Majors and requirements

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers a choice of four undergraduate majors:

  • B.S. degree program in Astrophysics
  • B.S. degree program in Biophysics
  • B.S. degree program in Physics
  • B.A. degree program in General Physics
Courses taken to fulfill any of the requirements for either major must be taken for a letter grade.
 
Physics Major Requirements: Preparation for the Major in Physics (B.S. OR B.A.)
 
Required courses:
 
Physics 1A or 1AH, 1B or 1BH, 1C or 1CH, 4AL, 4BL, 17, 18L
Math 31A, 31B, 32A, 32B, 33A, 33B
Chemistry 20A
(Total: 54 units)
 
The Major in Physics (B.S. Degree)
 
Required courses:
 
Physics 105A, 105B, 110A, 110B, 112, 115A, 115B, 115C, 131
Two courses from the 180 Physics laboratories
Three additional upper division elective courses; recommended courses (especially for those intending to pursue graduate careers in Physics) include: Physics 108, 114, 117, 122, 124, 126, 128, 132, 140A, 140B, 150. The upper division electives need not be in Physics.  However, it is expected that the courses will fit into a coherent structure.  
 
A plan must be worked out five terms prior to graduation in conjunction with a departmental advisor and must be done in writing.
(Total: 56 units)
 
Special studies courses (Physics 199) may be applied towards the major upon departmental approval.
 
Recommended: Physics 1Q--review of significant contemporary research areas in Physics. 2 units, P/NP.
     
The Major in Physics (B.A. Degree)
 
Required courses: 
 
Physics 105A, 105B, 110A, 110B, 112, 115A, 115B, 115C, 131
One course from the Physics 180 laboratories (180A-180G)
(Total: 40 units)
 
No course intended to satisfy the major or the preparation for the major may be taken on a pass/no pass basis and a 2.0 grade point average is required in all of the above courses for completion of the B.A. or B.S. degree.
 
Preparation for the Major in Astrophysics
 
Required courses:
 
Physics 1A or 1AH, 1B or 1BH, 1C or 1CH, 4AL, 4BL, 17, 18L
Astronomy 81, 82*
Math 31A, 31B, 32A, 32B, 33A, 33B
Program In Computing 10A
*Systematic study of astrophysics should begin with Astronomy 81 and Astronomy 82 to be taken in the second year.
(Total: 63 units)
 
Recommended courses:
 
Astronomy 3
Chemistry 20A
         
The Major in Astrophysics (B.S. Degree)
 
Required courses: 
 
Physics 105A, 105B, 110A, 110B, 115A, 115B, 115C, 131
Astronomy 115, 117, 127, 140, 180
(Total: 52 units)
 
Recommended courses:
 
Physics 108, M122,140A, 140B, 124, 132
 
No course intended to satisfy a requirement for the pre-major or major may be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis.  A 2.0 average overall is required in all the above courses for completion of the degree.
 
Contact Information
 
Please see the College of Letters & Science Counseling Unit(A-316 Murphy Hall) for information regarding GEs, Upper Division units and all other university requirements.
 
For all questions regarding the Astrophysics major or Physics and Astronomy Departmental questions, contact Francoise Queval
 

Biophysics Major Requirements: Preparation for the major in Biophysics

Required courses:
 
Physics 1A or 1AH, 1B or 1BH, 1C or 1CH, 4AL, 4BL, 17
Math 31A, 31B, 32A, 32B, 33A, 33B
Chemistry 20A, 20B, 30A, 30B
Life Science 2, 3 or 3H, 4

(Total: 76 units)
Recommended courses: Life Science 1, 23L, 18L

The major in Biophysics (B.S. degree)

Required courses:
Physics 105A, 110A, 110B, 115A, 115B, 131, 180G, C187A, C187B
Physics 144 or C186
Chemistry and Biochemistry 110A, 153A, 153L
Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology 100 or M140 or 165A

(Total: 56 units)

Recommended courses: Physics 117, Chemistry 160A
     
No course intended to satisfy a requirement for the pre-major or major may be taken on a Pass/No Pass basis. A 2.0 average overall is required in all the above courses for completion of the degree.

Contact Information

Please see the College of Letters & Science (A-316 Murphy Hall) for information
regarding General Education, Foreign Language, Upper Division units and all other university requirements.

