Requirements for the BS in Applied Physics

The physics department is proud to announce a new major in Applied Physics, designed for students interested in real-world problem-solving.  This is an ideal major for students aiming for careers in engineering, data science, public policy, medicine, or other sectors where a broad physics knowledge is integrated into complex, multi-disciplinary problem solving.

Applied Physics is a great way to combine a broad interest in physics with practical career skills, networking opportunities and experience with team projects.  It is an excellent launch pad for careers in the private sector or for advanced study in applications such as engineering and medicine.


Students will have a mandatory advising meeting with their staff/faculty advisor when they are enrolled in PHYS 263H. At this meeting, students will be responsible for completing a graduating plan and selecting their technical electives. It’s suggested that students do research in advance and speak with their advisors about potential options.

General education requirements

Foreign language: 2 semesters required

English Composition [placement by English Department]

General Education study areas:

      Tier 1:        four courses (2 TRAD & 2 INDV)

      Tier 2:        four courses (ART, HUM, INDV, DIVERSITY) The Diversity requirement can be

                        a course which will satisfy one of the other three; so usually only three are needed.

Math prerequisites for required physics courses

MATH 122A/B or 125 Calculus I; MATH 129 Calculus II; MATH 223 Vector calculus; MATH 254 Differential equations.

Physics requirements:

One of the introductory sequences:

       I.    Physics 161H, 162H, 261H, 263H

       II.   Physics 141, 142, 241, 263H


And all classes from the following list: PHYS 204 Math Methods; PHYS 305 Computational Physics; PHYS 321 Mechanics I; PHYS 331 Electricity and Magnetism I; PHYS 371 Quantum Theory I; PHYS 381, 382 Advanced Lab I and II.

Technical Electives

Students will choose four (4) technical elective courses totaling a minimum of twelve (12) total units.  A maximum of six (6) units can be lower division, and three (3) units can come from physics.  Students will meet with their faculty advisor in their sophomore year while they are taking PHYS 263H and will be required to complete a graduation plan including the selection of their technical electives. Technical elective courses can be chosen from science, engineering, math and programming coursework and should match the students’ academic and professional goals.


Students choose one course from the following: ISTA 311 Foundation of Information and Inference, ISTA 350 Programming for Informatics Applications, ISTA 421 Introduction to Machine Learning, or MATH 263 Introduction to Statistics and Biostatistics.

Communications Course

Students choose one course from the following: COMM/PR 119 Public Speaking, ENGL 308 Technical Writing, ENGL 340 Topics in Professional and Technical Writing, JOUR 455 Environmental Journalism, or JOUR 472 Science Journalism.

Senior Design Project or Lab

Students are required to participate in the Engineering Senior Design Project for six (6) total units in the senior year. Students will sign up for ENGR 498A in the fall for three (3) units and ENGR 498B for three (3) units in the spring. Alternatively, an equivalent six (6) units of interdisciplinary design or internship experience can be considered on a case-by-case basis.