California State University, Fullerton


James Feagin

McCarthy Hall 611


Bachelor of Science in Physics
Emphasis in Business
Minor in Physics
Master of Science in Physics

Kwang-Ping Cheng, Greg Childers, James Feagin, Heidi Fearn, Maria Iavarone, Murtadha Khakoo, Michael Loverude, Roger Nanes, Ionel Tifrea, Keith Wanser

Undergraduate programs: Kwang-Ping Cheng
Graduate program: Ionel Tifrea

Physics is the natural science that deals with the properties and interactions of matter and radiation. As such, physics provides the fundamental basis for all other sciences, and for applied science fields such as engineering and the health sciences. Many physicists engage in research designed to expand the frontiers of physical knowledge; others engage in the application of physics concepts in industry and in private and government laboratories.

The physics major program can provide the education necessary for the student to continue studies at the graduate level that, in turn, lead to the master’s and doctoral degrees. Alternatively, the physics major program can provide the education necessary for the student to work immediately upon graduation with the bachelor’s degree, either in industry or government labs, in applied physics fields, or in teaching at the secondary school level. Our optional emphasis in business provides students with experience in starting or managing a technology-oriented business.

Students are encouraged to obtain research experience by working with faculty in their ongoing research efforts. Independent Study provides practical work experience that integrates classroom studies with the needs and methods of modern industrial science.

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The Bachelor of Science in Physics requires a minimum of 120 units that includes courses for the major, General Education, all university requirements, and free electives.

Lower Division (32-34 units)
General Chemistry (Chem 120A, 125) (8)
Mathematics (Math 150A,B and 250A) (12)
Fundamental Physics (Physics 225, 226, 227 and 225L, 226L, 227L) (12)
Note: Students may take Chemistry 120B in place of Chemistry 125.
Upper Division (21 units)
Physics 300 Survey of Mathematical Physics (3)
Physics 310 Thermodynamics, Kinetic Theory and Statistical Physics (3)
Physics 320 Classical Mechanics (4)
Physics 330 Electromagnetic Theory (4)
Physics 340 Modern Physics (4)
Physics 380 Methods of Experimental Physics (3)
Upper-Division Physics Electives (14 units)

The Bachelor of Science in Physics requires 14 units of upper-division physics electives and must include one laboratory course.
For students completing a minor or second major in mathematics, another science, engineering or computer science, the upper-division physics elective requirement is 12 units.

Upper-Division Science and Engineering Electives (3 units)
Additional upper-division courses in mathematics, science, engineering and/or computer science approved by the department.

Upper-Division Writing Requirement (3 units)
English 301 Advanced College Writing
OR English 360 Scientific and Technical Writing
OR Business Admin 301 Advanced Business Communications
(for students pursuing the emphasis in business only)
OR Chemistry 340 Writing for the Chemical Sciences
OR Mathematics 380 History of Mathematics

Other Requirements
Each course in physics, mathematics, chemistry and English that is required for the major must be completed with grade of “C” (2.0) or better.
Formal academic advisement is required for all physics majors at least once every academic year.

This emphasis provides the fundamental background in business needed by physics majors who are interested either in starting a technology-related business or in joining the management staff of small to medium size technology-related businesses. Students who pursue this program do not take Physics 227L and substitute Accounting 201A Financial Accounting (3) for Chemistry 125 in lower-division major requirements, and complete the following 21 units in physics and business electives in place of the usual upper-division physics and science/engineering elective.

Finance 320 Business Finance (3)
Management 340 Organizational Behavior (3)
Management 465A New Venture Creation & Funding (3)
Management 465B New Venture Launch (3)
OR Management 495 Internship (3)
Marketing 351 Principles of Marketing (3)
Physics 481 Experimental Physics (3)
OR Physics 482 Modern Optics Laboratory (3)
Business Admin 301 Advanced Business Communication (3)
Note: Business Admin 301 satisfies the upper-division writing requirement.

Lower Division (12 units)
Fundamental Physics (Physics 225, 226, 227 and 225L, 226L, 227L)

Upper Division (9 units)
Upper-Division Experimental Physics (3)
Additional upper-division units in physics, selected in consultation with the department academic adviser with approval by the adviser and the department chair, (6).

