Physics Major

Students must also complete the Undergraduate Registration Requirement and the degree requirements of their home school.

The physics major is designed to help students acquire a broad and varied background in physics and related fields; it provides an excellent intellectual foundation for many careers. The three basic steps toward completing the major are fulfilling prerequisites in introductory physics and calculus; taking a core sequence (common to all concentrations) of classical physics, modern physics, and mathematics; and completing a course concentration.

Course Title
Prerequisites
MATH 220-0
MATH 224-0
Differential Calculus of One-Variable Functions
and Integral Calculus of One-Variable Functions
or MATH 212-0
MATH 213-0
MATH 214-0
Single Variable Calculus I
and Single Variable Calculus II
and Single Variable Calculus III
PHYSICS 140-1
PHYSICS 140-2
PHYSICS 140-3
PHYSICS 136-1
PHYSICS 136-2
PHYSICS 136-3
Fundamentals of Physics
and Fundamentals of Physics
and Fundamentals of Physics
and General Physics Laboratory
and General Physics Laboratory
and General Physics Laboratory
or PHYSICS 135-1
PHYSICS 135-2
PHYSICS 135-3
PHYSICS 136-1
PHYSICS 136-2
PHYSICS 136-3
General Physics
and General Physics
and General Physics
and General Physics Laboratory
and General Physics Laboratory
and General Physics Laboratory
or PHYSICS 125-1
PHYSICS 125-2
PHYSICS 125-3
PHYSICS 126-1
PHYSICS 126-2
PHYSICS 126-3
General Physics ISP
and General Physics for ISP
and General Physics for ISP
and Physics for ISP Laboratory
and Physics for ISP Laboratory
and Physics for ISP Laboratory
Major Requirements (units vary, depending on math courses and concentration selected)
10–11 core courses (depending on math concentration)
Core mathematics and mathematical tools courses listed below or equivalent courses approved by the department:
Differential Calculus of Multivariable Functions
and Multiple Integration and Vector Calculus
Mathematical Tools for the Physical Sciences
and Mathematical Tools for the Physical Sciences
Linear Algebra
and Elementary Differential Equations
and Fourier Analysis and Boundary Value Problems
Core physics courses:
Foundations of Modern Physics
Classical Mech
Statistical Mechanics
Advanced Electricity & Magnetism
Quantum Mechanics
1 lab course chosen from:
Observational Astrophysics
Optics Laboratory
Nanolithography
Electronics
General Physics Laboratory (may not also count toward the concentration)
5–6 courses in the chosen concentration (A course may not be counted toward more than one requirement.)

Concentrations

Advanced Physics (6 units)

Course Title
PHYSICS 330-2Classical Mechanics
PHYSICS 333-2Advanced Electricity & Magnetism
PHYSICS 339-2Quantum Mechanics
1 lab course from:
Observational Astrophysics
Optics Laboratory
Nanolithography
Electronics
General Physics Laboratory
2 other 300-level physics or astronomy courses other than:
Mathematical Tools for the Physical Sciences
and Mathematical Tools for the Physical Sciences
Physics of Magic
Independent Thesis Research
Independent Study
Honors Independent Study
Independent Study

Astronomy (6 units)

Course Title
PHYSICS 330-2Classical Mechanics
PHYSICS 333-2Advanced Electricity & Magnetism
PHYSICS 339-2Quantum Mechanics
ASTRON 220-0Introduction to Astrophysics
2 other 300-level astronomy classes other than ASTRON 398-0 or ASTRON 399-0

Flexible (5 units)

Course Title
3 300-level physics or astronomy lecture or lab courses
2 courses from the following:
Introduction to Biomedical Signals and Electrical Circuits
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Materials and Nanochemistry
Introduction to Feedback Systems
Electronic Materials: Properties and Applications
Applied Dynamical Systems
Phase Equilibria & Diffusion of Materials
Soft Materials
Introductory Physics of Materials
Introductory Physics of Materials
Crystallography & Diffraction
Nanomaterials
Chaotic Dynamical Systems
Chaotic Dynamical Systems
Introduction to Tribology
Nanotechnology
Any 300-level physics or astronomy lecture or lab course that is not otherwise required
May not count toward any of these requirements:
Mathematical Tools for the Physical Sciences
and Mathematical Tools for the Physical Sciences
Physics of Magic
Independent Thesis Research
Independent Study
Honors Independent Study
Independent Study

Honors in Physics and Astronomy

Majors with strong records in their physics, astronomy, and mathematic courses and an interest in pursuing honors should notify the director of undergraduate studies in October of senior year. Eligible students must enroll for 2 units of PHYSICS 398-0 Independent Thesis Research by the time of graduation. They participate in research culminating in a written report.

Students whose research reports and grades meet department criteria are recommended to the college for graduation with honors. For more information consult the director of undergraduate studies and see Honors in the Major.