Because of the large number of students interested in the undergraduate physics program and the limited resources available to accommodate this demand, the university has declared all majors and specializations in the Department of Physics as capped.

Students who were not admitted to UC San Diego in a Physics major (or who were admitted as physics majors but subsequently changed to a major outside of the physics department) have the opportunity to apply to a major in Physics during their undergraduate years, provided they meet the application requirements, screening courses, and submit an application to the physics capped major.

All eligible students who apply to the physics capped major will be considered; admission into the physics major will be limited based on the number of available seats in our program at the conclusion of the application period. Grades and GPA will be used as a metric for admission (if there are more eligible applicants than available seats, a lottery may be used).

Application requirements, screening courses, and steps to apply may change from year-to-year; the information below applies for academic year 2020-21.

Application Types, Timelines, Screening Courses, Requirements & Info

Freshman Admits in their 1st year at UC San Diego

Application Period: At the conclusion of spring 2021.

Application Requirements:

  • In addition to the screening courses listed below, make sure that any other physics major requirements you take are completed in accordance with the Major Regulations in the physics major checklists.
  • Have minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 in all screening courses.
  • Take screening courses here at UC San Diego (AP/IB/A-Level courses cannot be used as screening courses).
  • Complete the UC San Diego Physics Capped Major Application by the filing deadline. If hoping to add physics as your double major, you must also submit your Double Major Packet by the Physics Capped Major application filing deadline.

Screening Courses:

  • UC San Diego's PHYS 4A (winter 2021) and PHYS 4B (spring 2021)
  • Three UC San Diego courses from Math 18/31AH-20A-20B-20C/31BH-20D-20E/31CH

Additional Information:

  • Remember that all major-related courses must be taken for a letter-grade, not just screening courses. P/NP courses will not be accepted.
  • Admission into screening courses for a capped major cannot be guaranteed at UC San Diego.
  • Since admission into a Physics major is not guaranteed you are expected to enroll in courses for your current major in addition to completing the application requirements and while awaiting a decision on your capped application. If your major is currently undeclared, please consult with your college for course recommendations.
  • You can apply to only one physics major/specialization; select the physics major/specialization you are most interested in pursuing and are eligible for based on the application requirements.
  • Submit your application once the application opens. Day and time of application submission will be considered when making admission offers.
  • Applications will be reviewed after the application cycle closes and term grades have been finalized.
  • Once all applications have been reviewed, applicants will be notified of the outcome via the Virtual Advising Center (VAC).
  • If offered admission, you will need to accept the offer by following the instructions in the offer message sent to you through VAC. You must complete all steps within the acceptance process, by the specified deadline, in order to successfully update your major.
  • Students are expected to be aware of all application timelines and deadlines, and to check their @ucsd.edu email account and VAC account regularly. If offered admission, failure to take action by the specified date and time will result in a rescinded offer.
  • Entrance into core upper division physics courses (i.e. physics courses in the 100, 105, 110, 120, 130, and 140 series) is restricted to current physics majors. 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.
  • Consult Physics Advising with any questions about the physics capped major or the application process.
Freshman Admits in their 2nd Year at UC San Diego

Application Period: At the conclusion of spring term in the 2nd year at UC San Diego.

Application Requirements:

  • In addition to the screening courses listed below, make sure that you also complete all other lower division requirements for the physics major you're applying for and that all courses are completed in accordance with the Major Regulations in the physics major checklists.
  • Have minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 in all screening courses.
  • Complete at least 4 of the lecture screening courses here at UC San Diego
  • Complete the UC San Diego Physics Capped Major Application by the filing deadline. If hoping to add physics as your double major, you must also submit your Double Major Packet by the Physics Capped Major application filing deadline.

