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 a career in teaching 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

Note: Students intending to double major must consult the physics department chair, preferably prior to sophomore year.

PHYS 141General Physics IA4
PHYS 132General Physics II (B3 & B4) 1,24
PHYS 133General Physics III 14
PHYS 206Electronics and Instrumentation 14
or PHYS 202 Physics on the Computer
PHYS 211Modern Physics I4
PHYS 212Modern Physics II4
PHYS 301Thermal Physics I4
PHYS 302Classical Mechanics I4
PHYS 320Methods of Theoretical Physics I4
PHYS 405Quantum Mechanics I4
PHYS 408Electromagnetic Fields and Waves I4
PHYS 461Senior Project I2
MATH 141Calculus I (B1) 24
MATH 142Calculus II (B1) 24
MATH 143Calculus III4
MATH 206Linear Algebra I4
MATH 241Calculus IV4
MATH 242Differential Equations I4
Upper-division Electives
Select from the following:22
Laboratory Electives
Select one from the following: 1,3
Observational Astronomy
Quantum Physics Laboratory I
Quantum Physics Laboratory II
Advanced Instrumentation in Experimental Physics
Nonlinear Dynamical Systems
Polymer Electronics Laboratory
Advanced Optics
Solid State Physics Laboratory
Technical Electives
Select 14 units from the following: 1,4,5
Any 300-400 level courses with PHYS, ASTR, or GEOL prefix course. 6
OR one of the following:
The Scientific Revolution, c. 1500-1800
Philosophy of Science
Ethics, Science and Technology
Philosophy of Space, Time and Matter
Breadth Electives
Select 7 units from any 300-400 level course.
(See GE program requirements below.)60
Free Electives 728
Total units180

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 BMath, Science, and Quantitative Reasoning
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
B7Upper-division elective4
Area CArts and Humanities
C3Fine/Performing Arts4
C4Upper-division elective4
Area C elective(Choose one course from C1-C5)4
Area DSociety and the Individual
D1The American Experience (Title 5, Section 40404 requirement)4
D2Political Economy4
D3Comparative Social Institutions4
D5Upper-division elective4
Area ELifelong Learning and Self-Development
ELower-division elective4
Total units60