A branch of the physical sciences, physics is the study of energy, space, matter, the interactions between matter and the laws which govern these interactions. Physicists consider themselves the most fundamental of scientists, for they are the ones who examine the basic laws of nature. They seek to study and understand what happens when atoms and subatomic particles break down and assemble, how they react to collisions with each other and to electro-magnetic radiation. Physicists use mathematics to understand, explain and predict their theories and equations. They often apply their predictions and theories to other fields – chemistry, biology, geophysics, engineering, communication, transportation, electronics and health. This curriculum may also academically prepare the student to transfer to a four-year university to complete a Baccalaureate degree program. Please check with a counselor for specific transfer requirements.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this program, the student should be able to:

  • Graduates will demonstrate an ability to apply to the real world the principles of physics.
  • Graduates will demonstrate an understanding of the various components underlying good scientific research including an ability to design and construct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data.
  • Graduates will demonstrate an ability to effectively communicate scientific knowledge, experimental results and analyses.
  • Graduates will demonstrate that they possess the skills, techniques, attitudes, values and knowledge to succeed in the upper division level science courses having physics as a prerequisite.

Career Options

The following list is a sample of the many career options available to the physics major. A few of these require an associate degree, some require a bachelor's degree, and most require a graduate-level degree: research assistant, laboratory technician, high school or college instructor, technical writer and research; or applied physicist in acoustics, atmospheric physics, astrophysics, astronomy, atomic and molecular physics, electricity and magnetism, electronic instrumentation, energy conservation, geophysics, health physics, mechanics, heat or light physics, medical imaging, nuclear health physics, mechanics, nuclear medicine, solar energy, nuclear physics, engineering, and scientific computing.


Michael Read

Phone: (530) 938-5224

Michael Read


Email: Office of Instruction
Phone: (530) 938-5201