Declaring a Major in Physics

Physics at UW Seattle is a "minimum requirement" major.  There are no caps on the number of majors, nor is admission competitive.  The rationale behind the minimum requirements may be found via the link at the left.  

Students may be admitted to the physics major at the University of Washington, Seattle, either (1) through transcript-based admission or  (2) through petition.  Students who meet the requirements for transcript-based admission (details below) may be admitted to the physics major upon request to the undergraduate advisor, Margot Nims. In brief, transcript-based admission requires students to be enrolled in a UW-Seattle core physics class (or have just completed one) and to have completed at least one core physics class and one additional core physics or math class with a grade of 2.6 or higher during the previous two quarters (three, if you took a quarter off).  Students must also complete a graduation plan and discuss it with the advisor and fill out the catalyst form linked below.  Students may not declare a major within the first two weeks of any quarter unless they have a hold on their registration for that quarter due to the lack of a major.

Students wishing to major in physics who do not meet the minimum criteria, but who believe they can successfully complete a physics degree, are encouraged to use the petition process for admission (see link at left). To be guaranteed an admission decision before the end of a given quarter, students must begin the petition process by the end of the fifth week of that quarter.

The requirements for a Physics B.S. may be found in the general catalog.  A chart summarizing these requirements for the different degree options is linked at the bottom of this page.  More detailed information about the different degree options and how to choose among them is available here.

Transcript-Based Admission

  1. Admission Criteria:  During the qualifying quarters (as defined below), a student must have received a grade of at least 2.6 in both one qualifying course from List 1 (as defined below) and at least one additional qualifying course from either List 1 or List 2 (as defined below).  A student must also either be enrolled in a List 1 course at UW Seattle during the quarter in which the application is submitted, or have completed a List 1 class at UW Seattle during the previous quarter.
  2. Qualifying courses:  Admission will be based on performance in core lecture courses required for one or more physics degree options.  These classes must be taken during a qualifying quarter (defined below).  Qualifying courses are separated into two categories:  Physics/Astronomy (List 1) and Math/Applied Math (List 2): 
    1. List 1:
      Physics 121, 122, 123
      Physics 224, 225, 226, 227, 228
      Physics 321, 322, 323, 324, 325, 328, 329
      Astronomy 321, 322, 323
    2. List 2:
      Math 124, 125, 126, 134, 135, 136
      Math 307, 308, 309, 324
      Applied Math 301, 351, 352, 353, 401
  3. Qualifying quarters:  Admission will be based on the two quarters immediately preceding the student’s application to the major. If a student was not enrolled during one of those two quarters (e.g., summer, internship or study abroad), then it will be based on the three immediately preceding quarters.
  4. Graduation Plan.  Students must prepare a quarter-by-quarter, realistic course schedule that will result in a physics degree in their chosen degree option (Applied, Comprehensive, Biological or Teaching) in a reasonable period of time.  Students will discuss they graduation plan with the Undergraduate Advisor when declaring a physics major.  Students should enter their plan into MyPlan.  A planning worksheet is linked below.


Graduation Plan and Checklist

Please enter your graduation plan into MyPlan. You may also print and fill out this form and bring it to Physics Student Services in PAT C139.
Adobe Acrobat file icon Physics Major Planning Form.pdf116K Download View

Overview Chart of Degree Requirements

For students declaring a major Spring 2015 or later.
Adobe Acrobat file icon 2016 MajorRequirements.pdf126K Download View


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