Sep 24, 2022  
University Catalog 2021-2022 
University Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics, B.S.

Program Overview

The Bachelor of Science degree in Physics, which requires a total of  120 units, may be used as preparation for graduate work or as a qualifying degree for professional employment. Selection of electives in astronomy provides substantial background for students planning graduate study in that field.

Programs in physics are built on a foundation of high school studies in mathematics and physical sciences. For completion of a Bachelor of Science degree program in 8 semesters, high school preparation is recommended in physics, chemistry, geometry, trigonometry, and algebra (two years).

In planning their university programs, students who wish to prepare for graduate study in physics are advised to include 8 units of  a foreign language, a portion of which will earn general education credit. Student participation in research is strongly encouraged.

The total number of units required for the Bachelor of Science degree in Physics is 120 units, of which  81 or 84 units are in the major depending on the option selected. Some of the required major classes can be double counted to fulfill University GE requirements. Consult with an advisor for the specific number of units required in all areas of the degree including GE and free electives.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers an honors program for qualified students. Students may apply in their junior year after completing PHYS 2100 PHYS 2200  and PHYS 3300 PHYS 3400 . 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.”


I. General Option (81 units)

  • Requirements for the Option : 81 units
  • Students must earn a minimum grade of C or higher in all courses used to meet major requirements.

Electives (19 units)

Science Electives (10 units)

Select 10 units of additional science or science-related courses, with advisor approval.  At least 6 of these units must be at the 3000-level or higher.  Courses that are used to meet the requirements for the Program Core, the Option Required Courses, or the PHYS/ASTR Electives cannot be double-counted for the Science Elective credits.

II. Biophysics Option (84 units)

  • This option may be used as preparation for graduate work in biophysics or as a degree for professional employment.
  • Requirements for the option: 84 units
  • Students must earn a minimum grade of C or higher in all courses used to meet major and option requirements.

Electives (13-14 units)

  • Select 13-14 units of courses in PHYS, CHEM, BIOL, or a related subject, with advisor approval. Courses that are taken to satisfy this Directed Elective requirement can not be double-counted for the program core or the option required courses credits.
  • At least 6 units must be at the 3000-level or higher.
  • The total number of required and electives units must add up to a minimum of 84 units.