The minor in physics consists of seven courses (twenty-eight units) of letter-graded physics course work from the following list with at least five courses (twenty units) coming from upper-division course work:

  • Physics 2C-2D or Physics 4D-4E
  • Physics 100–178

Lower-division courses (including transfer course work) can overlap between a major and minor without restriction; however, no more than two upper-division courses (a maximum of eight units) may overlap between a major and a minor. Upper-division courses being applied to the minor must be taken at UC San Diego in the Department of Physics. Students must earn a grade of C– or above in all courses applied to the minor, including transfer course work. The minimum overall GPA requirement for the minor is a 2.0. A petition is required for any waivers/substitutions to the minor requirements (e.g., applying a non–UC San Diego upper-division physics course).

Within the parameters outlined above, students will select the specific courses that will be applied to the minor. Students can declare the physics minor at any point prior to their graduating quarter. Minor proposals must be submitted via the major/minor tool on TritonLink.

Keep the following in mind:

  • Per campus policy, a max of 8.0 upper division units (2 courses) may be shared between a major and a minor. (There is no limit on the number of lower division units that may be shared between a major and minor.)
  • Your minor proposal can only include the 7 courses being applied to the minor, even if you plan to take (or have already taken) additional courses.
  • Although you must list specific upper division courses on your minor proposal, the degree audit will automatically pick-up any eligible upper division physics course you take.
  • We strictly enforce pre-reqs for all courses in the department. You will need to look ahead to ensure your eligibility to enroll in the courses you want to have applied to the minor.
  • The core upper division physics program, which is made up of courses in the Physics 100, 105, 110, 120, 130, and 140 series, is restricted to students majoring in physics. Non-majors who are interested in taking a core UD physics course must earn a grade of B+ or higher in the course pre-reqs and must use EASy to request clearance to enroll1. In rare cases, substitute pre-reqs may be used:
    • ECE 107 (B+ grade or higher) may be used in place of PHYS 100A and/or 100B (eg. for PHYS 130A/B requests, assuming PHYS 2A-B-C, MATH 18, and MATH 20A-B-C-D-E have already been completed)
    • Combo of ECE 35, 45, 65 (B+ grades or higher) may be used in place of PHYS 120 (eg. for PHYS 122, 124 requests)
    • Combo of MAE 105, 107 (B+ grades or higher) may be used in place of PHYS 105A (eg. for PHYS 105B requests, assuming PHYS 2A-B-C-D have already been completed)
    1 Students are permitted to use AP/IB/A-Level credit towards the pre-reqs even though the coursework is posted with "P" grade. If any other pre-req was taken for P/NP grading, the student should obtain an email from the instructor of the course verifying a qualifying grade of B+ or higher was earned and attach that to their EASy request. Effective Fall 2022, the department will exclusively accept the Physics 4 series courses as pre-reqs for all core UD physics courses (the 2 series courses will no longer be accepted). This policy will apply to every student seeking to enroll, not just physics majors, no matter the term/year when they entered UCSD.
  • There is no priority seating/enrollment for students minoring in physics. Refer to the instructions above for requesting clearance to enroll in courses that list a major code restriction in the catalog.
  • Capped applicants are not permitted to pursue enrollment in core UD physics courses through WebReg, EASy, or by any other means unless/until their record has been updated to reflect a PY major code. Capped applicants who are not admitted into a physics major will not be approved to take core upper-division physics courses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you offer minors in subfields in physics (eg. astrophysics, biophysics, etc.)?
No, but you can select one/more courses from a subfield as part of your minor and apply those to your physics minor.
If I have prior completion of the PHYS 2 series and not the PHYS 4 series, what courses can I take to satisfy the physics minor?
You can use PHYS 2C, PHYS 2D and then choose any five courses from below (the areas are listed just to give you a frame of reference, course descriptions can be found here):
  • Astrophysics - PHYS 160, 161, 162, 163, 164, 165* (*not yet in the catalog, will be a radioastronomy lab taught starting SP23)
  • Biophysics - PHYS 177, 178 (note: PHYS 170 is in the catalog but isn't scheduled to be offered in the next 5 years)
  • Computational Physics - PHYS 141, 142
  • Earth Sciences - PHYS 111
  • Materials - PHYS 133
  • Other - PHYS 139 (topics vary), 151
Am I guaranteed enrollment in the courses I select for the physics minor?
Enrollment in proposed minor courses is not guaranteed. If you are unable to enroll in a proposed minor course you will need to enroll in some other course. Any/all eligible courses will automatically apply in the degree audit. For example, if you hoped to take PHYS 133 for your minor but could not enroll in that course and, instead, you took PHYS 141, PHYS 141 would automatically apply to the physics minor in your degree audit.
Can I extend my time at UCSD to wrap up a physics minor?
This is up to your college and not the Physics Department. Keep in mind that minors are not required to earn a degree at UCSD and so the campus may not approve a request to enroll beyond normative time in order to complete a minor.
Can non-physics courses apply to a physics minor?
No, as indicated above, only physics courses can apply to a physics minor.
Where can I see the physics course titles and descriptions?
Please see the Physics Courses section of the UCSD General Catalog.
What does PHYS 100-178 mean?
PHYS 100-178 means physics courses found in the General Catalog from within PHYS 100 through 178.
Can PHYS 191, 192, 198, and/or 199 apply to the physics minor?
No, they cannot.