Major
The program for physics majors is composed of the Physics Foundation and one of seven concentrations (Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Geology, Education, Computer Science, or Renewable Energy.) 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.
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.
PHYS 110 | Introductory Mechanics | 4 units |
Or | | |
PHYS 115 | General Physics I | 4 units |
PHYS 117 | Waves and Thermal Physics | 4 units |
PHYS 230 | Introductory Electricity and Magnetism | 4 units |
PHYS 240 | Foundations of Modern Physics | 4 units |
| | |
MATH 212 | Multivariable Calculus | 4 units |
MATH 214 | Linear Algebra | 4 units |
Concentrations
Some of the 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 340 | Quantum Mechanics | 4 units |
| | |
PHYS 330 | Advanced Electromagnetism | 4 units |
Or | | |
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 | Earth: A field perspective | 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 |
PHYS 320 | Analytical Dynamics | 4 units |
And | | |
One course from: | | |
PHYS 330 | Advanced Electromagnetism | 4 units |
PHYS 340 | Quantum Mechanics | 4 units |
PHYS 350 | Statistical Physics | 4 units |
PHYS 330 is strongly encouraged.
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.
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 |
PHYS 320 | Analytical Dynamics | 4 units |
One course from: | | |
PHYS 330 | Advanced Electromagnetism | 4 units |
PHYS 340 | Quantum Mechanics | 4 units |
PHYS 350 | Statistical Physics | 4 units |
Concentration in Renewable Energy (32 units):
PHYS 320 | Analytical Dynamics | 4 units |
PHYS 370 | Energy Physics | 4 units |
MATH 150 | Statistical Data Analysis | 4 units |
ECON 101 | Principles of Economics I | 4 units |
ECON 102 | Principles of Economics II | 4 units |
ECON 322 | Economics of Sustainable Development | 4 units |
| Physics Selective | 4 units |
| | |
Two of the following: | | |
ECON 201 | Sustainability Lab | 2 units |
INT 200 | Internship | 2 units |
When ECON 322 is not offered, students may substitute ECON 301 with Physics department approval.
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.
Honors in the Major
Senior physics majors with an overall grade point average of 3.25 are permitted to present an oral and written thesis on their research for College Honors consideration at graduation. Consult the department chair for details.
Minor
Introductory sequence
PHYS 110 | Introductory Mechanics | 4 units |
Or | | |
PHYS 115 | General Physics I | 4 units |
| | |
PHYS 117 | Waves and Thermal Physics | 4 units |
PHYS 230 | Introductory Electricity and Magnetism | 4 units |
PHYS 240 | Foundations of Modern Physics | 4 units |
Mathematics Component
Physics Selectives
Eight units of additional electives.