Academic Catalogs

Physics, Associate in Arts Degree

Banner code: 2_AA_PHYS
Control number: 18358
Financial aid: Eligible 

The Associate in Arts Degree in Physics prepares students for further study in physics or related physical science disciplines.  It also provides a background in physics that includes skills appropriate for entry-level employment in science-related industries or laboratories.  Coursework includes instruction in all of the main areas of classical physics (mechanics, waves, sound, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, and optics), exposure to some of the more modern concepts of physics (including special relativity, atomic and nuclear physics), and prepares students to think critically and apply reasoning skills to analyze real world situations.

Program Level Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will be able to:

  1. Explain the basic principles and concepts of physics.
  2. Use these basic principles and concepts to solve problems in the various areas of physics.
  3. Explain the importance of physics both historically and as an active, unfinished area of work in which many people today are actively engaged. 
  4. Describe the methods of physicists.

Associate Degree Graduation Requirements

(See GWC website for the most up-to-date information on Associate Degree Requirements.)

  1. Completion of General Education Requirements by one of the following methods:
    1. Completion of a minimum of 18 units as listed under Areas A through E, including the Cultural Diversity Requirement.
    2. Completion of a minimum of 39 units of CSU General Education requirements. Students who complete this pattern are also eligible to receive the Certificate of Achievement in CSU General Education Breadth.
    3. Completion of a minimum of 34 (UC) or 37 (CSU) units of Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum (IGETC) requirements. Students who complete this pattern are also eligible to receive the Certificate of Achievement in IGETC.
  2. Completion of a Major or Area of Emphasis—a minimum of 18 units.
  3. Completion of additional elective units to a total of 60 units.
  4. 2.0 overall Grade Point Average at GWC and 2.0 overall Grade Point Average for all colleges attended.
  5. At least 12 units completed at GWC.

Students should consult a GWC counselor in order to select the best pathway to meet their educational goals. For students who intend to transfer, the choice of general education will be specific to both their major and transfer institution.

Course Title Units
Required Courses
PHYS G185Calculus Based Physics: Mechanics4
PHYS G280Calculus Based Physics: Electricity/Magnetism4
PHYS G285Calculus Based Physics: Modern4
MATH G180Calculus 15
MATH G185Calculus 25
Major Total22
GE Pattern (Local, CSU GE-Breadth, or IGETC)18-39
Total Units60

Recommended Program Sequence

These sequences are general course maps for students to finish all major and general education requirements for two-year completion of degrees, completion of short-term certificates, and/or fulfillment of transfer requirements. However, this may not be an appropriate path for all students.  The two-year sequence is based on English and Math placement and meeting other course prerequisites. Students are advised to meet with a GWC Counselor to review course selections and sequences to ensure that completion of this program will meet a student's transfer and career goals.

Year 1: 

Course Title Units
Semester 1
MATH G180Calculus 15
ENGL G100Freshman Composition ^4
Area E: Lifelong Understanding and Self-Development or Area A: English Language, Area B: Natural Sciences, Area C: Arts & Humanities, Area D: Social & Behavioral Sciences3
Elective coursework for a total of 3 units3
Course Title Units
Semester 2
PHYS G185Calculus Based Physics: Mechanics4
MATH G185Calculus 25
Area C: Arts & Humanities course3
Elective coursework for a total of 3 units3

Year 2:

Course Title Units
Semester 3
PHYS G285Calculus Based Physics: Modern4
Area D: Social & Behavioral Sciences course3
Elective coursework for a total of 9 units9
Course Title Units
Semester 4
PHYS G280Calculus Based Physics: Electricity/Magnetism4
Elective coursework to reach a minimum of 60 units7
Cultural Diversity requirement #3
Total minimum units required60