Double Majors and Minors

(This section is mainly aimed at four-year students. The major planner for junior transfer students is quite full, and it is difficult to come up with additional majors/minors that can be completed in time.)

 If you have empty slots in your planner, you can try to move courses from later in the major planner, opening up time in your final year to complete a strong senior thesis or graduate early. Another option is to take extra courses. These can be in physics or another discipline, or an assortment of courses in different disciplines.

 If you wish to formalize extra coursework in a different discipline, you may consider declaring a minor or second major in that discipline. Generally, this is more difficult for transfer students than for four-year students. It will also require you to take all the required courses for the minor or second major instead of only selecting the courses you are really interested in, thus limiting your options.

 Minors and majors that a physics major can complete with a reasonable number of extra courses are listed below, approximately ordered according to the number of extra courses needed for a physics major. You should consult with the Physics undergraduate advisor and construct a course planner before trying to do a minor or additional major.[1]
            Minor in Applied Mathematics[2]
            Minor in Electrical Engineering[3]
            Minor in Earth and Planetary Sciences[4]
            Minor in Mathematics[5]
            Minor in STEM Education[6]
            Minor in Statistics
            Major in Computational Mathematics
The following majors/minors are difficult to complete without delaying graduation:

            Computer Engineering minor[7]
            Computer Science minor
            B.A. in pure mathematics
            B.A. in Computer Science     
            B.A. in Chemistry major

In some cases, you may be able to use a course to meet the requirements of your major and of your minor. For example, several Electrical Engineering courses are allowed electives for the Applied Physics major; Phys 115 and Astr 119 are allowed in the category “Introduction to Numerical Methods” for the Applied Mathematics Minor, etc. As per UCSC Academic Senate Regulation 10.4.7, using a single course to fulfill requirements for multiple majors and minors is permitted as long 40 upper division credits can be counted for each major without being counted for anything else, and 25 upper division credits can be counted for each minor without being counted for anything else. Since the physics majors all require much more than 40 upper division credits, if some courses satisfy requirements for a minor/major in another discipline, you can use them for the required 25/40-credits in that minor/major.

 4-year major planner for physics + computational math double major

(Transfer students should only try this path if they have completed the equivalent of Math 21 and Math 24 in community college, and should still expect to take 3 years to graduate.)

Four year students can do this path if they have completed Math 19A or the equivalent course in community college, or have Math AP credit. 











MATH 100

PHYS 102


MATH 148/L or145 or AM 114

PHYS 105

MATH 107

Programming course


PHYS 112

MATH 111A or MATH 117



MATH 103A or 105A

PHYS 133

MATH 110



PHYS 182

MATH 195 (Senior thesis)

PHYS 134

This planner assumes that 

  • the student places into MATH 19B in their first term
  • the two electives are chosen to satisfy the elective requirements of both majors, e.g. AM 107, PHYS 115 and PHYS 150. For students in the double major, EART 172 and ECE 130 also satisfy the elective requirement for both majors. 
  • The senior thesis is in mathematical physics, designed to satisfy the senior comprehensive requirement (along with the course MATH 195) for both programs. 

In addition to the courses shown in the planner, a student has to satisfy all other university and college requirements for graduation, including courses satisfying the CC, ER, IM, TA, PE, PR and C general education requirements. This may require taking some courses during the summer. 


This major planner assumes that

  • you have Physics 116A waived from the requirements for the physics degree by getting a B or better in Math 21 and a B or better in Math 24
  • you choose two elective courses that are on both the Physics and Computational Mathematics lists of electives. For students in this double major, EART 172 and EE 130 are considered to be in the Physics list.
  • you can take two GE courses in the summers or by overloading.
  • you take Math 107 in 2016-17 or later. Students who are doing a Physics Department and Math Department double major and take Math 107 in 2016-17 or later will have Physics 116C waived from the requirements for the physics degree.
  • you do a senior thesis in mathematical physics that satisfies the senior comprehensive requirements of both departments. You have to pass Math 195 to satisfy the requirement for the Math Department. The Physics Department does not have a senior thesis course, but your thesis has to be approved by the Phys 182 instructor and the department chair.

[1]    Some minors and majors that require Math 21 and/or Math 24 may be willing to accept Physics 116A instead, even if these are not so listed in the catalog. Contact their advising staff to find out. Conversely,  Physics 116A is waived by the Physics Department for any student who obtains a B or better in the equivalent of Math 21 and a B or better in the equivalent of Math 24.

[2]    Requires one course in probability theory, one in dynamical systems, and one in numerical methods. Students who take Phys 115 satisfy the last requirement; students who take AMS 131 satisfy the first.

[3]    Some of the required upper division courses count as Applied Physics electives.

[4]    Some of the required upper division courses count as Applied Physics electives. For students who have to satisfy UCSC general education requirements, Eart 110A satisfies the PE-E requirement.

[5]    Requires Math 21, Math 100, and four upper division courses. 

[6]    The required course on diversity and the two required electives can be chosen to cover the CC, ER and IM UCSC general education requirements.

[7]    Some required courses count as Applied Physics electives. PHYS 116C is waived for students who are pursuing a dual major in physics and mathematics and take MATH 107 in the year 2017 or later.