General Description of Physics

Physics is a basic science, which, like biology and chemistry, has contributed greatly to our ability to understand the universe, and to help us to see how to develop new technologies and new ways of thinking.

Physics is:

  • a physical science that explores the most fundamental aspects of the universe we live in. Topics include mechanics, heat, light, electric and magnetic fields, gravitation, relativity, quantum mechanics, atomic and nuclear physics, and condensed-matter physics;
  • the foundation of other natural sciences such as biology, chemistry and astronomy, and plays a central role in engineering. Much of our modern life, such as electricity, computers, televisions came from the study of physics;
  • the study of energy, space, matter, the interactions between matter, and the laws which govern these interactions.

Our Physics Program Is Designed to:

  • prepare students who plan to transfer and major in physics, astronomy, biology, chemistry, or engineering, with the lower division coursework required by most colleges and universities;
  • offer transferable general education courses in physics for students with majors in areas other than science who are pursuing an associate degree or transfer to a college or university. 

Career Options in Physics

A very few careers require an associate or bachelor’s degree. Most careers in physics require graduate level degrees.

A Physicist:

  • applies the fundamental principles of science to problems ranging from understanding life processes to exploring the universe;
  •  may specialize in mechanics, heat, optics, acoustics, electrodynamics, astrophysics, atomic physics, biophysics, geophysics, etc.

Career Options in Physics:

  • High School or College Instructor 
  • Research Assistant 
  • Laboratory Technician 
  • Technical Writer 
  • Researcher 
  • Applied Physicist in:
- Acoustics - Geophysics
- Atmospheric Physics - Health Physics  
- Astrophysics   - Heat or Light Physics  
- Astronomy - Mechanics  
- Atomic and Molecular Physics   - Medical Imaging  
- Electricity and Magnetism   - Nuclear Medicine 
- Engineering   - Nuclear Physics 
- Electronic Instrumentation   - Scientific Computing  
- Energy Conservation    - Solar Energy  

Physics Faculty

Physics Courses

  • PHYS 170 College Physics I
  • PHYS 171 College Physics Laboratory I
  • PHYS 172 College Physics II
  • PHYS 173 College Physics Laboratory II
  • PHYS 174 College Physics III
  • PHYS 175 College Physics Laboratory III
  • PHYS 270 Principles of Physics I
  • PHYS 271 Principles of Physics Laboratory I
  • PHYS 272 Principles of Physics II
  • PHYS 273 Principles of Physics Laboratory II 
  • PHYS 274 Principles of Physics III
  • PHYS 275 Principles of Physics Laboratory III 
  • PHYS 295 Selected Topics in Physics
  • PHYS 299 Independent Study

Physics Degree Programs

Associate in Science degree (Major Code: 01680)

First Semester

Chem 200 General Chemistry I   5
Math 250 Analytic Geometry and Calculus I   5

Second Semester

Math 251 Analytic Geometry and Calculus II     4
Phys 270 Principles of Physics I   3
Phys 271 Principles of Physics I Laboratory   1

Third Semester

Math 252 Analytic Geometry and Calculus III     4
Phys 272 Principles of Physics II   3
Phys 273 Principles of Physics II Laboratory    1

Fourth Semester

Phys 274 Principles of Physics III    3
Phys 275 Principles of Physics III Laboratory   1

 Total Units 30

Transfer Preparation

Associate Degree for Transfer (Major Code: 01685)
Phys 270 Principles of Physics I     3
Phys 271 Principles of Physics I Laboratory     1
Phys 272 Principles of Physics II     3
Phys 273 Principles of Physics II Laboratory      1
Phys 274 Principles of Physics III      3
Phys 275 Principles of Physics III Laboratory      1
Math 250 Analytic Geometry and Calculus I      5
Math 251 Analytic Geometry and Calculus II      4
Math 252 Analytic Geometry and Calculus III      4

 Total Units 25


To earn an associate degree, additional General Education and Graduation Requirements must be completed. See the SWC Catalog.

Students planning to transfer to a four-year college or university should complete courses specific to the transfer institution of choice. Requirements vary from institution to institution and are subject to change. Contact your transfer institution for verification of requirements. 

Instructional Laboratory Technician

Last updated: 8/30/2016 9:27:02 AM