OSD documents must be handled in accordance to OSD policies. Click here for details.

All petitions/forms needing the review and/or signature of a Physics instructor and/or the Physics Department Chair and/or the Physics Undergraduate Advisor must be submitted to the Physics Advising Office, located in Mayer Hall Addition, room 2581.
Do not submit petitions/forms directly to physics faculty members.

Click on a header below to see how to successfully process the following physics-related petitions/forms. Refer to the Submission of Documents and Our Document Review Cycle information.

The Undergraduate Student Petition

The Undergraduate Student Petition is used for course equivalency, A-Level course exemptions, requests for exceptions to major requirements, and requests for exceptions to campus policies (including the campus' repeat policy). These petitions are not used to request preauthorization/clearance to enroll (use EASy for that). Select a request type below to see petition instructions and associated timelines for review/processing.

Petition for Course Equivalency

Submit your petition to the department that matches the subject code of the course you took:

In Physics, course equivalency is determined by reviewing complete course syllabi to see if there is a match in the breadth, depth, scope, and length of time spent covering material at an equivalent level as one/more of our courses.

We will not award Physics 1, 2, or 4 series equivalency for a non-calculus based course. Non-calculus based courses covering topics we teach in PHYS 1, 2, or 4 are only eligible for equivalency as PHYS 10, even courses that are part of a year-long seriesNo exceptions will be granted.

Follow the steps below to have your courses reviewed for physics equivalency:

STEP 1: Use the chart below to help identify the UCSD physics course(s) that are most similar to yours; click here to see course descriptions).

Course Type Math Used Aim Topics
PHYS 1A lecture elementary calculus biology, life sci. mechanics
PHYS 1AL lab elementary calculus biology, life sci. mechanics
PHYS 1B lecture elementary calculus biology, life sci. electricity & magnetism
PHYS 1BL lab elementary calculus biology, life sci. electricity & magnetism
PHYS 1C lecture elementary calculus biology, life sci. waves, optics, modern physics
PHYS 1CL lab elementary calculus biology, life sci. waves, optics, modern physics
PHYS 2A lecture advanced calculus physical sci. & engineering mechanics
PHYS 2B lecture advanced calculus physical sci. & engineering electricity & magnetism
PHYS 2BL lab advanced calculus physical sci. & engineering mechanics
PHYS 2C lecture advanced calculus physical sci. & engineering waves, thermo, optics
PHYS 2CL lab advanced calculus physical sci. & engineering electricity & magnetism
PHYS 2D lecture advanced calculus and beyond physical sci. & engineering relativity and quantum physics
PHYS 2DL lab advanced calculus physical sci. & engineering modern physics
PHYS 10 lecture algebra, trigonometry non-science most from above

STEP 2: Print and complete an Undergraduate Student Petition. When completing the petition form, please make sure you:

  • include all of your physics equivalency requests on one petition form (do not use a separate form for each request)
  • complete the form in pen
  • check the "Departmental Exception" box at the top of the form
  • fill in the section asking for your personal identifying and contact information
  • leave blank the "If UCSD Course" section
  • indicate what you are requesting in the Request section of the form (e.g. "For my PHYS XXX, XXX, and XXX courses from XXXXX University to count as UCSDs PHYS XXX, XXX, XXX and XXX.")
  • indicate what you think makes the courses equivalent in the "Reason for Request" section of the form (e.g. "My course(s) match the breadth, depth, scope, and length of time spent covering material at an equivalent level as the UCSD courses I am requesting equivalency for.")
  • sign and date the form

STEP 3: Attach a complete* course syllabus for each course you want reviewed. Each syllabus should be from the term in which you were enrolled in the course; at the very least, the syllabus must be from within the same academic year in you were enrolled in the course (eg. if you took the course in FA14 you may submit the FA14 or the SP15 syllabus). If you are petitioning for a course in advance of enrolling, please submit a syllabus from the current academic year.

