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

PHYS 141General Physics IA4
PHYS 132General Physics II (B3 & B4) 1,24
PHYS 133General Physics III 14
PHYS 206Experimental Physics 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 322Vibrations and Waves3
PHYS 405Quantum Mechanics I4
PHYS 408Electromagnetic Fields and Waves I4
PHYS 461Senior Project I2
or PHYS 463 Senior Project - Laboratory Research I
MATH 141Calculus I (B1) 24
MATH 142Calculus II (B1) 24
MATH 143Calculus III4
MATH 241Calculus IV4
MATH 244Linear Analysis I4
MATH 304Vector Analysis4
Upper-division Electives
Select from the following:23
Laboratory Electives
Select one from the following: 1,4
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 15 units from the following: 1,3,5
Any 300-400 level courses with PHYS, ASTR, or GEOL prefix
OR one of the following:
The Scientific Revolution, c. 1500-1800
Philosophy of Science
Philosophy of Space, Time and Matter
Ethics in the Sciences
Breadth Electives
Select 7 units from any 300-400 level course.
(See GE program requirements below.)60
Free Electives (CHEM 124 & CHEM 125 recommended)28
Total units180

Major courses with lab component may not be taken as CR/NC grading:
PHYS 132, PHYS 133, PHYS 206, 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.


Total combined elective credit in PHYS 400, PHYS 404, ASTR 400, ASTR 404, GEOL 400, and GEOL 404 limited to 8 units, with a maximum of 2 units per quarter.


Units in excess of 1 unit will count towards Technical Elective units.


Excess units will count toward Breadth Elective units. 

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; also satisfies GE.