Course Info

This page has information for students looking to take GE courses, students taking physics as a prerequisite for courses in other majors, and physics and applied physics majors.

Please see below for frequently asked questions about our undergraduate courses. Majors and non-majors can contact the Physics Student Affairs Office if you have additional questions about the Physics Department, Physics courses, and enrollment. Majors can also contact the Physical Sciences Student Affairs Office for questions about graduation requirements.

2023-2024 Tentative Course Offerings 

The following listing is only a tentative plan. It is subject to change at department discretion. All courses require sufficient enrollment and are subject to cancellation at any time.  ​​​​​

Course # Course Name Fall 2023 Winter 2024 Spring 2024
P2 Intro to Math Methods for Physics F W  
P3A Basic Physics I F W S
P3B Basic Physics II   W S
P3C Basic Physics III F   S
P3LB Basic Physics Laboratory    W S
P3LC Basic Physics Laboratory  F   S
P7C Classical Physics F W S
P7D Classical Physics    W S
P7E Classical Physics F W S
P7LC Classical Physics Laboratory F W S
P7LD Classical Physics Laboratory   W S
P12 Science Fiction and Science Fact      
P14 Energy and the Environment F   S
P15 Physics of Music   W  
P18 How Things Work   W  
P19 Great Ideas of Physics     S
P20A Introduction to Astronomy  F W  
P20B Cosmology   W S
P20C Observational Astronomy      
P20D Space Science F    
P20E Life in the Universe F   S
P21 Special Topics in Physics      
P50 Math Methods for Physical Science F    
P51A Modern Physics     S
P52A Fundamentals of Experimental Physics F    
P52B Fundamentals of Experimental Physics   W  
P52C Fundamentals of Experimental Physics     S
P53 Intro to Programming and Num Analysis     S
P60 Thermal Physics F    
P61A Modern Physics for Majors   W  
P61B Modern Physics for Majors     S
P61C Introduction to Astrophysics      S
H80 Impact of WWI on Science      
H90 The Idiom and Practice of Science    W  
P99 Current Topics in Physics F    
P100 Computational Methods F    
P106W Laboratory Skills     S
P111A Classical Mechanics F    
P111B Classical Mechanics   W  
P112A Electromagnetic Theory   W  
P112B Electromagnetic Theory     S
P113A Quantum Physics     S
P113B Quantum Physics F    
P113C Quantum Physics   W  
P115A Statistical Physics F    
P115B Thermodynamics       
P116 Relativity and Black Holes   W  
P120 Electronics for Scientists    W  
P121W Advanced Laboratory    W S
P125A Mathematical Physics   W  
P125B Mathematical Physics     S
P133 Introduction to Condensed Matter Physics     S
P134A Physical and Geometrical Optics     S (tent)
P135 Plasma Physics     S
P136 Introduction to Particle Physics   W  
P137 Introduction to Cosmology  F    
P138 Extragralatic Astrophysics   W  
P139 Observational Astrophysics F    
P144 Stellar Astrophysics      
P145 High-Energy Astrophysics     S
P146A Biophysics of Molecules & Molecular Machines F    
P146B Biophysics of Molecules and Molecular Machines     S
P147A Principles of Imagining       
P147B Techniques in Medical Imaging I      
P150 Special Topics in Physics and Astronomy  F S
P191 Field Experience in Physics and Astronomy F    
P192 Tutoring in Physics      
P193  Research Methods     S
P194 Research Communication for Physics Majors F    



FAQs about general education (GE) and lower-division courses


FAQs about enrollment and attendance


FAQs about upper-division courses


General FAQs


Which Physics courses meet GE requirements?
The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers a variety of General Education courses listed below which satisfy the Science and Technology requirement (requirement II). Many of these courses additionally satisfy the Quantitative, Symbolic, and Computational Reasoning requirement  (requirement Va), and are marked with an asterisk (*) in the list. See the UCI General Catalogue for complete information about GE requirements, course offerings, and course descriptions.

  • Physics 3A, 3B, 3C: Basic Physics *
  • Physics 7C, 7D, 7E: Classical Physics *
  • Physics 12: Science Fiction and Science Fact *
  • Physics 14: Energy and the Environment *
  • Physics 15: Physics of Music
  • Physics 18: How Things Work
  • Physics 19: Great Ideas of Physics
  • Physics 20A: Introduction to Astronomy *
  • Physics 20B: Cosmology *
  • Physics 20C: Observational Astronomy *
  • Physics 20D: Space Science *
  • Physics 20E: Life in the Universe *
  • Physics 21: Special Topics in Physics
  • Physics H80: The Impact of World War I on Science
  • Physics H90: The Idiom and Practice of Science *

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Should I take Physics 2, 3, or 7?
The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers two different introductory physics sequences. They are the Physics 3 sequence and the Physics 2/7 sequence. Both sequences cover topics including classical mechanics (motion, forces, and energy), electricity and magnetism, waves, and optics. 

The Physics 3A-3B-3C sequence is primarily designed for students majoring in Biological Sciences or related fields, and students intending to apply to medical school. Physics 3B and 3C also have laboratory courses associated (3LB and 3LC).

The Physics 2-7C-7D-7E sequence is primarily designed for students planning to major in the Physical Sciences, Engineering, or related fields. Physics 7C and 7D have laboratory courses associated (7LC and 7LC). Physics 7C and 7LC must be taken concurrently; 7D and 7LD must be taken concurrently.

