Physics Course Listing

Scroll Down for the Recommended Program of Study: Integrated Teacher Preparation Program (ITPP) Pathway.

Students entering the University of San Diego and/or declaring a major during 2019-2020, should follow information contained in the printed course catalog (also known as the "catalog of record") published on April 1, 2019. Access the catalog of record at http://catalogs.sandiego.edu.

Physics Major

Preparation for the Major (34-40 Units)

PHYS 270
270L
Introduction to Mechanics
and Mechanics Lab
4
PHYS 271
271L
Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism
and Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism Lab
4
PHYS 281Introduction to Optics1-3
or ENGR 103 User-Centered Design
PHYS 272
272L
Introduction to Modern Physics
and Introduction to Modern Physics Lab
4
PHYS 282Introduction to Methods in Computational Physics1-3
or ENGR 121 Engineering Programming
MATH 150Calculus I4
MATH 151Calculus II4
MATH 250Calculus III4
CHEM 151
151L
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Laboratory
4
CHEM 152
152L
General Chemistry II
and General Chemistry II Laboratory
3-6
or MATH 260 Foundations of Higher Mathematics
or MATH 262 Discrete Mathematics
or MENG 260
ENGR 311
Introduction to Thermal Sciences
and Engineering Materials Science
MENG 260 & ENGR 311 are required for the PHYS-MENG multiple degree program
Total Units33-40

Major Requirements (32-40 Units)                                                                          

Upper-division coursework in physics includes PHYS 300, PHYS 314, PHYS 319PHYS 324PHYS 330, PHYS 371 and PHYS 480. In addition, students must complete 6 units of 300-level physics electives. The major culminates with independent research (PHYS 400 and PHYS 496) and our seminar series (PHYS 493 and PHYS 495). While only 1 unit of PHYS 496 is required, students are encouraged to start research (PHYS 496) as early as possible and take 2-3 units. All physics majors are also highly encouraged to minor in Mathematics. Those majors intending to pursue graduate work in physics should take as many upper-division physics and mathematics courses as will fit into their schedule.

For students in the PHYS-MENG multiple degree program, the requirement for 6 physics elective units is replaced with MENG 400/MENG 400L and 3 units of 300-level physics electives. PHYS 300 can be replaced with MATH 310 and (MATH 315 or ISYE 330), PHYS 281 can be replaced with ENGR 103, and PHYS 282 can be replaced with ENGR 121. COMM 203 is a suitable replacement for PHYS 493 and MENG 491 is a suitable replacement for PHYS 400, if desired.

PHYS 300Mathematical Methods of Theoretical Physics (OR MATH 310 and (ISYE 330 or MATH 315)*)3-6
PHYS 314Analytical Mechanics3
PHYS 319Thermal and Statistical Physics3
PHYS 324Electromagnetism3
PHYS 330Quantum Mechanics3
PHYS 371Computational Physics3
PHYS 480Experimental Modern Physics4
PHYS 493Seminar I: The Craft of Scientific Presentation1-3
or COMM 203 Public Speaking
PHYS 400Research Forum1-3
or MENG 491 Senior Design Project I
PHYS 495Seminar II: Frontiers of Physics1
PHYS 496Research1
6 units of 300-level physics electives, or (3 units of 300-level physics electives and MENG 400 & MENG 400L)*6-7
*required for the PHYS-MENG multiple degree program
Total Units32-40

The following program of study fulfills the minimum requirement for a bachelor’s degree in physics. However, junior and senior year physics courses will depend on the student's graduation year, as many upper-division courses are offered every other year. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisors to map out a schedule that best fits their needs and interests.