For all questions regarding the Biophysics major or Physics and Astronomy Departmental questions, contact either:

Francoise Queval queval@physics.ucla.edu PAB 1-707A    
David Zeff dzeff001@physics.ucla.edu PAB 1-707D

Possible sequences of courses for the B.S. Biophysics major (4-year plan)

With Physics 1A,B,C and/or the Honor sequences, there are several approaches for students considering a major in biophysics, all leading to a BS degree in four years.  Displayed below are the science courses of a schedule beginning with Physics 1A in Winter, and one beginning with Physics 1A in the Fall. There are many variations possible in between.  Junior transfers should see a departmental counselor immediately upon arrival at UCLA.

Begin Physics 1A in Winter Quarter

 Year/Quarter  Fall  Winter  Spring
Freshman
 
Math 31B
Chemistry 20A
GE requirement
Math 32A*
Physics 1A
Writing II
Math 32B*
Physics 1B
Physics 4AL
LS 2
Sophomore Math 33A
Math 33B
Physics 1C
Chemistry 20B
Physics 17
Physics 131
Physics 4BL
Chemistry 30A
Physics 105A
Chemistry 30B
LS 3
 
Junior Physics 115A
Life Science 4
Chemistry 153A
 
Physics 115B
Chemistry 110A
Physics C187A
 
Physics 110A
Physics C187B
Chemistry 153L
GE requirement
Senior Physics 110B
MCD Biology 165/140
GE requirement
Foreign language
Physics 180G
Physics C186
GE requirement
Foreign language
Physics 144
GE requirement
Foreign language
 

Begin Physics 1A or 1AH in Fall Quarter

 Year/Quarter  Fall  Winter  Spring
 Freshman Math 32A*
Physics 1A/1AH
Chemistry 20
Math 32B
Physics 1B/1BH
Physics 4AL
Life Science 2
Math 33A
Physics 1C/1CH
Chemistry 20B
 Sophomore Physics 17
Physics 131
Chemistry 30A
Physics 105A
Physics 4BL
Chemistry 30B
Physics M88
Physics 110A
 

Junior/Senior Physics 110B, 115B, 180G, 144 or C186, C187A, C187B  Chem 110A, 153A, 153L MCDB 100 or M140 or 165A    
Additional courses either recommended for or related to the major or GE or university requirements should be taken at times consistent with the above sequence.
*Math 32A is pre-requisite to Physics 1B.  Strong math students may take Math 32 and Physics 1B concurrently after departmental approval.

Prerequisites

 Core course  Pre-req  Elective  Pre-req  Lab course  Pre-req
 Physics 105A  Math 33A  Physics 108  Physics 110B  Physics 117  
 Physics 105B  Physics 131  Physics 114  Physics 105A,B  Physics 180A  124 (concurrent)
 Physics 110A  Physics 131  Physics 122  Physics 110B  Physics 180D  114 (concurrent)
 Physics 110B  Physics 110A  Physics 124  Physics 115C  Physics 180E  Physics 122
 Physics 112  Physics 115A,B  Physics 126  Physics 115C  Physics 180F  126 (concurrent)
 Physics 115A  Phy 131, 105A  Physics 132  Physics 131  Physics 180G  
 Physics 115B  Phy 115A,105B  Physics140A  Physics 115C    
 Physics 131  Math 33A,B  Physics 140B  Physics 140A    
     Physics 144  105A,110A,112    
     Physics C186  Math 33A    

Honors in Physics

The department offers three Honors programs in Physics. Option I emphasizes advanced work in mathematics.  Option II, for students with an interest in experimental physics, requires a laboratory project culminating in a senior thesis. Option III, for students with an interest in theoretical physics, requires an independent study project culminating in a senior thesis.

Eligibility: Completion of preparation for the major and four upper division Physics courses; 3.0 GPA overall and 3.5 in upper division Physics and Mathematics courses.

Students who complete the above requirements with a 3.5 GPA in upper division Physics and Mathematics courses will graduate with Honors in Physics.  Students who earn a GPA of 3.75 will graduate with Highest Honors in Physics.

For more information regarding departmental honors, please consult the undergraduate counselor.