Alternatives

Timely graduation for 4-year students deviating from major planners

 This is general advice, and does not substitute for meeting with an advisor. You should not finalize a course plan without consulting the Physics undergraduate advisor.

 When students have to deviate from their major planner, it is useful to know the most efficient way to minimize the delay in graduation. Some common situations are considered below for the physics major (with brief remarks about the applied physics and astrophysics majors).

 The situations are grouped into broad categories. Because of the grouping, the time to graduate shown for each category below is an upper bound. In individual cases, it may be possible to do better, especially if you are prepared to take courses in the summer or take a greater than normal course load. There may also be cases which are not covered by the categories below.

 1. If you start the physics major late, as long as you complete Math 19AB in the first year and six of your non-physics General Education courses (GE's) in the first two years and summers, you can graduate in four years.

You take Math 23AB, Phys 116AB and the programming course (and Phys 5ABC) in the sophomore year, and then:

PHYS 116C

PHYS 5D

PHYS 105

PHYS 110A

PHYS 102

PHYS 133

PHYS 110B

PHYS 139A

PHYS 134

PHYS 182

Elective

PHYS 112

Senior thesis

 

Elective

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Note that, even though this planner assumes the worst case situation in which Phys 5ABC are completed a year late, there is also the possibility of taking Phys 5A in the winter and Phys 5C in the spring of the freshman year. It is best to complete Phys 5ABC as early as possible, because declaration of the physics majors is tied to these courses, and if one does not qualify for the majors, it is best to know as soon as possible.

 Modifying this planner for the applied physics and astrophysics majors is straightforward.

 2. If you defer all the first year physics and mathematics courses by a year, you can graduate in 4.33 years, as long as you finish your non-physics GE's in the first two years or summers.

Move to the 2.33 year transfer track after the end of your sophomore year.[1] This also applies if you fail any of your first year courses, and as a result are (temporarily) delayed by up to a year.

 3. If you fail any one of the courses in the second year, you can still graduate in 4 years, as long as you complete 5 of your non-physics GE's in the first two years and summers.

The greatest impact is when a student fails Math 23B or Phys 5D. In either case, there are then at least six empty slots for GE's in the first two years, so completing 5 GE's is not a problem.

First, if a student fails Math 23B or Phys 116A or Phys 116B, it is easy to move to the two-year transfer track in the junior year. Phys 102, 133, 134 and the programming course can be completed in the sophomore year, freeing up four slots in the two-year transfer planner for the GE's that remain after the sophomore year.

 Applied Physics majors can complete Phys 102, 133, 134, the programming course and Chem 1A/B in their sophomore year and then move to the two-year transfer track, using the empty slots for GE courses. Astrophysics majors can complete Phys 102, 133 and Astr 119 in the sophomore year and then move to the two-year transfer track.

 Second, if a student fails Phys 5D or Phys 102, it is still possible to move to a modified version of the two-year track, including Phys 5D but excluding Math 23B, Phys 116AB, and the programming course:

PHYS 5D

PHYS 116C

PHYS 105

PHYS 102

PHYS 133

PHYS 110A

PHYS 139A

PHYS 134

PHYS 110B

PHYS 182

Elective

 

PHYS 112

Senior thesis

 

Elective

-----------

 

 Applied Physics majors would – having completed Chem 1A/B in the sophomore year – replace Phys 139A with their third elective. Astrophysics majors would replace Phys 134 with Phys 136 and take their third elective in the penultimate term, or replace Physics 134 with an elective and add Phys 135 in the final year.

 4. If you fail any one of the courses in the third year, you can still graduate in 4 years, if you can fit in your remaining GE's in the empty slots or summers.

The planner below shows the last two years of a planner that allows a student to graduate in 4 years if they do not fail anything. The groups of courses that are linked by prerequisite dependencies are Phys 105; Phys 133 and 134; Phys 116C and 110AB and 112 and 139A. The courses in each group are independent of the courses in all other groups.

PHYS 116C

PHYS 105

PHYS 133

PHYS 134

PHYS 110A

PHYS 112

PHYS 110B

PHYS 139A

--------------

PHYS 182

Elective

 

Senior thesis

----------------

Elective

--------------

 

 It is immediately obvious that if you fail any course, you can move its entire group to the senior year. However, because Phys 133 and 134 can be hard to get into, if you fail either of these courses you should repeat it in the next term (displacing Phys 134 to the spring term if Phys 133 is repeated).

 It is easy to construct modified versions of this planner for the Applied Physics and Astrophysics majors.

 5. If you fail any one of the courses in the final year, you can generally graduate in 4 years.

This is obvious, unless you insist on doing a particular elective for which it will be necessary to wait one or two years, or you have unnecessarily delayed taking the last elective course until the final term:

PHYS 182

Elective

 

Elective

Senior thesis

  ------------

  ------------

 This applies to Applied Physics and Astrophysics majors as well, except if you fail Phys 135 and are unable to enroll in Phys 136 in the spring term.

 [1] If you can complete the equivalent of Physics 5D in community college in your second year, you can move to the 2-year transfer planner and graduate in 4 years.