Completing the Major

Now that you are declared a Physics major, you need to satisfy these additional requirements prior to graduating:  

Programming Requirement

Students must satisfy a programming requirement, or have this requirement waived with a demonstration of skill. Students with a background in programming may demonstrate their knowledge of programming to be reviewed by a faculty member designated by the Physics Department.  If a student's programming abilities are deemed satisfactory, the programming requirement will be waived.  

To have the programming requirement waived students MUST submit a portfolio of code and include the following information with their submission:

- For what purpose was the code written? 
- Was the code your original and independent work? a modification of existing code? or developed with the help of another person?

Email both the portfolio and your responses to the above to: 

Review of programming portoflios can take up to two weeks.  Students will be notified of all outcomes.  A programming waiver does not translate into course credit and cannot be used to satisfy prerequisites for courses.

Disciplinary Communication

Students of every major must satisfy the upper-division Disciplinary Communication (DC) requirement.  Students in Physics, Applied Physics, Astrophysics satisfy the DC requirement by completing either the advanced laboratories and PHYS 182 or a senior thesis through PHYS 195A and PHYS 195B.

Senior Exit

The comprehensive exit requirement is potentially satisfied by the submission and approval of a thesis. To satisfy the comprehensive requirement via a thesis, PHYS 195A+B is required. Note that successful completion of PHYS 195A and PHYS 195B and the senior thesis satisfies the Disciplinary Communication requirement. Alternatively, completion of the advanced laboratories and PHYS 182 would satisfy the Disciplinary Communication requirement without the need for a senior thesis. 

In special cases, minor modifications of these requirements may be granted to suit the specific program of a particular student.  Before embarking on a program needing such waivers, students should discuss their plans with a physics advisor and seek approval by petition from the Physics Department office.

Transferring Credit

Students may satisfy a major requirement with a course taken at another institution.  Prior to enrolling in an outside course, make sure the course you plan to take articulates (ie, is equivalent to a course at UCSC or is an approved elective for your major).

NOTE: To transfer any credit, a course MUST be completed with a grade of C or better.

Taking Summer Courses?
If you are taking courses at another institution over the summer that is a prerequisite for a course you plan to take in fall, you will not be able to enroll until you have submitted your transcript to  

Course Substitution & Transfer Credit Policy
At least half of the upper-division courses (numbered 100–190) required for each major must be taken through the biological sciences at UCSC, not as transfer credits from another department or institution. Students are advised to contact their major advisor before enrolling in numerous upper-division courses at other institutions. 

A maximum of one upper-division course requirement may be met with a research-based independent study or graduate-level UCSC biology course or a course offered by another UCSC department.

University Extension Open Campus
Students who have only 5-units or less remaining to graduate, may enroll in their last course at a reduced tuition rate through University Extension's Open Campus.

Honors in the Major

The department awards honors (3.5 GPA or better) and highest honors (3.8 GPA or better) to top graduating students each year.  Recommendations for these awards are made by the department chair and are based upon excellence of academic performance, particularly in upper-division physics courses, as reflected in grades and the narrative evaluations.  The department also awards honors for outstanding work on the senior thesis, made upon the recommendation of the senior supervisor and the thesis technical advisor.


Have you completed all the requirements for your major?
Students are encouraged to review their academic record and use the major checklist to verify they have satisfied their major requirements prior to applying to graduate.

Applying to Graduate
Students must apply to graduate online through their MyUCSC portal.  For instructions, see the Registrar's Apply to Graduate.

NOTE: Be sure to apply for graduation for the quarter in which you will actually be finishing all your degree requirements.

Official Graduation vs Ceremonial Graduation
You have not officially graduated until you have successfully completed all the requirements necessary to have your degree conferred. [Your MyUCSC portal will indicate your degree status and instructions to verify your degree has been conferred]  Students are allowed "to walk" in the graduation ceremony prior to having graduated.  For information about your graduation ceremony, talk to your college. 

Students are issued a diploma after their degree has been awarded. Diplomas are available two to three months after the end of the term in which the degree was awarded. Diplomas are automatically mailed to the permanent address listed on MyUCSC. Permanent address may be updated on MyUCSC.

If you would like your diploma sent to the Office of the Registrar for pick up, please contact us for arrangements.

The name on your diploma will appear exactly as it does on university records. Currently enrolled students, who have had a legal name change, may change their name through the Office of the Registrar.


Replacement of a Diploma

There is only one original diploma. To request a replacement diploma, complete a Diploma Re-Order Request Form and attach a $75 check made payable to “UC Regents,” and send to the Office of the Registrar (see address below.)  All diploma reorders will have a small notation indicating the replacement.

Replacement diplomas can take anywhere from four to six weeks weeks.

Correct the Name on a Diploma

If you have graduated and have had a legal change of name you may request a replacement diploma with the new legal name. Complete a Diploma Re-Order Request Form, attach legal documentation noting the change of name and a $75 check made payable to “UC Regents,” and send to the Office of the Registrar via mail or in person. This diploma will also have a notation indicating the replacement.

You can view more information about diplomas here.

Mailing Address

Office of the Registrar
190 Hahn Student Services
1156 High Street
University of California, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA 95064-1077