Major Requirements
The program for physics majors is composed of the Physics Foundation and one of six concentrations (Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Geology, Education and Computer Science.) Details for each concentration are listed below.
Students can also supplement their programs by taking courses at the California Institute of Technology under the exchange program.
In addition to the Physics Foundation, all physics majors must complete one of the following Physics concentrations. Upon graduation, the student's transcript will list both the major (Physics) and the chosen concentration.
PHYSICS FOUNDATION
All physics majors must complete a core of four physics courses called the Foundation. Accompanying these physics courses must be work in mathematics including Multivariable Calculus and Linear Systems.
Introductory sequence
Mathematics Component
Concentrations
Some of the five concentrations require Physics Selectives (courses from the 260 or 360 series, or 300-level courses below 390 not otherwise required for the concentration).
Concentration in Physics (28 units):
Recommended for students who wish a thorough background in physics and for those who wish to pursue professional or graduate work in physics or engineering.
PHYS 310 | Mathematical Methods in Physics | 4 units |
PHYS 315 | Advanced Laboratory I | 2 units |
PHYS 316 | Advanced Laboratory II | 2 units |
PHYS 320 | Analytical Dynamics | 4 units |
PHYS 330 | Advanced Electromagnetism | 4 units |
PHYS 340 | Quantum Mechanics | 4 units |
PHYS 350 | Statistical Physics | 4 units |
| Physics Selective | 4 units |
Concentration in Mathematics (32 units):
Recommended for students who wish a broader mathematics or computer science background.
PHYS 310 | Mathematical Methods in Physics | 4 units |
PHYS 320 | Analytical Dynamics | 4 units |
PHYS 350 | Statistical Physics | 4 units |
| Physics Selective | 4 units |
| Any other 300-level Physics courses | 8 units |
| Any other 300-level Math courses not including Junior Seminar | 8 units |
These courses must be in addition to those required math courses listed in the Foundation.
Concentration in Chemistry (32 units):
Recommended for students who wish a broader physical science background.
CHEM 120 | Foundations of General Chemistry | 4 units |
| Or | |
CHEM 130 | Advanced Placement General Chemistry | 4 units |
CHEM 220 | Organic Chemistry I | 4 units |
CHEM 221 | Organic Chemistry II | 4 units |
CHEM 240 | Integrated Concepts in General Chemistry | 4 units |
PHYS 310 | Mathematical Methods in Physics | 4 units |
PHYS 320 | Analytical Dynamics | 4 units |
PHYS 330 | Advanced Electromagnetism | 4 units |
| Or | |
PHYS 340 | Quantum Mechanics | 4 units |
PHYS 350 | Statistical Physics | 4 units |
Concentration in Geology (28 units):
Recommended for students who wish to pursue careers in geology or geophysics.
GEO 105 | Earth: Our Environment | 4 units |
GEO 225 | Introduction to Field Methods | 4 units |
GEO 235 | Global Geophysics and Tectonics | 4 units |
GEO 245 | Earth's Climate: Past and Future | 4 units |
| Or | |
GEO | One 300-level Geology course | |
PHYS 310 | Mathematical Methods in Physics | 4 units |
| Two of the following | |
PHYS 320 | Analytical Dynamics | 4 units |
PHYS 330 | Advanced Electromagnetism | 4 units |
PHYS 350 | Statistical Physics | 4 units |
Concentration in Education (28 units):
This concentration is recommended for students who wish to pursue careers in secondary science education. EDUC 314 is highly recommended.
PHYS 320 | Analytical Dynamics | 4 units |
| Physics Selectives | 12 units |
EDUC 201 | Sociocultural Foundations of Education | 4 units |
EDUC 207 | Conflict in Education | 4 units |
And four units of:
EDUC 300 | Community Engagement in Education | 2 units |
Concentration in Computer Science (32 units):
MATH 210 | Discrete Mathematics | 4 units |
COMP 131 | Fundamentals of Computer Science | 4 units |
COMP 229 | Data Structures | 4 units |
COMP 239 | Computer Organization | 4 units |
| One additional 300-level Computer Science course not including Practicum and Junior Seminar | 4 units |
PHYS 310 | Mathematical Methods in Physics | 4 units |
And two of the following:
PHYSICS "CAPSTONE"
Physics "Capstone":
All physics majors must complete the Senior Seminar sequence:
PHYS 490 | Senior Physics Seminar I | 2 units |
| And | |
PHYS 491 | Senior Physics Seminar II | 2 units |
Majors participating in an off-campus program during the Senior year may repeat PHYS 490 or PHYS 491 to satisfy this requirement.