Freshman Year
Semester IUnits
LLC Course3
MATH 150Calculus I4
Core or Electives9
Semester IIHours
PHYS 270
270L
Introduction to Mechanics4
MATH 151Calculus II4
Core or Electives7-9
Sophomore Year
Semester IHours
PHYS 271
271L
Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism4
PHYS 281Introduction to Optics1
CHEM 151
151L
General Chemistry I4
MATH 250Calculus III4
Core or Electives2-5
Semester IIHours
PHYS 272
272L
Introduction to Modern Physics4
PHYS 282Introduction to Methods in Computational Physics1
CHEM 152
152L
General Chemistry II4
PHYS 400Research Forum1
PHYS 496Research1
Core or Electives1-4
Junior Year
Semester IHours
PHYS 300Mathematical Methods of Theoretical Physics3
PHYS 371Computational Physics3
PHYS 496Research1-3
Core or Electives5-8
Semester IIHours
PHYS 314Analytical Mechanics3
PHYS 319Thermal and Statistical Physics3
PHYS Elective3
PHYS 4961
Core or Electives2-5
Senior Year
Semester IHours
PHYS 330Quantum Mechanics3
PHYS 324Electromagnetism3
PHYS Elective3
PHYS 4961
Core or Electives2-5
Semester IIHours
PHYS 480Experimental Modern Physics4
PHYS 493Seminar I: The Craft of Scientific Presentation1
PHYS 495Seminar II: Frontiers of Physics1
PHYS 4961
Core or Electives5-8

PHYS-MENG Multiple Degree Program: Requirements & Recommended Course Schedule 

The following program of study fulfills the minimum requirement for a BA in Physics and a BA/BS in Mechanical Engineering. However, junior and senior year physics courses will depend on the student’s graduation year, as many upper-division physics courses are offered every other year. Students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisors to map out a schedule that best fits their needs and interests.

Freshman Year
Semester IUnits
ENGR 101Introduction to Engineering3
MATH 150Calculus I4
ENGR 121Engineering Programming3
Core or Electives6
Semester IIHours
ENGR 102Introduction to Electromechanical System Design3
PHYS 270
270L
Introduction to Mechanics4
MATH 151Calculus II4
CHEM 151
151L
General Chemistry I4-5
Core or Electives3
Sophomore Year
Semester IHours
ENGR 103User-Centered Design3
PHYS 271
271L
Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism4
MATH 250Calculus III4
Core or Electives6
Semester IIHours
PHYS 272
272L
Introduction to Modern Physics4
MATH 310Applied Mathematics for Science and Engineering I3
ELEC 201Electrical Circuits4
MENG 210Statics3
MENG 260Introduction to Thermal Sciences3
Junior Year
Semester IHours
MATH 315
or ISYE 330
Applied Probability and Statistics
Engineering Probability and Statistics
3
MENG 351Machine Shop Practices1
MENG 300Applied Thermodynamics3
MENG 352CAD Practices1
MENG 375Dynamics3
ENGR 311Engineering Materials Science3
Core or Electives3
Semester IIHours
MENG 360
360L
Fluid Mechanics4
MENG 370
370L
Mechanics of Materials4
ISYE 350
350L
Manufacturing Processes4
PHYS 3191Thermal and Statistical Physics (counts as MENG Elective #1)3
Senior Year
Semester IHours
PHYS 314Analytical Mechanics3
PHIL 342Engineering Ethics3
MENG 400
400L
Heat Transfer (counts as PHYS Elective #1)4
MENG 430Design of Machine Elements3
MENG 491WSenior Design Project I4
Semester IIHours
MENG 492Senior Design Project II3
PHYS 3241Electromagnetism (counts as MENG Elective #2)3
PHYS Elective3
Core or Electives6
Senior Year 2
Semester IHours
PHYS 3301Quantum Mechanics (counts as MENG Elective #3)3
PHYS 371Computational Physics3
PHYS 4963Research1
Core and Electives5
Semester IIHours
PHYS 480Experimental Modern Physics (counts as MENG Elective #5)4
PHYS 493Seminar I: The Craft of Scientific Presentation1
PHYS 495Seminar II: Frontiers of Physics1
Core and Electives6-9

1. There are 5 MENG elective requirements in the MENG major, one of which must be a simulations course. PHYS 319, 324, 330, 480, and 371 count as MENG electives, with PHYS 371: Computational Physics, counting as the simulations elective.

