Jul 16, 2024  
University Catalog 2023-2024 
University Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics, B.S.

Location(s): Main Campus

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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.

Program Requirements

  • 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.
  • Students must earn a minimum grade of C or higher in all courses used to meet major requirements.
  • Honor 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 PHYS 2200 PHYS 3300 , and 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.”



Admission Criteria Learning Outcomes Roadmap (2018)   

Requirements for the Major (81 or 84 units)

Requirements for the Core (46 units)

Option Requirements (35 or 38 units)

Select one option.

Option I. General Option (35 units)

Directed Electives (19 units)

Science Electives (10 units)

  1. Select 10 units of science or science-related courses, with advisor approval.
  2. At least 6 of these units must be at the 3000-level or higher.
  3. 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.

Option II. Biophysics Option (38 units)

Lower Division Required Courses for the Option (15 units)

Upper Division Required Courses for the Option (9 or 10 units)

Directed Electives (13 or 14 units)

  1. With advisor approval, select courses to complete the remaining units.
  2. At least 6 units must be at the 3000-level or higher.
  3. 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.

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