The minor in physics consists of seven courses (twenty-eight units) of letter-graded physics coursework from the following list with at least five courses (twenty units) coming from upper-division coursework:

  • Physics 2C-2D or Physics 4D-4E
  • Physics 100–178

Lower-division courses (including transfer coursework) can overlap between a major and minor without restriction; however, no more than two upper-division courses (a maximum of eight units) may overlap between a major and a minor. Upper-division courses being applied to the minor must be taken at UC San Diego in the Department of Physics. Students must earn a grade of C– or above in all courses applied to the minor, including transfer coursework. The minimum overall GPA requirement for the minor is a 2.0. A petition is required for any waivers/substitutions to the minor requirements (e.g., applying a non–UC San Diego upper-division physics course).

Within the parameters outlined above, students will select the specific courses that will be applied to the minor. Students can declare the physics minor at any point prior to their graduating quarter. Minor proposals with minor course lists must be submitted via the major/minor tool on TritonLink (requests are typically processed within 7-10 business days).

Keep the following in mind:

  1. Your minor course list should include the 7 classes for the physics minor, excluding prerequisites like PHYS 2A, 2B, 4A, 4B, 4C, MATH 18, 20A-B-C-D-E.
  2. If the major/minor tool requires a quarter-by-quarter plan, include all current and future enrollments, not just the 7 classes for the physics minor.
  3. A maximum of 8.0 upper division units (i.e. two 4-unit physics courses) can be shared between major and minor.
  4. Specify upper-division courses on your minor proposal; eligible ones will be automatically included in the degree audit.
  5. Prerequisites for department courses are strictly enforced; check our Enrollment Policies webpage for details and updates since prereqs can change from year-to-year.
  6. Rarely, substitute prerequisites with grades of B+ or higher may be accepted: ECE 107 for PHYS 100A/B; Combo of ECE 35, 45, 65 for PHYS 120; Combo of MAE 105, 107 for PHYS 105A/B.
  7. Core upper-division physics courses are reserved for physics majors via WebReg; others must meet prerequisites and submit preauthorization requests through EASy.
  8. Physics minors have no priority in enrolling in physics courses.


No, but you can select one/more courses from a subfield as part of your minor and apply those to your physics minor.

No, this option is not available. If using two lower-division physics courses toward the physics minor you must choose one of the following options:

  1. PHYS 2C and PHYS 2D
  2. PHYS 4D and 4E

If you've taken the PHYS 2 series, you can use PHYS 2C, PHYS 2D and then choose any five courses from below (the areas are listed just to give you a frame of reference, course descriptions can be found here):

  • Astrophysics - PHYS 160, 161, 162
  • Biophysics - PHYS 177, 178 
  • Computational Physics - PHYS 141, 142
  • Earth Sciences - PHYS 111
  • Materials - PHYS 133
  • Other - PHYS 139 (topics vary and multiple 139s can apply as long as they're not the same topic), 151

To be eligible to apply to take core upper division physics courses, you must complete the PHYS 4 series prereqs (PHYS 2 series courses are not accepted).


There are two pathways through Physics 4:

The standard PHYS 4 pathway is designed for freshman admits:

Fall Winter Spring
Fall Winter Spring

*MATH 18 may be moved but must be taken no later than Summer Session 2 (it is a prereq for PHYS 4C).

The accelerated PHYS 4 pathway is designed for anyone transferring from outside of UCSD (i.e. transfer admits) and those interested in core physics topics who have completed most of the PHYS 2 series:

NOTE: Prior completion of "Transfer Major Prep" requirements MATH 18 + 20A-B-C + PHYS 2A-B-C is required to be eligible to follow the accelerated PHYS 4 pathway.

Fall Winter Spring
  MATH 20D  

Enrollment in proposed minor courses is not guaranteed. If you are unable to enroll in a proposed minor course you will need to enroll in some other course. Any/all eligible courses will automatically apply in the degree audit. For example, if you hoped to take PHYS 133 for your minor but could not enroll in that course and, instead, you took PHYS 141, PHYS 141 would automatically apply to the physics minor in your degree audit.

This is up to your college and not the Physics Department. Keep in mind that minors are not required to earn a degree at UCSD and so the campus may not approve a request to enroll beyond normative time in order to complete a minor.

Generally speaking, no. However, students who declared the physics minor before SP24 who included PHYS 163 and/or 164 in their minor proposal will be permitted to use ASTR 123 and/or 150, respectively, toward their physics minor. By May 2024, this population of students will have their degree audits updated to include the new course numbers. All others will need to take courses with the PHYS subject code for the minor requirements.

Please see the Physics Courses section of the UCSD General Catalog.

PHYS 100-178 means physics courses found in the General Catalog from within PHYS 100 through 178. Note: PHYS 111 is crosslisted as SIO 111 and, depending on seating availability, PHYS minors may need to enroll on the SIO side of the class. If enrolled under the SIO side of the class, contact PHYSICS through VAC and we will manually update the degree audit to apply the course to your PHYS minor.

No, they cannot.

No, the degree audit is not the authority on your degree requirements and/or progress. Per the posted campus information about the Degree Audit, "The General Catalogue is the official repository of the curricular requirements for degree audits. If there are inconsistencies between the General Catalogue and the Degree Audit, the General Catalogue shall be deemed correct. Any errors on the Degree Audit do not automatically grant students an exception to their degree requirements. If you discover an inconsistency, report it to Advising Staff."

Students are responsible for contacting PHYSICS through VAC to report any suspected errors in the PHYS MINOR section on the Degree audit. Contact PHYSICS through VAC if you would like the Department to review the PHYS MINOR section of your degree audit. 


Have a minor requirements question not addressed in the information above?

Contact us through VAC to let us know!