Physics 2, Introduction to Mathematical Methods for Physics, provides an introduction to problem-solving techniques for physics, with applications to basic kinematics. Most freshmen physics majors start with either Physics 2 or Physics 7C in their first quarter. Students can use this test to self-evaluate whether they should enroll in Physics 7C or Physics 2 using the MAPP exam / Self-assessment test for students: Physics 2 and Physics 7C (available for free in Canvas through the link).


Information about the self-assessment

The assessment test consists of 32 questions. If a student can fairly easily answer at least 75% of the questions (at least 24 questions are answered correctly) with a calculator, but no other help, then the student is ready to take Physics 7C and should enroll in it if they completed one year of high school physics. If a student scores below 75%, enrolling into Physics 2 is recommended.

Topics Covered in the Self - Assessment test

  • Units, Significant figures
  • Simple word problems: Translate words and information into equations
  • Basic Calculus -- Differentiation and Simple integration, know your functions (graph them, find the slopes, find maxima and minima on the graph and using derivatives)
  • Vectors -- represent them on a graph, know how to add, subtract and multiply them -- basically as comfortable with them as you are with numbers!
  • 1-D and 2-D kinematics -- understand and be able to solve problems involving objects moving in line or a plane under constant acceleration

Course descriptions and prerequisites for these courses are given in the UCI General Catalogue.

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Can I pick up my final exam for a physics course?
Contact your instructor for their policy on final exam pickup. If you instructor allows pickup of your final exam through the Physics Student Affairs Office, UCI photo ID is required. Exams are available for pickup until week 3 of the next quarter. See the Physics Student Affairs Office webpage for their hours and location.

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Where do I find information about accessing the online textbook materials for Physics 2, 3, and 7 courses?

Make sure to follow the instructions given on your class's Canvas page in order to obtain access to the e-textbook and online course materials.

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is using the following textbooks in introductory physics courses:

Physics 2 and 7 series: University Physics with Modern Physics, 15th edition, by Young and Freedman, ISBN-13: 9780135206348

Physics 3 series: University Physics for the Life Sciences, 1st edition, by Randall Knight, Brian Jones, Stuart Field, ISBN-13: 9780135821299

You can access the digital editions of the textbooks alongside the online homework platform MasteringPhysics by following a direct link on the class Canvas page. For students taking Physics 3 and 7 courses, the Department highly advises purchasing the 24-month access, which will be utilized throughout the entire series. Opting for this longer duration is more cost-effective than the single-term access option, which only spans one full quarter of physics coursework. It's important to be aware that selecting the 18-week access option will require an additional payment for the next course in the series. Pearson does not offer extensions for MasteringPhysics access beyond the chosen duration. Access to the online materials for Physics 2 is obtained separately from access for Physics 7CDE (although the same textbook is used).

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What should I know about UCI's Academic Integrity Policies?
Please see UCI's policies on academic integrity. The department takes academic integrity seriously and reports cases of misconduct to the university.

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Who should I contact if I have more questions?
Majors and non-majors can contact the Physics Student Affairs Office if you have additional questions about the Physics Department, Physics courses, and enrollment. Majors can also contact the Physical Sciences Student Affairs Office for questions about graduation requirements.


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A physics class I need is full. How can I enroll?

If you are a physics major, contact your assigned faculty advisor or the Physics Student Affairs Office as soon as possible. For enrollment policies, see our enrollment page

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Can I attend a different discussion section or lab than the one I registered for?

Attendance in your assigned discussion section is mandatory throughout the quarter. No attendance credit can be earned by attending a different discussion section, and quizzes, or exams will be graded for students who do not attend their assigned sections. Enrollment in lecture and discussion is required. 

Attendance in your assigned lab section is mandatory throughout the quarter beginning Monday of Week 1. Students will be allowed to participate and earn credit in their assigned sections only. 

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How can I enroll in a physics class through Access UCI?

Please see our enrollment page

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How can I know when each physics course will be offered?

You can see our tentative course offerings for fall, winter, spring and summer in the table above. Please note that some upper-division electives may not be offered every year, and the schedule may also vary in other ways from year to year. Please contact the Physics Student Affairs Office with specific questions. 

Certain courses have more seats available in some quarters than others. This is due to either larger sections or multiple sections being offered. We also have majors-only sections of 7-series courses each quarter (7C in Fall and Winter, 7E in Winter, and 7D in Spring). For 3-series courses, the following quarters and courses usually have two sections offered:

  • 3A (Fall)
  • 3B (Winter)
  • 3C (Spring)

The majority of the 3LB sections are offered in Winter Quarter, and the majority of the 3LC sections are offered in Fall Quarter.

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Are course prerequisites enforced? What course grade qualifies for a course to satisfy a prerequisite requirement?

All prerequisites are strictly enforced. Students who have not successfully completed the required prerequisite for a course (including the minimum required grade) may not continue in the sequence; some courses require a D- or better to continue in a sequence, some courses require a C or better to continue in a sequence. The list of prerequisite courses and minimum required grades can be found in the UCI General Catalogue.

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How do I pay lab fees or receive a refund if I drop a lab class?
Students of Physics 3LB, 3LC, 7LC, 7LD, 52A-B-C, 120, 121 and 206 will be charged a $25.00 lab fee. The charges for these classes will be added to your ZOT Bill Week 1 of the quarter. These charges will be posted Week 3 if you add a Physics lab after week 1. The last day to add a lab is Friday at the end of Week 2. Lab fees are non-refundable.

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Where can I find information about advanced labs?

Please see our page on advanced labs.

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Please contact Genessis Meza for any enrollment issues.