The physics option offers instruction in the fundamentals of modern physics and provides a foundation for graduate study, which is generally necessary for a career in basic research. The physics program also forms an excellent basis for future work in a variety of applied fields.
An intensive version of the sophomore physics course (waves, quantum mechanics, and statistical mechanics) is offered for those planning further study in physics and the required junior-level courses give a thorough treatment of fundamental principles. Elective courses taken during the junior and senior years allow students to explore their particular interest. Some electives offer broad surveys, while others concentrate on particular fields of current research. A choice of laboratory course is offered at several levels. Students interested in concentrating their studies in one specific area of physics should refer to the undergraduate physics website for course schedule recommendations.
Students are encouraged to become active participants in research on campus, both during the summer and during the school year. Academic credit for physics work done outside of the classroom can be awarded in a variety of ways.
Students must maintain a grade-point average of 1.9 or better each year in the subjects listed under this division to remain in the physics option.
Ph Option Requirements
The first five requirements should be completed by the end of the second year. In planning a program, note that Ph 6 and Ph 7 are each offered only once per year, in the second and third terms, respectively. The pass/fail option cannot be exercised for any courses used for these requirements with the exception of courses that do not offer grades.
- Ph 3.1
- Ma 2 and Ma 3.
- Ph 12 abc.
- Ph 6.
- Ph 7 or APh/EE 24.2
- 18 units of Ph 77, or 27 units of Ph 78 (experimental thesis project), or 9 units of Ph 77 and 9 units from APh 77 or Ay 105, or 9 units of Ph 77 and 9 units of Ph 177.
- Ph 70.3
- Ph 106 abc.
- Ph 125 ab.
- Ph 21 or Ph 22 or one term of Ph 121 abc or Ay 190, or APh/MS 141.
1 Other laboratory courses may be substituted for the Ph 3 requirement, including Ph 5, Ph 8 bc, or APh 9 a.
2 APh 23 is a prerequisite for APh/EE 24 and can be used towards the advanced physics elective requirement.
3 Other communication courses e.g., Ay 30 (or Ay 141) and 31 or Ma 10 and 11 may be substituted for Ph 70.
Ph Required Electives
- 90 units of Advanced Physics Electives, in addition to the above, include any of the following: any Ph, APh, or Ay, course numbered 100 or above, or any of Ph 5, Ph 22, Ph 78, Ph 79, ACM 95, ACM 101, APh/EE 23, Ma 5, Ma 108, or up to 10 units for Ay 20 – 21. Nine units towards the 90 unit requirement will be given for taking three terms of Ph 77. Students are encouraged to take ACM 95 or the quarter of Ph 129 that covers analysis as part of this requirement. The pass/fail option cannot be exercised for any courses used for this requirement with the exception of ACM 95 and courses that do not offer grades. Not more than 36 units of Ph courses numbered 200 or above taken on a pass/fail basis may apply toward this requirement. No more than 18 units of Ph 171-172 may apply toward this requirement without permission from the Undergraduate Option Representative. Additionally, Ph 171-172 may only apply toward this requirement if taken in increments of six units or more and a written summary (2-4 pages in length) of the work completed is submitted to the Undergraduate Option Representative within 2 weeks of the beginning of the subsequent quarter. Students may also petition the Undergraduate Option Representative to request that courses from other options with suitable physics content apply toward this requirement.
- Nine units of science and engineering electives outside of Ph, Ay, APh, Ma, and ACM. These units are in addition to the required Core science electives.
Passing grades must be earned in a total of 486 units, including the courses listed above.
Ph Typical Course Schedule
|Units per term|
|Ph 12 abc||Waves, Quantum Physics, and Statistical Mechanics||9||9||9|
|Ma 2, Ma 3||Sophomore Mathematics||9||9||-|
|Ph 6, Ph 7||Physics Laboratory||-||9||9|
|ACM 95 ab||Intro. Methods of Applied Math||-||12||12|
|Ph 21/22||Computational Physics||-||-||6|
|HSS and/or PE Electives||18||9||9|
|Ph 106 ab||Topics in Classical Physics||9||9||-|
|Ph 121 abc||Advanced Computational Physics||6||6||6|
|Ph 125 ab||Quantum Mechanics||9||9||-|
|Ph 70||Oral & Written Communication||6||-|||
|HSS and/or PE Electives||9||9||9|
|Advanced Physics Electives||9||12||33 |
|Ph 77 abc||Advanced Physics Laboratory||9||9||-|
|Ph 127 a||Statistical Physics||9||-||-|
|Advanced Physics Electives||9||9||18|
|HSS and/or PE Electives||9||9||9|