Screening Courses:

  • UC San Diego's Physics 4A-B-C-D-E
  • Physics 2CL
  • Math 18/31AH-20A-20B-20C/31BH-20D-20E/31CH

Additional Information:

  • Remember that all major-related courses must be taken for a letter-grade, not just screening courses. P/NP courses will not be accepted.
  • Admission into screening courses for a capped major cannot be guaranteed at UC San Diego. Screening courses taken outside of UCSD will not be included in the screening gpa but must still be completed with a 3.2 gpa (B+ grade).
  • Since admission into a Physics major is not guaranteed you are expected to enroll in courses for your current major in addition to completing the application requirements and while awaiting a decision on your capped application. If your major is currently undeclared, please consult with your college for course recommendations.
  • You can apply to only one physics major/specialization; select the physics major/specialization you are most interested in pursuing and are eligible for based on the application requirements.
  • Submit your application once the application opens. Day and time of application submission will be considered when making admission offers.
  • Applications will be reviewed after the application cycle closes and term grades have been finalized.
  • Once all applications have been reviewed, applicants will be notified of the outcome via the Virtual Advising Center (VAC).
  • If offered admission, you will need to accept the offer by following the instructions in the offer message sent to you through VAC. You must complete all steps within the acceptance process, by the specified deadline, in order to successfully update your major.
  • Students are expected to be aware of all application timelines and deadlines, and to check their @ucsd.edu email account and VAC account regularly. If offered admission, failure to take action by the specified date and time will result in a rescinded offer.
  • Entrance into core upper division physics courses (i.e. physics courses in the 100, 105, 110, 120, 130, and 140 series) is restricted to current physics majors. 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.
  • Consult Physics Advising with any questions about the physics capped major or the application process.
2020 Transfer Admits

Application Period: At the conclusion of spring 2021.

Application Requirements:

  • Satisfy the Transfer Major Preparation requirements by the end of the summer before your first fall term at UC San Diego. This will make it possible for you to take the required Physics 4 series screening courses during year 1 (Fall: PHYS 4C, Winter: PHYS 4D+4A, Spring: PHYS 4E+4B).
  • In addition to the screening courses listed below, you must also complete all of the other lower division requirements for the physics major you are applying for. The Major Regulations in the physics major checklists apply for lower division requirements that are not part of the screening courses.
  • Have minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2 in all screening courses
  • Complete at least 4 of the lecture screening courses here at UC San Diego
  • Complete the UC San Diego Physics Capped Major Application by the filing deadline. If hoping to add physics as your double major, you must also complete and submit your Double Major Packet by the application filing deadline.

Screening Courses:

  • UC San Diego's Physics 4A-B-C-D-E
  • Math 18/31AH-20A-20B-20C/31BH-20D-20E/31CH

Additional Information:

  • Remember that all major-related courses must be taken for a letter-grade, not just screening courses. P/NP courses will not be accepted.
  • Admission into screening courses for a capped major cannot be guaranteed at UC San Diego.
  • Since admission into a Physics major is not guaranteed you are expected to enroll in courses for your current major in addition to completing the application requirements and while awaiting a decision on your capped application.
  • You can apply to only one physics major/specialization; select the physics major/specialization you are most interested in pursuing and are eligible for based on the application requirements.
  • Submit your application once the application opens. Day and time of application submission will be considered when making admission offers.
  • Applications will be reviewed after the application cycle closes and term grades have been finalized.
  • Once all applications have been reviewed, applicants will be notified of the outcome via the Virtual Advising Center (VAC).
  • If offered admission, you will need to accept the offer by following the instructions in the offer message sent to you through VAC. You must complete all steps within the acceptance process, by the specified deadline, in order to successfully update your major.
  • Students are expected to be aware of all application timelines and deadlines, and to check their @ucsd.edu email account and VAC account regularly. If offered admission, failure to take action by the specified date and time will result in a rescinded offer.
  • Entrance into core upper division physics courses (i.e. physics courses in the 100, 105, 110, 120, 130, and 140 series) is restricted to current physics majors. 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.
  • Consult Physics Advising with any questions about the physics capped major or the application process.
All Others

Students who do not fit into one of the categories above are no longer eligible to apply to a major in physics but can pursue a minor in physics. If you feel you have an exceptional circumstance, please contact Physics Advising to discuss your situation.