The Bachelor’s Degree in Physics may be effectively combined with subject matter studies necessary for the Single Subject Teaching Credential in science. Science teachers are in great demand, and candidates may qualify for scholarships and paid teaching internships while completing their credential. Undergraduates are encouraged to contact the Center for Careers in Teaching (657-278-7130, and the Science Education Programs Office (657-278-2307, for early advisement and to plan efficient course selections for general education, the major and credential program coursework. Postbaccalaureate and graduate students should contact the Science Education Programs Office (657-278-2307, Additional information is found under Science Education Programs in the University Catalog as well as at

The Master of Science in Physics provides excellent preparation for applied research, development and engineering positions in industry or government. The program also is excellent preparation for teaching positions at the secondary school and community college level. In addition, the Master of Science degree provides an excellent foundation for further graduate study in physics or related fields such as bio-physics, geophysics or engineering.

Admission Requirements
Students must comply with all university admission requirements. Those seeking admission to the master’s program in physics must have: (1) a degree from an accredited college or university with a major in physics or a closely related field (students with majors other than physics may be admitted with deficiencies); and (2) a grade-point average of 2.75 for upper-division courses in the physics major. For students with undergraduate degrees in engineering, mathematics or other physical sciences, a GPA of 3.0 in upper-division major courses is required. In addition to the GPA requirements, all applicants are required to: (1) take the physics portion of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) either previously or within a year of application (the GRE requirement can be waived for physics majors who enter with a GPA of 3.6 or higher); (2) submit a one-page, 500-word maximum, typed statement of purpose, explaining the student’s interest in taking a higher degree in physics; and (3) submit three letters of recommendation.

International student applicants are required to pass the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with a score of 550 or higher for the computer test and 213 for the paper test.

The deadlines for completing online applications are March 1 for the fall semester and October 1 for the spring semester (see Mailed applications need to be postmarked by the same deadlines. However, it is important to note that deadlines may be changed based upon enrollment projections.

Required Core Course (12 units)
Physics 510 Mathematical Physics (3)
Physics 520 Analytical Mechanics (3)
Physics 530A Electromagnetic Theory I (3)
Physics 555A Quantum Physics I (3)
Additional 500-Level Requirements (6 units)
Plan A (comprehensive exam) requires any two of the following courses:
Physics 530B Electromagnetic Theory II (3)
Physics 555B Quantum Physics II (3)
Physics 516 Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics (3)
Physics 554 Solid State Physics (3)
Plan B (Physics 598 Thesis) requires one course chosen from Physics 530B, 555B, 516 or 554, plus:
Physics 599 Independent Graduate Research (3)
Plan C (Physics 597 Project) requires one course chosen from Physics 530B, 555B, 516 or 554, plus:
Physics 599 Independent Graduate Research (3)

Electives (8-12 units)
Electives are chosen in consultation with the graduate adviser. Electives may be chosen from any 400- or 500-level physics course with the exception of any courses which were used to satisfy baccalaureate degree requirements. In cases where the research objectives or career goals are interdisciplinary in nature, courses may be chosen in other fields (e.g., mathematics, chemistry, engineering, biology, geological science, science/teacher education).
Project, Thesis or Comprehensive Exam (0-4 units)
Physics 597 Project (1-3)
OR Physics 598 Thesis (1-6)
OR Comprehensive Exam

Courses are designated as PHYS in the class schedule.
A grade of “C” (2.0) or better is required in all prerequisite courses. Prerequisite requirements with exception of the grade requirement may be waived by the instructor of the course if the instructor is satisfied that the student is qualified to undertake the course.

PHYS 101    Survey of Physics

Description: Basic concepts of physics for the non-science major. Physical concepts in real-world contexts such as global warming. How our ideas about motion, energy, heat and temperature, light and color, electricity, and atoms form a framework for understanding the natural world.
Units: (3)

PHYS 101L    Survey of Physics Laboratory

Description: Corequisite: Physics 101. Experiments that demonstrate important concepts in astronomy and physics. For non-science majors.
Units: (1)

PHYS 102    Physical Science for Future Elementary Teachers

Description: Designed especially for the prospective elementary teacher, this activity-based course examines physical science concepts in real-world contexts such as global warming, kitchen science and the automobile. Lecture and laboratory is combined into a single unified learning experience. (Same as Chemistry 102)
Units: (3)

