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Department of Physics

Departmental Honors

Students on Summer 2018, Fall 2018, or Spring 2019 requirements PHYS-HON

The honors program provides well-qualified students with an exceptionally strong foundation in physics, both by encouraging excellence in coursework and recognizing the importance of early participation in research. It is strongly recommended that students intending to enroll in graduate school pursue this option. Graduation with honors is only available to students pursuing a B.S. degree in Physics.


The key component of the honors program is involvement of the student in an independent research project, typically carried out under the supervision of a faculty member. This work must culminate in the writing of an honors thesis before the end of the senior year. An oral presentation describing the work would also be expected. For more detailed guidelines, see the "Honors" section of the departmental Web pages.

In addition to fulfilling the requirements associated with the B.S. degree, students in the honors program would also be expected to complete most of the coursework listed under "Recommendations" for this degree; in particular, at least two of the three courses PHYS-P 332, PHYS-P 442, and PHYS-P 454 must be completed. To graduate with honors, students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.500 in all physics coursework.

College of Arts and Sciences Requirements

  • Students must have a College GPA of 3.300 or higher to qualify for admission to a Departmental Honors program and to receive Departmental Honors. Units may set a higher College GPA.
  • Units establish additional criteria, including admissions procedures, academic performance standards, and whether there are required courses, papers, or projects.
  • Students who wish to earn honors in two different units must complete a distinct body of work for each honors notation.