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.
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|
|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|
|P17||Physics of Athletics|
|P18||How Things Work||W|
|P19||Great Ideas of Physics||S|
|P20A||Introduction to Astronomy||F||W|
|P20E||Life in the Universe||F||S|
|P21||Special Topics in Physics|
|P50||Math Methods for Physical Science||F|
|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|
|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|
|P116||Relativity and Black Holes||W|
|P120||Electronics for Scientists||W|
|P133||Introduction to Condensed Matter Physics||S|
|P134A||Physical and Geometrical Optics||S (tent)|
|P136||Introduction to Particle Physics||W|
|P137||Introduction to Cosmology||F|
|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||W||S|
|P191||Field Experience in Physics and Astronomy||F|
|P192||Tutoring in Physics|
|P194||Research Communication for Physics Majors||F|
- Which Physics courses meet GE requirements?
- Should I take Physics 2, 3, or 7 / assessment test?
- Can I pick up my final exam for a physics course?
FAQs about enrollment and attendance
- A physics class I need is full. How can I enroll?
- Can I attend a different discussion section or lab than the one I registered for?
- How can I enroll in a physics class through Access UCI?
- How can I know when each physics course will be offered?
- Are course prerequisites enforced? What course grade qualifies for a course to satisfy a prerequisite requirement?
- How do I pay lab fees or receive a refund if I drop a lab class?
- Who should I contact if I have more questions?
FAQs about upper-division courses
- What should I know about UCI's Academic Integrity Policies?
- Who should I contact if I have more questions?
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 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 *
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Please see our enrollment page.
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.
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.
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.
Please see our page on advanced labs.
Please contact Genessis Meza firstname.lastname@example.org (949) 824-5949 for any enrollment issues.