The Physics Honors Program

The Department of Physics offers an Honors Program for students who demonstrate excellence in the major. Eligibility for the Honors Program includes completion of all required lower-division physics courses, nine upper-division physics courses, and a GPA of at least 3.50 in the physics major.

The Honors Program consists of a minimum of eight units of Honors Thesis Research (Physics 199H), an Honors Thesis, and the presentation of the research to faculty and peers at UC San Diego's Undergraduate Research Conference or an Undergraduate Seminar.

Students who successfully complete the Honors Program and who have maintained a GPA of at least a 3.50 in the major will have one of the following designations on their diploma, based on an average of their major GPA and the grade for their research project:

3.50 – 3.67 "with Distinction"
3.68 – 3.85 "with High Distinction"
3.86 – 4.00 "with Highest Distinction"

Applications to the Physics Department Honors Program must be submitted via EASy and are due NLT Friday of week 1 in the term you want to start the program (see instructions here). Late applications will not be accepted. 


No, it's your major gpa that must be a 3.5 or above in order to be eligible to apply.

Provided you have met the eligibility requirements, you may apply before your senior year.

At the very least, you must apply two terms in advance of your graduation. Program participants must enroll for 2-3 terms of PHYS 199H and earn 8-12 199H units; one term must be a 4-unit PHYS 199H.

Yes, you must submit an EASy request to enroll in PHYS 199H units each term (see instructions here). Be sure to include your honors application packet with each EASy request, even after your first term of enrollment in PHYS 199H.

No, only PHYS 199H applies to the Physics Honors Program and only students who are admitted to the Physics Honors Program are able to enroll in PHYS 199H.

Only professors in the Physics Department can serve as your supervisor for the Physics Honors Program.

No, your research must be unique to the Physics Honors Program.

Program participants are required to have a single 4-UNIT PHYS 199H applied as an upper division restricted elective for their physics major instead of the 4-UNIT PHYS 199 we typically accept.

Program participants must work with their faculty honors project advisor to schedule a day, time, and location to present their research. Some faculty simply book a room in a dept. space and invite people to hear their participant present. Other faculty help their student get signed up to present at the UCSD Undergraduate Research Conference (URC).


Have a Honors Program question not addressed in the info. above? Contact us through VAC to let us know!