PHYS 115    Introductory Physics

Description: Prerequisites: high school algebra, geometry, and intermediate algebra. Development of problem solving skills in basic physics. For students with limited background in physics who plan to take additional physics courses. Does not fulfill physics requirements for majors or minors in the physical or biological sciences. (3 hours lecture, 1 hour recitation)
Units: (4)

PHYS 120    Introduction to Astronomy

Description: Prerequisite: high school algebra recommended. Celestial motion, the solar system, galactic structure, theories of the origin of the universe and the solar system.
Units: (3)

PHYS 211    Elementary Physics

Description: Corequisites: Mathematics 130 or 150A, Physics 211L. Introduction to mechanics and thermodynamics. Designed for life and health science majors.
Units: (3)

PHYS 211L    Elementary Physics: Laboratory

Description: Corequisite: enrollment in the corresponding 211 lecture. Laboratory 211. (3 hours laboratory). Instructional fee required. 
Units: (1)

PHYS 212    Elementary Physics

Description: Prerequisite: Physics 211 with a grade of “C” (2.0) or better. Corequisite: Physics 212L. Introduction to electricity and magnetism, wave motion and optics. Designed for life and health science majors.
Units: (3)

PHYS 212L    Elementary Physics: Laboratory

Description: Corequisite: enrollment in the corresponding 212 lecture. (3 hours laboratory). Laboratory for 212. Instructional fee required. 
Units: (1)

PHYS 225    Fundamental Physics: Mechanics

Description: Prerequisite: Mathematics 150A. Corequisite: Physics 225L. Classical Newtonian mechanics; linear and circular motion; energy; linear/angular momentum; systems of particles; rigid body motion; wave motion and sound.
Units: (3)

PHYS 225L    Fundamental Physics: Laboratory

Description: Corequisite: enrollment in 225 lecture (3 hours laboratory). Laboratory for Physics 225. Instructional fee required. 
Units: (1)

PHYS 226    Fundamental Physics: Electricity and Magnetism

Description: Prerequisites: Mathematics 150B and Physics 225 or equivalent; concurrent enrollment in Physics 226L required. Electrostatics, electric potential, capacitance, dielectrics, electrical circuits, resistance, emf, electromagnetic induction, magnetism and magnetic materials, and introduction to Maxwell’s equations.
Units: (3)

PHYS 226L    Fundamental Physics: Laboratory

Description: Corequisite: enrollment in 226 lecture (3 hours laboratory). Laboratory for Physics 226. Instructional fee required. 
Units: (1)

PHYS 227    Fundamental Physics: Waves, Optics, and Modern Physics

Description: Prerequisite: Physics 226 with a grade of “C” (2.0) or better, or equivalent. Corequisite: enrollment in Physics 227L laboratory except for Biochemistry, Chemistry and Mechanical Engineering majors who may enroll for one unit credit (optics component). All others must enroll for three units credit. Geometrical and physical optics, wave phenomena; quantum physics, including the photoelectric effect, line spectra and the Bohr atom; the wave nature of matter, Schroedinger’s equation and solutions; the Uncertainty Principle; special theory of relativity.
Units: (3 or 1)

PHYS 227L    Fundamental Physics: Laboratory

Description: Corequisite: Enrollment in 227 lecture (3 hours laboratory). Laboratory for Physics 227. Instructional fee required. 
Units: (1)

PHYS 300    Survey of Mathematical Physics

Description: Prerequisite: Mathematics 250A. Mathematical techniques required for upper-division physics courses, including differential vector operators, complex variables, partial and ordinary differential equations, special functions, Fourier transforms and series, matrices and operators, probability and statistics.
Units: (3)

PHYS 301    Energy and the Environment

Description: Prerequisites: completion of general education requirement in physical science or earth and astronomical science. Basic physical principles applied to the generation and use of energy. Conventional and alternative energy sources. Environmental consequences of energy use, greenhouse effect, global warming. Energy conservation principles.
Units: (3)

PHYS 310    Thermodynamics, Kinetic Theory, and Statistical Physics

Description: Prerequisites: Physics 227. Laws of thermodynamics with physical, chemical and engineering applications; kinetic theory of gases. Introduction to statistical physics with reexamination of laws of thermodynamics.
Units: (3)

