The undergraduate Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in physics features small classes, research opportunities with faculty, and great flexibility in choosing electives and planning career paths.
Our majors enjoy a relatively small department where faculty and staff know them personally, and where they can socialize and study together with their student colleagues in our Dan Black Center "grad room", maintained by the Physics Club. Roughly half of our majors are transfer students. We graduate around 10 students each year.
Additional information can be found in the university catalog and its physics pages, but please don't hesitate to contact us to schedule a visit or meet with an advisor. Send Leigh Hargreaves, Program Coordinator, and Ionel Tifrea, Chair, an email. Note, applications for the program are completed online.
For a wealth of resources on careers in physics, check out CareerCornerStone.
Our undergraduate program is organized around a core of upper-division courses required for the major:
- Phys 300 Intro to Math Methods in Physics
- Phys 310 Thermodynamics
- Phys 320 Analytic Mechanics
- Phys 330A Electrostatics, magnetostatics
- Phys 330B Electrodynamics
- Phys 340 Intro to Quantum & Modern Physics
- Phys 380 Methods of Experimental Physics
- Phys 455 Quantum Physics
- Engl 301 Technical Writing (or equivalent)
Along with these required courses, the program requires an additional 14 upper-division units, which students can select from among several possibilities, including
- Phys 301 Energy & Sustainability
- Phys 315 Computational Physics
- Phys 411 Optics
- Phys 416 Thermal and Statistical Physics
- Phys 454 Introduction to the Solid Sate of Matter
- Phys 476 Atomic Physics
- Phys 481 Advanced Lab
- Phys 499 (6 units max) Independent Study with Faculty
which must include 3 units of either Advanced lab (PHYS 481) or Independent Study (PHYS 499), where the Independent Study must be for performing laboratory based research with a faculty mentor.
A table showing all required/elective courses for the Physics Major, plus pre-requisites, units and typical course availability, may be downloaded here.
Two typical eight semester (4 year) academic plan for the undergraduate Physics Major is shown below.
Students that are prepared to immediately enroll in MATH 150A (Calculus 1) on admission to CSUF should follow the "MATH 150A Start" program. Most other students will take MATH 125 (Precalculus) in their first semester before enrolling in 150A. These students should review the "MATH 125A Start" program. Either study plan may be completed in 8 academic semesters.
These study plans may be downloaded here.
These plans are intended only as a guide. Study plans for individual students may vary depending on that student's particular learning needs. Students should consult with their advisor in preparing their academic plans.
Our Dan Black Phys-Bus Program offers a BS degree in physics with an emphasis option in business that substitutes certain physics requirements with accounting, marketing, and entrepreneurial courses in the business school. The program is administered in close collaboration with the Center for Entrepreneurship in Mihaylo College.
This program is funded with the ongoing, generous support of department alumnus Dan Black and is aimed at providing undergraduate physics majors with the training and experience needed to succeed in small businesses with entrepreneurial and technology-based orientations. Paid summer internships and annual scholarships are key components of the program.
In addition to our standard Core Courses in physics, with the exception of Phys 227L, Phys-Bus students take
- Accounting 201 (3 units), Introductory Financial Accounting, in place of second-semester chemistry, Chem 125,
and replace 15 units of upper-division physics electives with
- Finance 320 (3 units), Business Finance,
- Management 340 (3 units), Organizational Behavior,
- Marketing 351 (3 units), Principles of Marketing,
- Management 465A (3 units), New Venture Creation and Funding,
- Management 465B (3 units), New Venture Launch, or Management 461 (3 units), Entrepreneurial Management.
Students are also advised to take Economics 201 (3 units), Principles of Microeconomics, to satisfy a general education requirement, and BuAd 301 (3 units), Advanced Business Communication, to satisfy our upper-division writing requirement.
For further information, please contact Ionel Tifrea, Chair.
Minor in Physics
To minor in physics from another major, one needs to take two courses from the physics upper-division core along with Phys 380 for a total of 9 units in addition to the introductory calculus and physics sequences. (You will complete the Technical Writing requirement in your major.)
Minor or double major in Math or another science
Some 20% of our majors graduate with a minor or double major in math or another science. To minor in math, one also needs to take Math 250B, a gateway course to all upper-division math courses, and then three additional upper division math courses. Popular examples are advanced calculus Math 306, ordinary differential equations Math 310, and linear algebra Math 307. For students who complete a minor or second major, the department will reduce the number of required physics electives from 14 to 12.