* A complete syllabus is one that includes all of the following information:

  • instructor name and contact info
  • course details
  • required textbook(s)
  • grading criteria
  • types of exams and grade and/or total points/percentage breakdown
  • schedule detailing what material is covered during each class session
  • schedule of labs and info. about what each lab will be about

Note: In some cases, portions of the syllabus may be found online, as many instructors are now posting syllabus information on a course website in lieu of providing this information via hard-copy. In such cases, you are permitted to print and combine the documents that, together, would constitute the complete syllabus. Course outlines and/or catalog course descriptions are not the same as course syllabi and are not accepted in lieu of (or as part of) syllabi for physics equivalency review. Do not submit original copies of syllabus information. Instead, please make a copy of any document you want to keep, and submit the copies with your petition.

STEP 4: Refer to the Submission of Documents and Our Document Review Cycle information.

Petition for A-Level Physics Course Exemptions

Submit your petition to the department that matches the subject code of the course you took:

In Physics, A-Level course exemptions are based on the syllabus code of your A-Level.

Follow the steps below to have your A-Level Physics course exemptions posted:

STEP 1: Use the chart below to see what exemption(s) you are eligible for:

Exemptions by Syllabus Code
Syllabus Code Exempts from
9702 PHYS 1A, 1AL, 1B, 1BL, 1C, 1CL
9PH07 PHYS 2A
9646 PHYS 10
2450+2451 PHYS 10

STEP 2: Print and complete an Undergraduate Student Petition. When completing the petition form, please make sure you:

  • include all of your physics equivalency requests on one petition form (do not use a separate form for each request)
  • complete the form in pen
  • check the "Departmental Exception" box at the top of the form
  • fill in the section asking for your personal identifying and contact information
  • leave blank the "If UCSD Course" section
  • indicate what you are requesting in the Request section of the form (e.g. "For my A-Level Physics with syllabus code XXXX to exempt from UCSDs PHYS XXX.")
  • leave blank the "Reason for Request" section
  • sign and date the form

STEP 3: Attach a copy of your A-Level score report that shows your syllabus code(s).

STEP 4: Refer to the Submission of Documents and Our Document Review Cycle information.

Petition for Exception to Major Requirements (for current physics majors only)

Most commonly applies to:

  • Requests to waive/substitute a major requirement
  • Requests to make a course acceptable towards a major requirement
  • Requests to use a D grade towards the major requirements (for UD courses only, minimum major gpa of 2.5 required)

Approval of requests is not guaranteed. Follow the steps below to have your request considered:

STEP 1: Print and complete an Undergraduate Student Petition. When completing the petition form, please make sure you:

  • include all of your physics equivalency requests on one petition form (do not use a separate form for each request)
  • complete the form in pen
  • check the "Departmental Exception" box at the top of the form
  • fill in the section asking for your personal identifying and contact information
  • fill in the "If UCSD Course" section based on info. from WebReg and/or the Online Schedule of Classes
  • indicate what you are requesting in the Request section of the form (e.g. "For NANO 106 "Crystallography of Materials" and NANO 108 "Materials Science and Engineering" to count towards the UD restricted electives for my PY32 major.")
  • indicate what you think makes the request suitable (e.g. "These courses apply to materials physics in the following ways...")
  • sign and date the form

STEP 2: Attach relevant supporting documentation (eg. course syllabus, verification of circumstances, etc.).

STEP 3: Refer to the Submission of Documents and Our Document Review Cycle information.

Petition for Exception to University Policy

Most commonly applies to:

  • Requests for retroactive add/withdrawal from a physics course
  • Requests to repeat a physics course for the third time
  • Requests for extension to an Incomplete Grade

All petitions needing the signature of an instructor in the Physics Department and/or the Physics Department Chair must be submitted to the Physics Advising Office, located in Mayer Hall Addition, room 2581. Do not submit petitions/forms directly to the instructor.

