Physics Minor

About the Minor

Physics is the study of nature at its most fundamental. It addresses the underlying principles that govern all phenomena in the universe, both within everyday life as well as within the most exotic situations. The physics minor equips students with a broad foundation to understand these diverse phenomena, including such topics as dynamics, planetary motion, quantum mechanics, atomic structure, special relativity, electricity, optics, and much more. The minor also provides an opportunity for a student to develop significant depth and explore modern topics in a few areas of his or her choosing. The physics minor may be useful for any student studying science or engineering who would like an enhanced foundation in his or her discipline. It may also appeal to any student who simply wishes to understand better the beauty and logic that governs the world around us and our place within it.

Learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a minor in Physics will have demonstrated the following learning outcomes:

  1. Physical Principles — Students will be able to apply basic physical principles — including classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, quantum mechanics, and statistical mechanics—to explain, analyze, and predict a variety of natural phenomena.
  2. Mathematical Expertise — Students will be able to translate physical concepts into mathematical language. Furthermore students will be able to apply advanced mathematical techniques (e.g., calculus, linear algebra, probability, and statistics) in their explanations, analyses, and predictions of physical phenomena.

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To receive a minor in physics, a student must complete the following requirements [48 units total]:

Required Lower-Division Physics/Math Courses [32 units]

  • MATH 21: Calculus of a Single Variable I* [4 units]
  • MATH 22: Calculus of a Single Variable II [4 units]
  • MATH 23: Vector Calculus [4 units]
  • MATH 24: Introduction to Linear Algebra and Differential Equations [4 units]
  • MATH 32: Probability and Statistics [4 units]
  • PHYS 8: Introductory Physics I*,** [4 units]
  • PHYS 9: Introductory Physics II ** [4 units]
  • PHYS 10: Introductory Physics III [4 units]

*ICP: Integrated Calculus and Physics [8 units] may be taken in place of MATH 21 and PHYS 8 or 18.

**Phys 8 and Phys 9 may be replaced by Phys 18 and Phys 19.

Required Upper-Division Core Physics Courses [8 units]

A student must take any two of the following four core physics courses:

  • PHYS 105: Analytic Mechanics Core [4 units]
  • PHYS 110: Electrodynamics Core [4 units]
  • PHYS 112: Statistical Mechanics Core [4 units]
  • PHYS 137: Quantum Mechanics Core [4 units]

Required Additional Upper-Division Physics Courses [8 units]

A student must take at least two additional upper division physics courses, of his/her choice, totaling at least 8 units.

Finally, the minor must be completed subject to the University policy on minors, and in addition, all of the above courses must be taken for a letter grade.

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