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 frequencly-asked 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.

 

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 17: Physics of Athletics
  • Physics 18: How Things Work
  • 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 planning to enroll in the Physics 2/7 sequence must first take the Math Assessment for Physics Placement (MAPP) exam to determine whether they need to take Physics 2 or not.  (See below or the link for more details). 

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

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What is the MAPP test, how do I take it, and what does my score mean?
The Math Assessment for Physics Placement (MAPP) exam is a test taken by students planning to enroll in the Physics 2/7 sequence to determine whether they need to take Physics 2 or not.  Exemptions to the MAPP exam are possible for students who have earned high scores on AP Physics and AP Mathematics exams: see the MAPP web page for details. 

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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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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. 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 with a grade of D or better may not continue in the sequence. The list of prerequisite courses 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. Students who drop a Physics lab course no later than this date may have the fee reversed. In order to reverse the lab fee, students must bring proof of the drop date and their student ID card to the Physics Student Affairs Office.

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Where can I find information about advanced labs?

Please see our page on advanced labs.

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