These requests require you to download, complete, and submit an Undergraduate Student Petition along with particular supplementary materials based on the nature of the request. Contact us through VAC before you draft and submit your petition, as there are specific departmental protocols that we need to discuss with you. Refer to the Submission of Documents and Our Document Review Cycle information.

Credit by Examination Form

Credit by Examination is an option that allows a student with prior mastery of ALL of the material taught in a UCSD course, but no credit, to take a single exam to demonstrate their mastery of the course material and earn credit for the course without sitting through it. Please note the following regarding Credit by Examination in Physics:

  • Exams take place during finals week, only.
  • You can only attempt to test out of physics lecture courses.
  • You can only attempt to test out of a physics course if you have already satisfied all of the pre-reqs for the course (you cannot test out of a course if you are currently taking the pre-reqs).
  • You cannot have already received a grade or a W in the course you want to test out of.
  • You cannot currently be enrolled in the course you want to test out of.
  • You must be in good academic standing to attempt a course via Credit by Exam.
  • You must request and attend a physics advising appointment no later than week 8 of the academic term to go over exam details and to process the required Credit by Exam form (we will provide the form, you do not need to download it). DO NOT attempt to sign-up for Credit by Exam for a physics course or fill out the Credit by Exam form with a physics instructor.
  • Once your Credit by Exam form has been processed at your advising appointment, you must submit your form to your college for processing. Once your college has processed your Credit by Exam form you must submit your form to the Registrar's Office and they will enroll you in the course, listing on your record that your enrollment is via Credit by Exam. The deadline to submit Credit by Exam forms to the Registrar's Office is 4:30pm on Friday of week 10.

Please go to the Advising page and follow the listed instructions for requesting your advising appointment.

Double Major Packet

Non-Majors: If you are not currently a physics major, you must apply to the Physics Capped major before applying for a double major - click here for details.

Majors: If you are currently a physics major and want to add a major from another department as your second major, contact that department before you begin filling out your Double Major Packet. Download, print, and complete the Double Major Packet in accordance to the tips below. Refer to the Submission of Documents and Our Document Review Cycle information.

Tips for all documents in the Double Major Packet:

  • Write in pen
  • Keep all forms as clean as possible (avoid scribbles, skipped lines, dark eraser markings, crumpled/folded pages, etc.)
  • Write neatly or type your forms
  • Fill in all required information (do not leave blanks)

Tips for the Double Major Form:

  • Use the Major Checklists to see the specific requirements for the physics major/specialization you wish to pursue. The checklist will also show other details you need to list on your form (i.e. the major code, the title of the major, etc.). If you are taking courses that are above/beyond the requirements for one/both majors, do not include them on your double major form.
  • Spell out each specific lower division major requirement on the double major form. For example:
    1. PHYS 2A-B-C-D, 2CL-DL    3. CHEM 6A-B                   
    2. MATH 18; 20A-B-C-D-E     4. CSE 5A                          
  • List each upper division major requirement on a separate line of the form and not skipping any lines. For example:
    1. PHYS 100A               
    2. PHYS 100B               
    3. PHYS 105A               
    4. PHYS 110A               
    5. PHYS 120                 
  • Select specific courses for any pre-grad, lab, and elective physics major requirements (you will be permitted to change these courses later on, provided they are not shared with your other major)
  • Make sure you do not double list any courses
  • Check the "Quarter by Quarter Plan" and "Statement of Purpose" boxes on the double major form
  • Sign and date the double major form
  • Refer to the Submission of Documents and Our Document Review Cycle information

Tips for the Quarter by Quarter Plan:

  • Use our Blank Qtr-by-Qtr Template or confirm that whatever document you are using for your quarterly plan includes all of the fields on our template.
  • Starting at the top of the quarterly grid, list your current work-in-progress under the current term. Then proceed with listing all future terms. Do not list any past terms/courses on your plan.
  • If you are taking courses that are above/beyond the requirements for one/both majors, include them on your plan (do not list them on your double major form).
  • Fill in the last two digits of the academic year for each term. For example, for fall 2019, Fall 20__ would have "19" add in the blank, underlined space so that it reads Fall 2019.
  • Make sure all required courses from the Double Major Form that are currently in progress or will be taken in future are listed on your plan
  • Tally all of the following units:
    • By term
    • By academic year
    • Past terms (excluding AP/IB units)
    • Total at the time of graduation (make sure total does not exceed 240 units)

