Skip Ribbon Commands Skip to main content
Comprehensive Track

The Comprehensive Track is aimed at those wishing a thorough grounding in physics.  If you are heading for graduate school in physics, astronomy, or a related field, this is the track for you.  You will need to take more than the minimum requirements and do well in your classes to be accepted at a top physics graduate school.
Below are several potential paths to a degree, depending on the quarter you start Physics 121, whether or not you are headed for grad school, whether or not you are able to use the summer quarter, and how many years you wish to spend at UW after taking Phys 123.

Comprehensive Option Requirements

In addition to the common core (see Major Requirements), the Comprehensive Option requires the following:

  1. 20 credits from: PHYS 226; PHYS 228; PHYS 324; minimum of three courses from PHYS 323, PHYS 325, PHYS 328, PHYS 329, ASTR 321, OR ASTR 322.
  2. One additional math course from the core list (3-4 credits)
    MATH 307/AMATH 351,
    MATH 308/AMATH 352,
    MATH 309/AMATH 353,
    MATH 324, MATH 326, or AMATH 401.
  3. Advanced Laboratory (6-8 credits): Two courses from PHYS 331, PHYS 335, PHYS 431, PHYS 432, PHYS 433, PHYS 434, and either ASTR 480 or ASTR 481.
  4. Upper Division Lecture electives (6 credits): See advisor for approved list of electives.
  5. Undergraduate Research:  3 credits from any combination of PHYS 485, PHYS 486, PHYS 487, PHYS 494, PHYS 495, PHYS 496, PHYS 499, ASTR 481 or ASTR 499. (ASTR 481 may count as lab or research).

Standard Paths to a Comprehensive Option in Physics

Legend:  BOLD= required; red = lab; green = specific electives, italics = choose one or more

 

Standard 4 Yr Path – Comprehensive, headed for Physics Grad School

NB:  The official physics degree requirements are done at end of Junior year. The fourth year should be spent taking more advanced courses to prepare for graduate school or other career goals.

The Sophomore/Junior years allows a degree in 2 yrs after completing 121-2-3 and most distribution requirements at community college.  The extra year should be included if you are headed for graduate school.

Some classes on this chart are optional (in plain black type), but are recommended for grad school.

Year

 

Autumn

Winter

Spring

Freshman

 

121 or 121H

Math 124/134

122 or 122H

Math 125/135

123 or 123H

Math 126/136

Sophomore

 

224

227

231 (lab)

217

Math 307 a/o 308

225

228

294

334 (lab)

Math 324

226

335 (lab)

another math (opt)

Junior

 

321

324

331 or 434

cognate subj

322

325

research

cognate subj

323

329

research

Senior

REU

328

422

433

485/494

special topics

research

 

423

431

429

486/495

special topics

research

421

432

487/496

special topics

research

 

Modifications if start Phys 121 in Winter or Spring:

If start Phys 121 in Winter, can take 123 over the summer, and then continue from Sophomore year above.  If start 121 in spring, take 122 over the summer, and then follow  the "start 123 in autumn" path below.

Arrive from CC needing 123 in Autumn; Heading to Grad School in 3 years

  • Option 1:  No Summers

Year

Summer

Autumn

Winter

Spring

Sophomore

 

123

224

Math 126

294

334

Math 307 or 308

227

335

Math 324

Junior

 

321

331 or 434

cognate sci

225

228

322

research

226

323

329

research

Senior

REU

324

328

433

cognate sci

485/494

special topics

research

 

325

423

431

486/495

special topics

research

421

432

487/496

special topics

research


  • Option 2:  225/228 in Summer (allows more advanced classes)

Year

Summer

Autumn

Winter

Spring

Sophomore

 

123

224

Math 126

294

334

Math 307 or 308

227

335

Math 324

Junior

225

228

321

324

cognate subj

322

325

research

cognate subj

226

323 a/o 329

research

Senior

REU

328

422

433

485/494

special topics

research

 

423

431

429

486/495

special topics

research

421

432

487/496

special topics

research

 

3 Year Path, Comprehensive. Not heading for grad school

Minimal Major; No Summers

Year

 

Autumn

Winter

Spring

1

 

121 or 121H

Math 124

122 or 122H

Math 125

123 or 123H

Math 126

2

 

224

227

Math from menu

225

228

294

334 (lab)

Math from menu

226

335 (lab)

329

3

321

324

328

331 or 434

 

322

325

cognate subj.

research/486

323

cognate subj

research/487

3 Year Path, Not heading for grad school

Minimal Major; Including Summers to spread things out

Year

 

Autumn

Winter

Spring

1

 

121

Math 124

122

Math 125

123

Math 126

2

334 

224

227

Math from menu

225

228

294

Math from menu

321

335 (lab)

3

322

324

328

226

331 or 434

 

325

431

research/486

323 or 329

cognate subj

research/487

Arrive from Community College needing 122 or 123, Graduate in 2 years

Not recommended if heading for graduate school in physics. Not recommended if still need multiple distribution requirements.
  • Arrive in autumn, needing Phys 123

Year

Summer

Autumn

Winter

Spring

Junior

 

123

224

Math 126

294

334

Math 307/8

 

227

335

Math 324

cognate sci

Senior

225

228

321

324

331 or 434

cognate sci

322

325 a/o 423

431

research

226

323

329

research

  • Arrive in Autumn, Needing Physics 122

Year

Summer

Autumn

Winter

Spring

Junior

 

122

217

Math 126

123

294

Math 307/8

 

224

227

Math 324

Senior

225

228

431

321

324

331 a/o 328

cognate sci

322

325 a/o 423

334

cognate sci

research/486

226

323 a/o 329

432 or 335

research/487


Useful Downloads

Cognate Subjects List