BS 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 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 course 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 202Physics on the Computer4
PHYS 206Experimental Physics 14
PHYS 211Modern Physics I4
PHYS 212Modern Physics II4
PHYS 301Thermal Physics I4
PHYS 302Classical Mechanics I4
PHYS 322Vibrations and Waves3
PHYS 340Quantum Physics Laboratory I 12
PHYS 341Quantum Physics Laboratory II 12
PHYS 405Quantum Mechanics I4
PHYS 408Electromagnetic Fields and Waves I4
PHYS 461Senior Project I2
or PHYS 463 Senior Project - Laboratory Research I
PHYS 462Senior Project II2
or PHYS 464 Senior Project - Laboratory Research II
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 304Vector Analysis4
MATH 344Linear Analysis II4
Technical Electives
Select from the following:21
Mathematical Physics Elective 7
Theoretical Physics
Partial Differential Equations
Physics Electives 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8
Select 11 units from the following:
Any 300-400 level PHYS prefix course, or ASTR 444;
And two courses must be labs selected from:
Observational Astronomy
Quantum Physics Laboratory III
Advanced Instrumentation in Experimental Physics
Nonlinear Dynamical Systems
Polymer Electronics Laboratory
Advanced Optics
Solid State Physics Laboratory
Breadth Electives 1, 3, 4, 5, 6
Select 7 units from the following:
Any 300-400 level PHYS, ASTR, GEOL, MATH, STAT or CSC, or CSC 101, CSC 231, CSC 234, CSC 235 (excludes ASTR 324, CSC 302, CSC 310).
(See GE program requirements below.)60
Free Electives8
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.


For students anticipating an industrial career, PHYS 323, PHYS 357, PHYS 412, PHYS 413, PHYS 423, and PHYS 452 are suggested.


For students anticipating graduate work in physics, PHYS 303, PHYS 401, PHYS 406, PHYS 409, PHYS 424, and MATH 408 are suggested. PHYS 357 is suggested for students who anticipate becoming experimental physicists.


 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.


ASTR 444 can be used only once in the technical electives. If used to meet the Laboratory Technical Elective, excess units will go into Physics or Breadth Electives.


Units in excess of 3 units will count towards Physics Elective units.


Excess units will count towards 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.