BA Physics

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Program Learning Objectives 

  1. Demonstrate a good understanding of both the theoretical concepts and mathematical techniques of the major fields of physics: classical mechanics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, and quantum physics.
  2. Work safely with modern laboratory equipment to carry out measurements and analyze data.
  3. Use computers to perform numerical computations, to simulate physical phenomena, and to collect and analyze data in the laboratory.
  4. Communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.
  5. Move successfully into graduate school or industry.

Degree Requirements and Curriculum

In addition to the program requirements listed on this page, students must also satisfy requirements outlined in more detail in the Minimum Requirements for Graduation section of this catalog, including:

  • 60 units of upper division courses
  • Graduation Writing Requirement (GWR)
  • 2.0 GPA
  • U.S. Cultural Pluralism (USCP)

Note: No major courses with a lab component may be selected as credit/no credit.1

PHYS 141General Physics IA4
PHYS 132General Physics II (B3 & B4) 1,24
PHYS 133General Physics III 14
PHYS 206Experimental Physics3
PHYS 211Modern Physics I4
PHYS 212Modern Physics II4
PHYS 256Electrical Measurements Laboratory 11
PHYS 301Thermal Physics I4
PHYS 302Classical Mechanics I4
PHYS 322Vibrations and Waves3
PHYS 405Quantum Mechanics I3-4
or PHYS 412 Solid State Physics
PHYS 461Senior Project I2
or PHYS 463 Senior Project - Laboratory Research I
Select from the following:3-4
The Scientific Revolution, c. 1500-1800 (D5)
Philosophy of Science (C4)
Philosophy of Space, Time and Matter
Ethics in the Sciences
CHEM 124General Chemistry for Physical Science and Engineering I4
CHEM 125General Chemistry for Physical Science and Engineering II4
MATH 141Calculus I (B1) 24
MATH 142Calculus II (B1) 24
MATH 143Calculus III4
MATH 241Calculus IV4
MATH 244Linear Analysis I4
MATH/STAT elective (300-400 level; MATH 344 recommended)4
Physics elective (300-400 level) 1,316
(See GE program requirements below.)60
Free Electives (PHYS 202 recommended) 427-29
Total units180

Major courses with lab component may not be taken as CR/NC grading:
PHYS 132, PHYS 133, PHYS 256, PHYS 323, PHYS 340, PHYS 341, PHYS 342, PHYS 357, PHYS 417, PHYS 422, PHYS 423, PHYS 452, ASTR 444.


Required in Major; also satisfies GE.


Select at least one of the following:
PHYS 323, PHYS 340, PHYS 341, PHYS 357, PHYS 417, PHYS 422, PHYS 423, PHYS 452, ASTR 444.

In addition, choose courses with the prefixes PHYS, ASTR or GEOL (but no more than 6 units from each of ASTR and GEOL).


Care must be taken when selecting electives to ensure compliance with the “60 units upper division” requirement.

General Education (GE) Requirements

  • 72 units required, 12 of which are specified in Major and/or Support.
  • See the complete GE course listing.
  • Minimum of 12 units required at the 300 level.
Area ACommunication
A1Expository Writing4
A2Oral Communication4
A3Reasoning, Argumentation and Writing4
Area BScience and Mathematics
B1Mathematics/Statistics (8 units in Major) 10
B2Life Science4
B3Physical Science (4 units in Major) 10
B4One lab taken with either a B2 or B3 course
Area CArts and Humanities
C3Fine/Performing Arts4
C4Upper-division elective4
Area C elective(Choose one course from C1-C5)4
Area D/ESociety and the Individual
D1The American Experience (Title 5, Section 40404 requirement)4
D2Political Economy4
D3Comparative Social Institutions4
D4Self Development (CSU Area E)4
D5Upper-division elective4
Area FTechnology
F Upper-division elective4
Total units60

Required in Major.