units are in the major. Two options are available: General and Astrophysics. Consult with an advisor for the specific number of units required in all areas of the degree including GE and free electives.

Requirements for the Major (81 units)


General Program

The major includes 81 units, 38 in lower division and 43 in upper division courses, with a total of 120 units required for the degree. Students must earn a grade of C or higher in all courses used to meet major requirements.

Lower Division Required Courses (38 units)


Upper Division Electives (34 units)


PHYS or ASTR Electives (14-17 units)


Select 14-17 units in upper division physics and/or astronomy courses with approval of advisor.

Science Electives (6-9 units)


Select additional  science or science-related, upper division classes, with advisor approval (6-9 units)

Other Electives (11 units)


Select 11 upper division units in other fields, with advisor approval.

Option in Astrophysics


The Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics, Astrophysics option, is a physics degree with specialization in astronomy. It prepares students for professional employment in community organizations including public observatories and science museums, as well as employment in industry and research laboratories.  Students preparing for graduate work in astrophysics should choose the Bachelor of Science degree in Physics, and select courses in astronomy for the elective requirement.

The Astrophysics option provides strong technical skills in the context of applying physics to solve astrophysical problems. Students develop strong computational skills, gain experimental skills using telescopes and imaging detectors, and learn statistics and data analysis skills from working with online astronomical datasets. The capstone experience is the Astronomy 4900 Community Astrophysics Project. Students visit community organizations such as Griffith Observatory and the California Science Center. Working in teams, students create a computer animated exhibit for the public using their astrophysics knowledge and computational background.

Requirements for the Major (81 units)

The major with this option consists of 81 units in physics, astronomy, and related fields, of which 38 are in lower division and 43 in upper division courses. Students must earn a grade of C or higher in all courses used to meet major and option requirements.

Lower Division Required Courses (38 units)


Upper Division Electives (29 units)


PHYS or ASTR Electives (12-15 units)


Select 12-15 units in upper division physics or astronomy courses with approval of advisor.

Science Electives (6-9 units)


Select 6-9 additional science or science-related, upper division classes, with advisor approval.

Other Electives (8 units)


Select 8 upper division units in PHYS and/or ASTR and/or other sciences and/or other non-science fields, with advisor approval.

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