Majors and requirements


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

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, 32
  • Math 31A, 31B, 32A, 32B, 33A, 33B
  • Chemistry 20A
  • PIC 10A or CS 30 or CS 31

(Total: 58 units)

The Major in Physics (B.S. Degree) required courses:

  • Physics 105A, 105B, 110A, 110B, 112, 115A, 115B, 115C
  • One Physics 170 course and one Physics 180 course or two Physics 180 courses
  • Three additional upper division elective courses preferably selected from Physics 108, 114, M122, 123, 124, 126, 127, 128, 132, 140A, 140B, 144, 150, C186, C187A. 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: 52 units).

The Major in Physics (B.A. Degree) required courses:

  • Physics 105A, 105B, 110A, 110B, 112, 115A, 115B, 115C
  • One course from the Physics 170 series or the 180 series
(Total: 36 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, 32
  • Astronomy 81
  • Math 31A, 31B, 32A, 32B, 33A, 33B
  • PIC 10A or CS 30 or CS 31

(Total: 60 units).

The Major in Astrophysics (B.S. Degree) required courses:

  • Physics 105A, 105B, 110A, 110B, 115A, 115B, 115C
  • Astronomy 115, 117, 127, 180
  • Three additional upper division electives selected from Astronomy 140, 141; Physics 108, M122, 124, 126, 127, 128, 132, 180M; EPSS 155, 156, C179. At least one of the three electives must be in Astronomy.

(Total: 56 units).

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.

Biophysics Major Requirements: Preparation for the major in Biophysics required courses:

  • Physics 1A or 1AH, 1B or 1BH, 1C or 1CH, 4AL, 4BL, 17, 32
  • Math 31A, 31B, 32A, 32B, 33A, 33B
  • Chemistry 20A, 20B
  • Life Science 7A

(Total: 64 units).

The major in Biophysics (B.S. degree):

  • Physics 105A, 110A, 110B, 112, 115A, 115B, M180G, 187A* and 187B*; three additional upper division elective courses from the three groups. Students are able to choose any three courses either in one group or among the three groups*:
    • Group A (Physics of Neuroscience): Neuroscience M101A; Physics 117; Physics 186.
    • Group B (Biological Physics): Physics 144; Physics 117; Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering C286.
    • Group C (Molecular and Cellular Biophysics): Chemistry 153A, 153L, MCDB 100 or MCDB 165A. Note that students will be advised when some of these classes have additional lower division requirements.
  • *Please note that Physics 187A and 187B are only offered once every other year. E.g. 187A & 187B were offered in Winter & Spring 2022 and will not be offered again until Winter & Spring 2024. If you have any questions about when the course will next be offered, please contact a physics counselor.
  • Keep in mind that some of the upper division electives may have pre-requisites outside of the Physics department. Please consult with an advisor.

(Total: 48 units).

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.

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
Math 32A*
Physics 1A
LS 7A
Math 32B
Physics 1B
Physics 4AL
Sophomore Math 33A
Math 33B
Physics 1C
Physics 17
Physics 32
Physics 4BL
Physics 105B
Physics 110A
Chemistry 20B
Junior Physics 115A
Physics 112
Physics 115B
Physics C187A
Physics C187B
UD Elective
Senior Physics 110B Physics 180G
UD Elective
UD Elective
Begin Physics 1A or 1AH in Fall Quarter
Year/quarter Fall Winter Spring
Freshman Math 32A*
Physics 1A/1AH
Chemistry 20A
Math 32B
Physics 1B/1BH
Physics 4AL
Math 33A
Physics 1C/1CH
Sophomore Physics 4BL
Math 33B
Chemistry 20B
Physics 17
Physics 32
Physics 110A
Physics 105A

*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 Physics 32 Physics 108 Physics 110B Physics 170A Physics 1A, 1B, 1C, Math 32B, 33A, 33B
Physics 105B Physics 105A Physics 114 Physics 105A,B Physics 170M Physics 1A, 1B, 1C, Math 32A, 33A
Physics 110A Physics 32 Physics M122 Physics 110B Physics 170N Physics 105B, 110B, 112, 115B
Physics 110B Physics 110A Physics 124 Physics 115C Physics 180A Physics 124 (concurrent)
Physics 112 Physics 115A,B Physics 126 Physics 115C Physics 180C Physics 140A
Physics 115A Physics 17, 105A Physics 132 Physics 32 Physics 180D Physics 112, 114
Physics 115B Physics 115A, 105B Physics 140A Physics 112 Physics 180E Physics 110B, M122
Physics 115C Physics 115B Physics 140B Physics 140A Physics 180F Physics 110A, 115B & 126 (concurrent)
Physics 144 105A,110A,112 Physics M180G Physics 110B, 115A
Physics C186 Math 33A Physics 180Q Physics 115C

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 Astrophysics, Physics (BA/BS), and Biophysics major, please contact either:

  • Francoise Queval, PAB 1-707A, 310-825-2453
    Email:
  • Mary Tran, PAB 1-707D, 310-206-1447
    Email: