Program Description

The B.A. program in Physics is designed for students who are seeking a broad foundation in physics as part of a liberal arts education in the arts and sciences. It is particularly appropriate for those students (1) seeking a secondary teaching career or (2) planning to combine physics with other disciplines, such as music, law, and business.

Program Requirements

To enroll in the first courses in Mathematics and Computer Science, students must meet the prerequisites; otherwise, they may be required to take additional courses in preparation for the required courses. Students must complete the course requirements listed. In addition, all students are required to take two comprehensive exams—one on general physics upon completion of PHYS 227 or its equivalent and one on advanced physics just before graduation. The dates of these exams will be posted in the department office. Finally, students are required to do a senior project in their final year and pass the associated class PHYS 497. For more information, consult the department undergraduate advisor.

1. Lower Division Required Courses (35-37 units)

2. Upper Division Required Courses (22 units)

PHYS 301 Analytical Mechanics I (3)
PHYS 311 Electromagnetism I (3)
PHYS 365 Experimental Physics I (2)
PHYS 375 Quantum Physics I (3)
PHYS 389 Mathematical Methods in Physics I (3)
PHYS 431 Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (4)
PHYS 493 Physics and Astronomy Colloquium (1)
PHYS 497 Senior Project (3)

3. Upper Division Electives (6 units)

Electives should be chosen with approval of the department undergraduate advisor. Note: Upper division courses in the major plus upper division courses outside the major must total a minimum of 40 units in accordance with University requirements for a B.A. degree.

4. General Education (48 units)

Undergraduate students must complete 48 units of General Education as described in this Catalog, including 3 units of coursework meeting the Ethnic Studies (ES) graduation requirement.

12 units are satisfied by the following courses in the major: PHYS 225 satisfies B1 Physical Science; PHYS 220AL satisfies B3 Science Laboratory Activity; MATH 150A satisfies Basic Skills B4 Mathematics/Quantitative Reasoning; PHYS 301 satisfies B5 Scientific Inquiry and Quantitative Reasoning; and COMP 110/L or COMP 111B/L satisfies E Lifelong Learning.

Total Units in the Major: 63-65

General Education Units: 36

Additional Units: 19-21

Total Units Required for the B.A. Degree: 120


Department of Physics and Astronomy
Chair: Debi Choudhary
Live Oak Hall (LO) 1128
(818) 677-2775

Program Learning Outcomes

Students receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Physics will be able to:

  1. Describe natural phenomena in general and in their chosen program option using principles of physics.
  2. Set up laboratory experiments and collect data from observations and experiments.
  3. Combine insights and techniques from the various courses in the program.
  4. Derive quantitative predictions from a model through mathematical analysis.
  5. Analyze data, provide error analysis, and test a model or hypothesis by comparing with data.
  6. Competently use computer tools, including software programs for data analysis and presentation, numerical analysis, and computer simulations.
  7. Convey physical concepts with mathematical expressions.
  8. Clearly communicate physical concepts, findings, and interpretations through oral presentations.
  9. Write clear, organized and illustrated technical reports with proper references to previous work in the area.
  10. Search for and read scientific literature.
  11. Make unbiased and objective judgments of theories and experiments.
  12. Maintain integrity in their research and adhere to ethical principles regarding plagiarism, data collection, and selective data sampling.
  13. Give proper attribution.
  14. Practice lab safety.

ADT/STAR Act Degree Road Maps

Students who have graduated with a verified Associate Degree for Transfer and have been admitted to a CSUN program that has been deemed similar will be able to complete the baccalaureate degree within 60 semester units. For additional information, see ADT/STAR Act Degree Road Maps.

Physics/Bachelor of Arts - AS-T in Physics (2023-Present)

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