Tips for the Statement of Purpose:

  • Indicate why you want to pursue both majors.
  • Address anomalies in your quarterly plan (eg. terms with less than 12 units or more than 22 units; courses you are taking that are not required for one/both majors; etc.).
  • Make sure your statement is 1-2 paragraphs long (not longer, unless you have extremely unique circumstances to address).

Qtr-by-Qtr Form

Use the Qtr-by-Qtr Form to create your own proposed plan for completing the physics major/minor. You must have this plan reviewed and approved by the Physics Advisor before you begin following it. Refer to the Submission of Documents and Our Document Review Cycle information.

EAP Academic Planning Form

Consult with the Programs Abroad Office and petition for all of your course equivalencies before filling out your EAP Academic Planning Form. Refer to the Submission of Documents and Our Document Review Cycle information.

Physics 99, 199 Forms

Click here to learn about research opportunities in Physics and to obtain the PHYS 99 and 199 forms. Refer to the Submission of Documents and Our Document Review Cycle information.

Honors Program Application Packet

Click here to learn about the Physics Honors Program and to obtain the Honors Program Application Packet. Refer to the Submission of Documents and Our Document Review Cycle information.

Maximum Unit Appeal Form

Contact your college to discuss the maximum unit limitation and to obtain the Maximum Unity Appeal Forms. Refer to the Submission of Documents and Our Document Review Cycle information.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Appeal Form

Contact the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office to discuss financial aid appeals and to obtain required forms. Refer to the Submission of Documents and Our Document Review Cycle information.

Readmission to UCSD Form

Contact your college to discuss the process to be readmitted to UC San Diego and to obtain the appropriate readmission form. Refer to the Submission of Documents and Our Document Review Cycle information.

FAQs about Physics Petitions and Forms

What do I do if I need help filling out my documents?
Consult with the Physics Advisor; click here to see advising options.
Can my document be signed/processed "on the spot"?
To ensure the appropriate processing of your material, we do not sign/process documents on the spot. Refer to the Submission of Documents and Our Document Review Cycle information.
Do I need to make an appointment to have my document signed/processed?
No, we do not use appointments for having documents signed/processed. Refer to the Submission of Documents and Our Document Review Cycle information.
I submitted my documents to the Physics Advising Office when it was closed. How do I know that my documents were received?
Once we re-open and retrieve your documents we will alert you through VAC.
How long will it take for my documents to be processed?
Refer to the Submission of Documents and Our Document Review Cycle information.
I no longer have the syllabus for the physics courses I took. What should I do?
Contact the instructor and dept. at the school where you took the course to request this material (most schools save copies of syllabi because they know students who transfer will need this material). You may also find success by contacting students who took the courses with you. If you still come up short, please contact us through VAC and we will discuss next steps.
My friend took the same course at the same school as I did. Can I have the same equivalencies my friend was awarded?
Potentially! Please contact us through VAC so we can look into this.
My equivalency request was denied. How do I appeal the decision?
Contact us through VAC for advice on your specific case.
I need a document processed before the next scheduled review session for my type of document. What should I do?
Contact us through VAC for instructions on how to proceed.
I want to take a course without the pre-req. Should I submit an Undergraduate Student Petition?
No. Course clearance requests are processed through the university's Enrollment Authorization System (EASy). However, please note that we strictly enforce the listed pre-reqs for our courses. If you are missing one/more pre-reqs you will not be cleared to enroll. Instead, you must complete the listed pre-req in advance of taking our course. Click here to see our pre-req. policy information.
I am away from campus. Can I email you my petition?
We're sorry, but electronic materials are not accepted at this time. To see options for submitting your documents, refer to the Submission of Documents and Our Document Review Cycle information.
I emailed my petition to the Physics Advisor but have not heard back. What should I do?
As per the bounce notification you received when you sent your email, your message was not received. To see options for submitting your documents, refer to the Submission of Documents and Our Document Review Cycle information.

