Physics and Astronomy

  • physics and Astronomy

Undergraduate Program

Getting Started

The Department of Physics & Astronomy offers an undergraduate major in physics. The major in physics includes a strong emphasis on experiment and covers the broad fundamentals necessary for graduate study in physics and related fields. To learn more about pursuing physics please browse through the American Physical Society website on students and  education.

If you are interested  in pursuing a physics & astronomy major please contact our Undergraduate Advisor as early as possible.  The contact information is: 

Dr. Li Gao
Phone: (818) 677-4365
Office: EH 2114

Dr. Gao will describe the options in our program and guide you through the necessary steps in becoming a major.  

Degree Requirements

All entering freshmen must pass the Entry Level Math (ELM) exam and the English Placement Test (EPT), or be exempt, before they can proceed with most university courses. All non-exempt first time freshmen must take these exams prior to enrollment. These exams may be taken at other CSU campuses. For more information about these exams, please call 818-677-2369 or better yet, visit where the complete description of the tests is given. These exams are given several times a year and the registration deadlines and dates of exams can be found at Students who do not pass these exams have one year to complete the remediation program or they will be forced to withdraw from the university (Executive Order 665 from the Chancellor's office).  

In addition, there are two writing proficiency exams that must be completed by all undergraduates before a degree is granted. The lower division writing requirement is met either by completing the Freshmen Composition course or by receiving a satisfactory score on the English Equivalency Examination or the Advanced Placement Test. This should be completed no later than the semester in which 45 units are completed. The upper division writing requirement is met by taking an essay examination. This should be taken as soon as possible after the students have completed 56 units and have met the lower division writing requirement; and no later than the semester in which 90 units are completed. 

For Physics majors, both the B.S. and B.A. degrees require a total of 120 units. However students who come in with less than ideal preparation, or who change major, may have to take more than this minimum. These units consist of required courses for the degree programs, and general education (GE) requirements of the university. In addition, Physics majors (as well as other science and engineering majors) are also required to take the Chemistry Placement Test (CPT) and the Math Placement Test (MPT) if they pass the ELM or are ELM exempt. These tests will place you into the proper Math and Chemistry classes that are required of the major. The dates for these exams can be found at or by calling the CSUN testing center at 818-677-2369. 

Also, the Physics majors have to take two assessment tests. All students who have completed the introductory Physics sequence (PHYS 225, 226 and 227 or their equivalent) will have to take the Junior Assessment Test. All students who are planning to graduate in the Spring, Summer or Fall semester will have to take the Senior Assessment Test (the Physics Field Test administered by ETS).

The many prerequisites and sequencing of courses mean that you have to plan your program of study carefully. The recommended sequences of courses that will allow the student to complete the degree in four years are given in the links below. You need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the files below.


Application Procedure

For first time freshmen or transfer student admissions requirements, please visit and click under the appropriate category. The application deadlines can also be found on this site. Application material, and requirements may also be obtained by calling the Student Outreach & Recruitment Office at 818-677-2967 or you can apply online at