Physics in CCS

Overview of CCS Physics

The physics program in the College of Creative Studies provides a rigorous physics education at one of the premiere research universities in the country. Our small class sizes and close student-faculty interaction create an intimate environment where students can think deeply and critically about physics. At the same time, students are encouraged to take advantage of the many research opportunities that are available at UCSB. Students develop a wide and deep understanding of physics and are well-prepared for graduate work in physics or related fields. As in other fields of study in CCS, students enjoy unparalled academic freedom in working with faculty advisors to design their course of study.

CCS Physics is a joint program between the College of Creative Studies and the UCSB Physics Department. Students take their core first- and second-year courses in CCS, and then complete all upper-division courses within the Physics Department. The two-year CCS sequence gives students a thorough introduction to basic physics with an emphasis on problem solving, communication, and collaboration. As part of the course, students attend problem sessions in which they present their work to each other. In addition, special topics physics courses are offered each year through CCS to explore topics usually not covered in the undergraduate physics curriculum.

Second-year students also take a three-quarter laboratory course designed to prepare them for participation in modern research laboratories. Here students develop the mindset and many of the skills required of an experimentalist. Students spend the first quarter investigating several “simple” physical systems, devising their own experiments, collecting and analyzing data, and writing short scientific articles about their results. They tackle computer interfacing during the second quarter, using LabView, a graphical programing language in common usage. The third quarter focuses on mechanical design, and includes a machine shop course. During this quarter students work as a group to design and build a new piece of scientific apparatus for a campus research group. The skills learned in this course allow students who choose to do so to join research groups in physics and related fields and make significant contributions during their undergraduate careers. Summer research fellowships are available to help make this possible. Often CCS physics students prepare an honors thesis based on the research in which they've been involved.

Many CCS students begin taking upper-division physics courses through the Physics Department in their sophomore year, and continue during their third and fourth years. CCS students tend to excel at these upper division courses, and often take advanced courses of study--including graduate-level classes--in physics and related departments.

To find out more about the CCS Physics program, please contact us to arrange a visit.