PHYS 315    Computational Physics

Description: Prerequisite: Physics 227. Previous computing experience recommended. Basic numerical methods in physics. Applications may include curve fitting and minimization, numerical simulation of classical particles, waves and Fourier analysis, quantum square well, Monte Carlo methods and diffusion. Hands-on computing with high-level languages, graphics and symbolic mathematics. (1 hour lecture, 4 hours activity)
Units: (3)

PHYS 320    Classical Mechanics

Description: Prerequisites: Physics 227 and Physics 300. Classical mechanics and associated mathematical and numerical techniques: Newtonian dynamics; Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics.
Units: (4)

PHYS 330    Electromagnetic Theory

Description: Prerequisites: Physics 227 and 300. Applications of vector calculus and Maxwell’s equations to the propagation of EM waves in dielectrics, plasmas, and conductors. Selected topics in radiation, diffraction, and Eigen function expansions of static and waveguide fields.
Units: (4)

PHYS 340    Modern Physics

Description: Prerequisites: Physics 227 and 300. Modern physical theories, their experimental foundations and applications: special relativity; quantum physics; introduction to solid state physics.
Units: (4)

PHYS 380    Methods of Experimental Physics

Description: Prerequisite: Physics 226. Experiments using analog, digital, and integrated circuits, including filtering circuits, diodes, transistor amplifiers, operational amplifiers, triggers, and digital logic. Introduction to automated experimentation. (1 hour lecture, 6 hours laboratory). Instructional fee required.
Units: (3)

PHYS 411    Modern Optics

Description: Prerequisites: Physics 300, 330 or 340. Wave propagation. Fourier optics, introduction to spatial filtering and image enhancement, lasers, analytical ray tracing, matrix methods in optics.
Units: (3)

PHYS 414    Physics of the Solar System

Description: Prerequisites: Physics 227 and 300. Physics 310 recommended. Solar system physics, including physical principles underlying current experiments in planetary science and space physics. Solar physics; planetary dynamics; experimental probes of planetary surfaces, interiors and atmospheres; physical constraints on theories of the solar system origin.
Units: (3)

PHYS 416    Thermal and Statistical Physics

Description: Prerequisites: Physics 300 and 310. Disciplines of thermodynamics statistical mechanics and kinetic theory (and their applications); their unifying microscopic foundation.
Units: (3)

PHYS 454    Introduction to the Solid State of Matter

Description: Prerequisites: Physics 300 and 340. Physical properties of matter in the solid state, as explained by atomic theory. Crystal structure, thermal, electric and magnetic properties of metals, semi-conductors, band theory and solid state devices.
Units: (3)

PHYS 455    Introduction to Quantum Physics

Description: Prerequisites: Physics 300 and 340. Concepts and theory of quantum physics. Early quantum theories, the Schroedinger equation, Eigenvalue equations, operators, commutation properties, applications to simple quantum systems, angular momentum.
Units: (3)

PHYS 460T    Advanced Topics in Contemporary Physics

Description: Prerequisites: upper-division standing in physics and consent of instructor and department chair. Advanced lecture course covering a field of physics of current interest not covered in other courses, such as plasma physics, superconductivity, solid state devices, fiber optics and photonics, astrophysics, subatomic physics. May be repeated for credit with a different topic.
Units: (3)

PHYS 476    Atomic/Molecular Physics

Description: Prerequisite: Physics 300 and 340. Theory of atoms and small molecules including perturbation methods. Topics include the interaction of atoms and molecules with electric and magnetic fields and electromagnetic radiation, angular momentum coupling, anti-symmetrization, and the spectroscopy of atoms and simple diatomic methods.
Units: (3)

PHYS 481    Experimental Physics

Description: Prerequisite: Physics 300 and 380. Techniques and methods of experimental physics including: use of sensors, transducers, time series, power spectra, phase sensitive detection, computer interfacing and signal conditioning. Experiments cover several areas of physics. (1 hour lecture, 6 hours laboratory). Instructional fee required.
Units: (3)

PHYS 482    Modern Optics Laboratory

Description: Prerequisites: Physics 340, 380 and 411 recommended. Experiments in optics, including Fourier optics, holography, fiber optics, diffraction, interferometry, laser physics, light scattering and optical detection, including photon counting and photographic techniques. (1 hour lecture, 6 hours laboratory). Instructional fee required.
Units: (3)

