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Graduate courses

Planned course offerings in the near future:

(subject to change, updated May 2024)

  • PHYS 201 - Teaching and Learning in the Sciences: fall, every year
  • PHYS 202 - Foundations of Physics: fall, every year
  • PHYS 204 - Biophysics: fall, 2024, 2026
  • PHYS 205 - Classical Mechanics: fall, every year
  • PHYS 209 - Soft Matter Physics: spring, 2025
  • PHYS 210 - Electrodynamics I: fall, every year
  • PHYS 211 - Electrodynamics II: spring, 2026
  • PHYS 212 - Statistical Mechanics: spring, every year
  • PHYS 227 - Machine Learning and Statistics for Physics and Astronomy: fall, 2025
  • PHYS 230 - Computation and Modeling for Interdisciplinary Biophysical Sciences, Biomaterials and Biotechnology: spring, every year
  • PHYS 231 - Imaging and Spectroscopy for Interdisciplinary Biophysical Sciences, Biomaterials and Biotechnology: fall, every year
  • PHYS 232 - Bio and Nano Fabrication for Interdisciplinary Biophysical Sciences, Biomaterials and Biotechnology: being discontinued
  • PHYS 234 - Frontiers of Molecular and Cellular Biotechnology: spring, 2024
  • PHYS 237 - Quantum Mechanics I: spring, every year
  • PHYS 238 - Quantum Mechanics II: not planned currently
  • PHYS 239 - Nano-Fabrication for Interdisciplinary Materials Sciences: fall, every year
  • PHYS 241 - Condensed Matter Physics: fall 2025
  • PHYS 242 - Advanced Condensed Matter Physics: not planned currently
  • PHYS 244 - Modern Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics: spring, 2024, 2026
  • PHYS 246 - Computational Materials Science: spring 2024, 2026
  • PHYS 248 - Quantum Optics: spring 2026
  • PHYS 251 - Introduction to Graduate Research: fall, every year
  • PHYS 270 - Academic Writing in Graduate Studies: not planned currently
  • PHYS 274 - Advanced Quantum Computing: spring 2025
  • PHYS 280 - Nonlinear Dynamics: spring 2025
  • PHYS 281 - Computational Physics: fall 2024, 2026
  • PHYS 292 - Special Topics in Physics: not planned currently
  • PHYS 293 - Physics Colloquium: every semester


Many needed forms are on the registrar's webpage, such as for registering for PHYS 295 units ("Independent Study"), taking an undergraduate course, or overriding a time conflict between courses with instructor approval.


As detailed in the Policies and Procedures, all Ph.D. and Masters students in the Physics group are required to take:

A. Core Course Requirements: To be completed within the first four semesters.

  1. PHYS 202 - Foundations of Physics
  2. PHYS 237 - Quantum Mechanics I
  3. PHYS 210 - Electrodynamics
  4. PHYS 212 - Statistical Mechanics
  5. PHYS 205 - Classical Mechanics

B. Electives: To be completed at any time during the PhD or Masters:

  1. An elective from the physics courses
  2. A second elective which may be chosen from any graduate level course in the School of Natural Sciences or Engineering, as long as they are 3 units and taken as a graded class. Any elective must be at least 3 units. There is no longer a requirement for at least one elective to be a course outside the student's primary research area.
  3. In addition, students must take 1 unit of QSB 294 Responsible Conduct of Research, 4 semesters of Physics seminar, 1 unit of PHYS 251 Introduction to Graduate Research.

If a student would like to attain a waiver for any of the courses above, the rules are:

  1. No waiver will be granted unless the student has passed the preliminary exam.
  2. For waivers regarding elective courses, a student can only ask for a waiver on one elective course. All core courses can be waived if competency is demonstrated.
  3. For a waiver on any of the courses, the student will need to attain the waiver from the faculty member who taught the course most recently. The faculty member granting the waiver will only do so if the student can successfully complete an exam in the course. This exam can be given at any time at the faculty and student's convenience, any time of the year. The final decision to grant the waiver will be taken by the Graduate Division.

Waivers are carried out by the General Petition from the Graduate Division forms website. Course electives must be regular graduate courses (not research or independent study). Courses offered by other graduate programs may be taken as electives but require approval from the graduate advisor. Requirements for formal course work beyond the minimum are flexible and are determined by the individual student's background and research topic in consultation with the major professor.

All Physics graduate students must successfully complete their core course requirements with a grade of S or B or better. A student may petition the graduate chair for a single B- grade to be accepted. Graduate students should be aware that grades obtained of B- may land them in a state of unsatisfactory degree progress, as they must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0, and their semester GPA must not remain below 3.0 for two consecutive semesters. Graduate students should also be advised that S/U grades do not count towards GPA calculation by the registrar.

After elective requirements have been fulfilled, students may take additional coursework. If permitted according to the course catalog for a given class, students may take such additional classes with the S/U option. They may also audit classes with permission of the instructor, although enrollment is preferred whenever possible to ensure there is a record of sufficient enrollment to justify offering the course.

See full list of physics courses in the course catalog.