May 24, 2024  
2023-2024 Scripps Catalog 
2023-2024 Scripps Catalog

Physics Major

Please refer to the Science  section of this catalog for more information.

Requirements for the Major

A major in Physics requires a minimum of 13 courses plus a senior thesis.

RECOMMENDED: Although students need only take Differential Equations or Linear Algebra for the major, taking both courses is useful.

NOTE:  Physics majors normally complete Physics 033L, 034L in their first year and Physics 035 in fall of sophomore year. The calculus sequence (through Math 032) is normally completed in fall of sophomore year or earlier. Students can then take (in any order) Physics 100, 102, 115, 108 or equivalent, differential equations and/or linear algebra. Physics 101 and Physics 114 should only be taken after completing differential equations or linear algebra. Majors interested in potentially pursuing experimental work are encouraged to take an additional advanced physics laboratory course. 

Dual Major in Physics

Dual majors in physics are required to complete all the requirements for a minor in Physics , plus a senior thesis in physics (which may be on an interdisciplinary topic if approved by a physics faculty adviser).

Honors Requirements (All Tracks)

To be considered for departmental honors in one of the science majors, a student must:

  • Achieve a minimum grade point average of 3.67 in courses in the major.  
  • Achieve a minimum grade of A- on the thesis.
  • Complete a one- or two-semester thesis project in which the student has demonstrated excellence by making a significant contribution to the progress of the research and by producing a thesis document judged to be of honors quality by the department.
  • Present an oral progress report at the end of the first semester of a two-semester thesis and a poster at the conclusion of either a one- or two-semester thesis in which the student clearly explains the rationale for the project and the conclusions drawn, engages the listener, and knowledgeably answers questions.
  • Attend at least six scientific seminars during the semester (each semester for a two-semester thesis) and submit a brief and clear summary of each.