PHYS 495    Internship

Description: Prerequisites: junior or senior standing in physics and consent of the chair. Professional physics work in industry or government to provide an in-depth experience. Written report required. May be repeated once for credit.
Units: (1-3)

PHYS 496    Student-to-Student Tutorials

Description: Prerequisites: upper-division standing and consent of chair. Learn through teaching, increase mastery of subject matter, develop awareness of teaching problems and competence in teaching techniques. Consult “Student-to-Student Tutorials” in this catalog for more complete course description.
Units: (1-3)

PHYS 499    Independent Study

Description: Prerequisite: approval of study plan by department chair and instructor. Topic in physics, selected in consultation with and completed under the supervision of the instructor. May be repeated for credit to a maximum of six units.
Units: (1-3)

PHYS 510    Mathematical Physics

Description: Prerequisite: Physics 300. Advanced techniques in mathematical physics: calculus of variation, coordinate transformations, tensor analysis, special functions, series solutions of differential equations, orthogonal functions, partial differential equations, numerical techniques for the solution of differential equations, complex variables, integral transforms, probability, Monte Carlo methods.
Units: (3)

PHYS 516    Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics

Description: Prerequisite: Physics 310 or equivalent upper-division thermodynamics, Physics 510. Physics 520 recommended. Fundamental principles of classical and quantum statistics. Non-interacting Boltzmann, Bose and Fermi systems. Superconductivity, BE condensation and phase transitions. Fluctuation and kinetic theory, interacting particles via Monte Carlo techniques. Laws of thermodynamics and applications.
Units: (3)

PHYS 520    Analytical Mechanics

Description: Prerequisites: Physics 330 and 510. Advanced techniques for solution of problems in classical mechanics: Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of the equations of motion, variation techniques, conservation theorems, canonical transformations, Hamilton-Jacobi theory, numerical techniques, selected applications.
Units: (3)

PHYS 530A    Electromagnetic Theory I

Description: Prerequisite: Physics 330. Corequisite: Physics 510. Classical electro-magnetic theory: boundary value problems in electrostatics, multipoles, electrostatics of macroscopic media, magnetostatics, time-varying fields, Maxwell’s equations, plane electromagnetic waves and wave propagation.
Units: (3)

PHYS 530B    Electromagnetic Theory II

Description: Prerequisites: Physics 510 and 530A. Advanced electromagnetic theory: wave guides and cavities, radiating systems, scattering, diffraction, relativistic effects, collisions between charged particles, radiation from moving charges, multipole fields, radiation damping, absorption and radiation by sound systems.
Units: (3)

PHYS 554    Solid State Physics

Description: Prerequisites: Physics 510 and 555A. Fundamental physics of matter in solid state systems. Crystal structure, metals (Drude theory, Sommerfeld theory, band structure, semiclassical model of electron dynamics, magnetic properties, phonons in metals); semiconductors and superconductors; experimental techniques.
Units: (3)

PHYS 555A    Quantum Physics I

Description: Prerequisites: Physics 340 and Physics 455 recommended. Corequisite: Physics 510. Principles and techniques of modern quantum mechanics, applications to simple three-dimensional systems, properties of angular momentum.
Units: (3)

PHYS 555B    Quantum Physics II

Description: Prerequisites: Physics 510 and 555A. Corequisite: Physics 520. Advanced topics in quantum physics: scattering theory, electron spin, perturbation theory and applications, approximation methods for time dependent problems, systems of identical particles.
Units: (3)

PHYS 560T    Advanced Topics in Contemporary Physics

Description: Prerequisites: Physics 510 and consent of the instructor. Current advances and research topics in physics, including atomic physics, quantum electrodynamics, fiber optics/ photonics. May be repeated once for credit with a different topic.
Units: (3)

PHYS 597    Project

Description: Planning, preparation, and completion of a project in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the master’s degree. Credit to be obtained only upon formal completion of a project paper approved by the department graduate committee.
Units: (1-3)

PHYS 598    Thesis

Description: Planning, preparation and completion of an acceptable thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the master’s degree. Credit to be obtained only upon formal submission of thesis.
Units: (1-6)

PHYS 599    Independent Graduate Research

Description: Prerequisite: written approval of study plan by department committee and by instructor. Open only to graduate students and only with consent of a faculty member. May be repeated for credit.
Units: (1-3)

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