Submission of Documents and Our Document Review Cycle

Please see below for instructions on submitting documents as well as timelines for the review and processing of documents.

Where and how to Submit Documents

Submit documents to the Physics Advising Office, located in Mayer Hall Addition room 2581. If our office door is closed when you arrive, please slide your documents under the door; when we re-open we will retrieve your documents contact you through VAC regarding the status of your documents.

Although we do not accept electronic materials at this time, students who are away from campus can mail their documents to the Physics Advising Office, and we will contact you through VAC to alert you when we receive them:

ATTN Physics Undergraduate Advisor
Department of Physics, UCSD
2581 Mayer Hall Addition
La Jolla, CA 92093-0319

Our Document Review Cycle

There is a unique review cycle for each type of document submitted (see chart below). When submitting documents, please keep the following in mind:

  • Do not submit original copies of supplementary documents if you need to retain them for any reason. Instead, make copies of the documents, give us the copies, and keep the original documents in your possession. After documents are fully processed by our office they are either securely shredded or sent to the next office needing to review them.
  • Submit documents well in advance of our next review session for your document type so that, in the event that your documents are incomplete, you have time to revise and resubmit them before the review session. Only complete documents submitted on/by the day before the session will make it into the session.
  • Incomplete documents will be returned to you, unprocessed.
  • You will be kept informed through VAC about the status of your documents. Be sure to monitor VAC so you do not miss a notification!
  • There are no review sessions scheduled during school breaks (i.e. winter break, spring break, the short breaks before and after summer session 1, 2). If you need to have a document reviewed during these periods please contact us through VAC for instructions on how to proceed.
Document type When do review sessions typically take place? How many review sessions will it typically take for my documents to be fully processed? When should I expect to be notified that my documents have been fully processed?
Undergraduate Student Petition (Course Equivalency) Every other Thursday, weeks 3-10 2 By 3:30pm on the Friday following the 2nd scheduled review session.
Undergraduate Student Petition (A-Level Course Exemptions) Every other Thursday, weeks 3-10 2 By 3:30pm on the Friday following the 2nd scheduled review session.
Undergraduate Student Petition (Exception to Major Requirements) Every Thursday, weeks 1-10 2 By 3:30pm on the Friday following the 2nd scheduled review session.
Double Major Packet Every Thursday, weeks 3-10 2 By 3:30pm on the Friday following the 2nd scheduled review session.
Qtr-by-Qtr Form Every Thursday, weeks 1-10 2 By 3:30pm on the Friday following the 2nd scheduled review session.
EAP Academic Planning Form Every Thursday, weeks 1-10 2 By 3:30pm on the Friday following the 2nd scheduled review session.
PHYS 99/199 Forms Thursday, weeks 6-10 (requests for upcoming term); Thursday, week 1 (requests for current term) 1 By 3:30pm on the Friday following the review session.
Honors Program Application Packet Thursday, weeks 6-10 (requests for upcoming term); Thursday, week 1 (requests for current term) 1 By 3:30pm on the Friday following the review session.
Max Unit Appeal Form Every Thursday, weeks 1-10 2 By 3:30pm on the Friday following the 2nd scheduled review session.
Financial Aid Appeal Form Every Thursday, weeks 1-10 2 By 3:30pm on the Friday following the 2nd scheduled review session.
Readmission Every Thursday, weeks 1-10 2 By 3:30pm on the Friday following the 2nd scheduled review session.
All Other Documents Every Thursday, weeks 1-10 2 By 3:30pm on the Friday following the 2nd scheduled review session.