Jun 24, 2024  
2018-2019 Catalog 
2018-2019 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics Minor

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Physics is the study of nature at its most fundamental. It addresses the underlying principles that govern all phenomena in the universe, both within everyday life as well as within the most exotic situations.

The physics minor equips students with a broad foundation to understand these diverse phenomena, including such topics as dynamics, planetary motion, quantum mechanics, atomic structure, special relativity, electricity, optics, and much more. The minor also provides an opportunity for a student to develop significant depth and explore modern topics in a few areas of his or her choosing. The physics minor may be useful for any student studying science or engineering who would like an enhanced foundation in his or her discipline. It may also appeal to any student who simply wishes to understand better the beauty and logic that governs the world around us and our place within it.

Minimum Requirements

To receive a minor in physics, a student must complete the following requirements, all of which must be taken for a letter grade (20 units total).

Physics Minor Core Courses [12 Units]

Lower Division Core Course [4 Units]

Complete the following course. Note there are several prerequisites before PHYS 010 can be taken.

Upper Division Core Courses [8 Units]

Complete two of the following physics courses:

Additional Upper Division Physics Courses [6-8 Units]

Complete at least two additional upper division physics courses (3-4 units each) of his/her choice.

Physics Minor Program learning Outcomes

Students graduating with a minor in Physics will have demonstrated the following learning outcomes:

  1. Physical Principles. Students will be able to apply basic physical principles—including classical mechanics, electricity and magnetism, quantum mechanics, and statistical mechanics—to explain, analyze, and predict a variety of natural phenomena.
  2. Mathematical Expertise. Students will be able to translate physical concepts into mathematical language. Furthermore students will be able to apply advanced mathematical techniques (e.g., calculus, linear algebra, probability, and statistics) in their explanations, analyses, and predictions of physical phenomena.

Guidelines Applying to all Natural Sciences Minors

To declare a minor, students must have an overall grade-point average of 2.0 (C) or better. Students should consult an advisor in the School of Natural Sciences to officially declare the minor and plan their courses. The following guidelines must be adhered to:

  • At least five courses, four of which must be upper division, must be taken for a letter grade.
  • At least three of the required courses must be taken at UC Merced.
  • Only one course may be used to satisfy two minor programs’ requirements.
  • Only one course may be used to satisfy both a minor and a major requirement.
  • Work for the minor must be completed within the 150 unit maximum limit for graduation. If the student’s major and minor are in different schools, the higher unit maximum will apply.
  • Students must consult the course descriptions for prerequisites to required courses.
  • The minor will appear on the student’s transcript.

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