Physics, Bachelor of Science College of Letters & Science

The Major Program

From the smallest subatomic particles to atoms, molecules, stars, and galaxies, the study of physics is the study of what makes the universe work. Knowledge gained using atomic-scale microscopes and high-energy particle accelerators and nuclear reactors teaches us not only what holds the atomic nucleus together but also how proteins function and why stars shine.

The Program

The Department of Physics & Astronomy offers a Bachelor of Arts in Physics and two Bachelor of Science degree programs: in Physics (which also offers an emphasis in Astrophysics), and in Applied Physics. The A.B. degree provides broad coverage of classical and modern physics while permitting a broader liberal arts education than is possible with the other two programs. The B.S. degree in either Physics or Applied Physics should be followed by the student who plans to enter physics as a profession, and also provides excellent training for a wide variety of technical career options. The B.S. in Applied Physics provides the student with a solid introduction to a particular applied physics specialty. For the student who plans to enter the job market upon completing a B.S. degree, the applied physics orientation would be an asset. Either B.S. program provides a solid foundation in physics for the student interested in graduate work in either pure or applied physics.

Career Alternatives

Careers in physics and applied physics include research and development, either in universities, government laboratories, or industry; teaching in high schools, junior colleges, and universities; management and administration in industrial laboratories and in government agencies; and in production and sales in industry. A major in physics also provides a strong base for graduate-level work in such interdisciplinary areas as chemical physics, biophysics and medical physics, geophysics and environmental physics, astrophysics and astronomy, computer science, and materials science.

Program Variance

Similar courses from other departments may be substituted for courses in the depth subject matter requirements by obtaining prior written permission from the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee Chairperson.

Astronomy

In addition to the introductory Astronomy courses listed, upper division and graduate courses in Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology are listed under Physics.

Graduate Study

The Department of Physics & Astronomy offers programs of study and research leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Further information regarding requirements for these three degrees, graduate research, teaching  assistantships, and research assistantships may be obtained by writing to the Chairperson, Department of Physics, One Shields Avenue, University of California, Davis, CA 95616

Physics

Preparatory Subject Matter
Physics
Choose a series:19-25
Classical Physics
and Classical Physics
and Classical Physics
and Modern Physics
Honors Physics
and Honors Physics
and Honors Physics
and Honors Physics
and Honors Physics
PHY 040Introduction to Physics Computation4
PHY 080Experimental Techniques4
Mathematics
MAT 021ACalculus4
MAT 021BCalculus4
MAT 021CCalculus4
MAT 021DVector Analysis4
MAT 022ALinear Algebra3
MAT 022BDifferential Equations3
Preparatory Subject Matter Subtotal49-55
Depth Subject Matter
Physics
PHY 104AIntroductory Methods of Mathematical Physics4
PHY 105AAnalytical Mechanics4
PHY 105BAnalytical Mechanics4
PHY 110AElectricity & Magnetism4
PHY 110BElectricity & Magnetism4
PHY 110CElectricity & Magnetism4
PHY 112Thermodynamics & Statistical Mechanics4
PHY 115AFoundation of Quantum Mechanics4
PHY 115BApplications of Quantum Mechanics4
PHY 102Computational Laboratory in Physics (1 unit)1-4
or PHY 104B Computational Methods of Mathematical Physics
Laboratory Requirement
Choose PHY 122A or 122B or 116 series:4-12
Advanced Laboratory in Condensed Matter Physics
or
Advanced Laboratory in Particle Physics
or
Electronic Instrumentation
and Electronic Instrumentation
and Introduction to Computer-Based Experiments in Physics
Concentration Courses
Choose two courses from one specialty and one course from a different specialty:12
General Relativity/Astrophysical Applications
Astrophysical Applications of Physics
General Relativity
Condensed Matter
Introduction to Solid State Physics
Introduction to Solid State Physics
Nuclear/Particle Physics
Introduction to Nuclear Physics
Elementary Particle Physics
Elementary Particle Physics
Additional Upper Division Physics Courses
Additional upper division Physics courses1, for a total of 15 upper-division Physics courses of 3 or more units each. With prior departmental approval, one course from mathematics, engineering, or natural science may be used to meet this requirement. May include only one from:0-12
Special Study for Honors Students
and Special Study for Honors Students
Senior Thesis
Directed Group Study (Must be taken for at least 3 units to count as an elective.)
Special Study for Advanced Undergraduates (Must be taken for at least 3 units to count as an elective.)
Depth Subject Matter Subtotal53-76
Total Units102-131
1

Excluding PHY 160

Astrophysics Emphasis

Preparatory Subject Matter
Physics
Choose a series:19-25
Classical Physics
and Classical Physics
and Classical Physics
and Modern Physics
Honors Physics
and Honors Physics
and Honors Physics
and Honors Physics
and Honors Physics
PHY 040Introduction to Physics Computation4
PHY 080Experimental Techniques4
Mathematics
MAT 021ACalculus4
MAT 021BCalculus4
MAT 021CCalculus4
MAT 021DVector Analysis4
MAT 022ALinear Algebra3
MAT 022BDifferential Equations3
Preparatory Subject Matter Subtotal49-55
Depth Subject Matter
Physics
PHY 104AIntroductory Methods of Mathematical Physics4
PHY 105AAnalytical Mechanics4
PHY 108Optics3
PHY 108LOptics Laboratory1
PHY 110AElectricity & Magnetism4
PHY 110BElectricity & Magnetism4
PHY 112Thermodynamics & Statistical Mechanics4
PHY 115AFoundation of Quantum Mechanics4
PHY 115BApplications of Quantum Mechanics4
PHY 102Computational Laboratory in Physics1-4
or PHY 104B Computational Methods of Mathematical Physics
PHY 151Stellar Structure & Evolution4
PHY 152Galactic Structure & the Interstellar Medium4
PHY 153Extragalactic Astrophysics4
PHY 156Introduction to Cosmology4
Laboratory Requirement
Choose one:4
Advanced Laboratory in Condensed Matter Physics
Advanced Laboratory in Particle Physics
Astronomy Instrumentation & Data Analysis Laboratory
Electives
Choose two:6-12
Analytical Mechanics
Electricity & Magnetism
Electronic Instrumentation
Introduction to Nuclear Physics
Elementary Particle Physics
Elementary Particle Physics
Special Topics in Physics
Astrophysical Applications of Physics
General Relativity
Planetary Geology & Geophysics
May include only one from:
Special Study for Honors Students
and Special Study for Honors Students
Senior Thesis
Directed Group Study (Must be taken for at least 3 units to count as an elective.)
Special Study for Advanced Undergraduates (Must be taken for at least 3 units to count as an elective.)
Depth Subject Matter Subtotal59-68
Recommended
Introduction to Modern Astronomy & Astrophysics
Total Units108-123