2. ROTC students may substitute NAVS 201MILS 301, or SDSU AS 300A for COMM 203, which is the commonly taken in the engineering program. These classes will not satisfy university core requirements. Instead we recommend a 1 unit course that has the university core Oral Communication attribute, PHYS 493

3. Research is often completed in the summer


Integrated Teacher Preparation Program (ITPP): Requirements & Recommended Course Schedule 

The Integrated Teacher Preparation Program (ITPP) provides paths to 4-year science and math degrees that include a teaching credential and preparation for the California Subject Examination for Teachers (CSET). Students who are interested in middle or secondary education (grades 6-12) in California may earn a degree in physics while simultaneously completing requirements for a teaching credential. The degree integrates content knowledge and laboratory practices in the discipline, evidence-based teaching/learning theories, teaching performance expectations, and pre-student teaching clinical practice while satisfying baccalaureate degree requirements and CTC single subject credential program standards. There is some flexibility to meet individual needs. Students are encouraged to consult the ITPP website (http://www.sandiego.edu/itpp) and advisors (itpp@sandiego.edu) to ensure that their needs and interests will be met.

In addition to all courses for the physics major, students completing the ITPP pathway must also take the following:

BIOL 240
240L
Bioenergetics and Systems
and Bioenergetics and Systems Laboratory
4
BIOL 242
242L
Genomes and Evolution
and Genomes and Evolution Laboratory
4
EOSC 110Introduction to Geosciences4
EDTE 300PDiversity, Inclusion & Schooling3
EDTE 301PMethods for Language & Literacy3
EDTE 304PSecondary Methods I3
EDTE 306PSecondary Methods II: Science3
EDTE 310PEducational Psychology3
EDTE 311PEquity & Advocacy in Educational Systems3
EDTE 312PMethods for English Learners3
EDUC 491PStudent Teaching for the Single Subject Credential9
EDUC 491SStudent Teaching Seminar for the Single Subject Credential3
Total Units45

The following paradigm is included as a guide only, and should not be interpreted in a rigid sense.   Physics courses may be taken at any time as long as the course prerequisites have been satisfied. 

Recommended Course Schedule, Physics ITPP Pathway

Freshman Year
Semester IUnits
LLC Course3
CHEM 151
151L
General Chemistry I4
MATH 150Calculus I4
Core or Electives6
Semester IIHours
CHEM 152
152L
General Chemistry II4
PHYS 270
270L
Introduction to Mechanics4
MATH 151Calculus II4
Core or Electives3
Semester III (Summer)Hours
EOSC 110Introduction to Geosciences4
BIOL 240
240L
Bioenergetics and Systems4
Sophomore Year
Semester IHours
PHYS 271
271L
Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism4
PHYS 281Introduction to Optics1
MATH 250Calculus III4
EDTE 300PDiversity, Inclusion & Schooling3
Core or Electives3
Semester IIHours
PHYS 272
272L
Introduction to Modern Physics4
PHYS 282Introduction to Methods in Computational Physics1
PHYS 300Mathematical Methods of Theoretical Physics3
EDTE 311PEquity & Advocacy in Educational Systems3
Core or Electives3
Semester III (Summer)Hours
BIOL 242
242L
Genomes and Evolution4
EDTE 310PEducational Psychology3
Junior Year
Semester IHours
PHYS 319Thermal and Statistical Physics3
PHYS 371Computational Physics3
PHIL 341Ethics and Education3
EDTE 304PSecondary Methods I3
Core or Electives3
Semester IIHours
PHYS 314Analytical Mechanics3
PHYS 330Quantum Mechanics3
EDTE 306PSecondary Methods II: Science3
EDTE 312PMethods for English Learners3
Core or Electives3
Semester III (Summer)Hours
Core or Electives6
Senior Year
Semester IHours
EDTE 301PMethods for Language & Literacy3
EDUC 491PStudent Teaching for the Single Subject Credential9
EDUC 491SStudent Teaching Seminar for the Single Subject Credential3
Semester IIHours
PHYS 324Electromagnetism3
PHYS 480Experimental Modern Physics4
PHYS Elective3
Core or Electives6