The CCS Physics Major helps self-motivated students develop a wide and deep understanding of physics, preparing them for academic or professional careers in their area of interest or related fields. Small class sizes and close student-faculty interaction create an intimate environment where students can think deeply and critically about physics. Students are encouraged to take advantage of UCSB’s many research opportunities, often making significant contributions during their undergraduate careers. Students enjoy academic freedom and work with faculty advisors to develop their course of study.

Some students receive funding from CCS to support their research or creative activities through the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship and/or the Traveling Undergraduate Research Fund.


Students take their core first- and second-year courses in CCS, and then complete most upper-division courses within the College of Letters and Science Physics Department. The two-year CCS sequence gives students a thorough introduction to basic physics with an emphasis on problem solving, communication, and collaboration.

Second year students take three sequential laboratory courses designed to prepare them for participation in modern research laboratories. In these courses, students devise their own experiments to investigate several physical systems, use a graphical programming language to tackle computer interfacing, and design and build a new piece of scientific apparatus for a campus research group. Often CCS physics students prepare an honors thesis based on the research in which they've been involved.

In consultation with their faculty advisor, students may have the opportunity to take graduate-level courses as early as appropriate.   

For a full list of requirements, please download the major sheet on the right of the page.