This is an archive of the 2015-2016 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit

This is an archive of the 2015-2016 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit


Program: B.A., Physics


The B.A. program in Physics is designed for students 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 Chemistry, students must obtain a satisfactory score on the Mathematics Placement Test (MPT) and the Chemistry Placement Test (CPT). Without satisfactory scores, students 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. For more information, consult the department undergraduate advisor.

1. Lower Division Required Courses (36 units)

CHEM 101/L General Chemistry I and Lab (4/1)
MATH 150A Calculus I (5)
MATH 150B Calculus II (5)
MATH 250 Calculus III (3)
MATH 280 Applied Differential Equations (3)
PHYS 225/220AL Physics I and Mechanics Lab (4/1)
PHYS 226/220BL Physics II and Electricity and Magnetism Lab (4/1)
PHYS 227/L Physics III and Lab (4/1)

2. Upper Division Required Courses (19 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)

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.
Basic Skills Mathematics is satisfied by MATH 150A. Natural Sciences is satisfied by CHEM 101/L and PHYS 225/220AL. Physics majors also may satisfy Lifelong Learning by completing COMP 106/L or COMP 110/L.

Total Units in the Major: 61

General Education Units: 36

Additional Units: 23

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


Chair: Say-Peng Lim
Live Oak Hall (LO) 1128
(818) 677-2775

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of physical principles used to model natural phenomena.
  2. Demonstrate ability to convey physical concepts with mathematical expressions, and effectively derive quantitative predictions from a model through mathematical analysis.
  3. Demonstrate understanding of scientific methodology including:
    a. data collection from observations, setting up laboratory experiments, and data collection from experiments.
    b. analysis of data.
    c. testing of a model or hypothesis by comparing with data.
  4. Demonstrate competency in using computer tools, including:
    a. use of software programs for data analysis and presentation.
    b. numerical analysis.
    c. computer simulations.
  5. Demonstrate special knowledge of their subprogram.
  6. Communicate clearly and articulately about physical concepts, findings, and interpretations in oral presentations.
  7. Acquire ability to write clear, organized, and illustrated technical reports, with proper references to previous work in the area.