The School of Physical Sciences Cohort Program, a new and exciting opportunity for students in Chemistry & Biochemistry, Mathematics, and Physics to work together as a community to build foundational knowledge and launch meaningful and significant careers in STEM.

Find the program flyer here

This program consists of the following major components:

  • Cohort Learning Environment: Beginning in the Fall of your freshman year, the cohort will take their Chemistry, Math, & Physics courses together. The cohort will continue taking courses together throughout their first two years at University—major dependent. Professors in each series will be from a pool of faculty members that teach from a ‘Growth Mindset’ and have agreed to coordinate their respective series. This includes a dedicated Math 20A course (first quarter calculus) that will be capped at 70 seats.
  • Continuous Mentorship: All students will receive mentorship from experienced students in similar majors during every year of study. Additionally, students will receive one-on-one professional guidance from faculty and industry professionals during critical times. Mentorship includes guidance during critical times such as application periods for internships, summer research programs, graduate schools. Upperclassmen in the program will have the opportunity to serve as mentors for subsequent cohorts. 
  • Research Experience: Our goal is to provide you with the best learning opportunities we have to offer. At UC San Diego this means research. Students in our program will have increased opportunities to apply for and receive the research experiences which are vital for impactful careers in STEM.

Chemistry 6A-C: General Chemistry 

Chemistry is the study of matter and energy, and their respective properties. In general, chemistry provides a lens to understanding the universe. The CHEM 6 series is intended for science and engineering majors.

  • CHEM 6A, the first quarter of the general chemistry sequence, introduces students to atomic theory, chemical foundation, bonding, molecular geometry, stoichiometry, reactions, & periodicity.
  • CHEM 6B, the second of the general chemistry sequence, introduces students to gases, liquids, solids, solutions, thermochemistry, thermodynamics, equilibrium, & solubility.
  • CHEM 6C, the third of the general chemistry sequence, introduces students to acids and bases, electrochemistry, kinetics, transition metals, coordination chemistry, & nuclear chemistry.

Math 20A-C: Calculus for Science and Engineering

  • MATH 20A, foundations of differential and integral calculus of one variable. Functions, graphs, continuity, limits, derivatives, tangent line. Applications with algebraic, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions. Introduction to the integral.
  • MATH 20B, integral calculus of one variable and its applications, with exponential, logarithmic, hyperbolic, and trigonometric functions. Methods of integration. Infinite series. Polar coordinates in the plane and complex exponentials. 
  • MATH 20C, vector geometry, vector functions, and their derivatives. Partial differentiation. Maxima and minima. Double integration.

Physics Seminar: Life, the Universe, and Everything - an invitation to Physics

Physics is crucial to understanding the world around us, the world inside us, and the world beyond us. It is the most basic and fundamental science. Physicists are problem solvers. In this course, you will learn how to use mathematics and physics to describe systems, build models of their behavior, and solve problems in a way that will help you succeed in courses in engineering, mathematics, physics, chemistry - especially in PHYS 2A and 4A.

Physics Series 1A-C, 2A-D & 4A-E

  • PHYS 1A (Mechanics): First quarter of a three-quarter introductory physics course, geared toward life-science majors. Equilibrium and motion of particles in one and two dimensions in the framework of Newtonian mechanics, force laws (including gravity), energy, momentum, rotational motion, conservation laws, and fluids.
  • PHYS 1AL (Mechanics Laboratory)
  • PHYS 1B (Electricity and Magnetism): Electric fields, magnetic fields, DC and AC circuitry
  • PHYS 1BL (Electricity and Magnetism Laboratory)
  • PHYS 1C (Waves, Optics, and Modern Physics): The physics of oscillations and waves, vibrating strings and sound, and the interaction of light with matter as illustrated through optics and quantum mechanics.
  • PHYS 1CL: (Waves, Optics, and Modern Physics Laboratory)
  • PHYS 2A (Physics—Mechanics): A calculus-based science-engineering general physics course covering vectors, motion in one and two dimensions, Newton’s first and second laws, work and energy, conservation of energy, linear momentum, collisions, rotational kinematics, rotational dynamics, equilibrium of rigid bodies, oscillations, gravitation. 
  • PHYS 2B (Physics—Electricity and Magnetism): Continuation of PHYS 2A covering charge and matter, the electric field, Gauss’s law, electric potential, capacitors and dielectrics, current and resistance, electromotive force and circuits, the magnetic field, Ampere’s law, Faraday’s law, inductance, electromagnetic oscillations, alternating currents, and Maxwell’s equations.
  • PHYS 2BL (Physics Laboratory—Mechanics)
  • PHYS 2C (Physics—Fluids, Waves, Thermodynamics, and Optics): Continuation of PHYS 2B covering fluid mechanics, waves in elastic media, sound waves, temperature, heat and the first law of thermodynamics, kinetic theory of gases, entropy and the second law of thermodynamics, Maxwell’s equations, electromagnetic waves, geometric optics, interference and diffraction. 
  • PHYS 2CL (Physics Laboratory—Electricity and Magnetism)
  • PHYS 2D (Physics—Relativity and Quantum Physics): A modern physics course covering atomic view of matter, electricity and radiation, atomic models of Rutherford and Bohr, relativity, X-rays, wave and particle duality, matter waves, Schrödinger’s equation, atomic view of solids, natural radioactivity. 
  • PHYS 2DL (Physics Laboratory—Modern Physics)
  • PHYS 4A (Physics for Physics Majors—Mechanics): The topics covered are vectors, particle kinematics, and dynamics, work and energy, conservation of energy, conservation of momentum, collisions, rotational kinematics and dynamics, equilibrium of rigid bodies.
  • PHYS 4B (Physics for Physics Majors—Fluids, Waves, Statistical and Thermal Physics): Continuation of PHYS 4A covering forced and damped oscillations, fluid statics, and dynamics, waves in elastic media, sound waves, heat and the first law of thermodynamics, kinetic theory of gases, Brownian motion, Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution, second law of thermodynamics.
  • PHYS 4C (Physics for Physics Majors—Electricity and Magnetism): Continuation of PHYS 4B covering charge and Coulomb’s law, electric field, Gauss’s law, electric potential, capacitors and dielectrics, current and resistance, magnetic field, Ampere’s law, Faraday’s law, inductance, AC circuits.
  • PHYS 4D (Physics for Physics Majors—Electromagnetic Waves, Special Relativity and Optics): Continuation of PHYS 4C covering electric and magnetic fields in matter, Maxwell’s equations and electromagnetic waves, special relativity and its applications to electromagnetism, optics, interference, diffraction.
  • PHYS 4E (Physics for Physics Majors—Quantum Physics): Schrodinger equation and simple applications; spin; identical particles, Fermi and Bose distributions, density matrix, pure and mixed states, entangled states, and EPR.

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