Physics is the study of nature’s most basic interactions between matter and energy. An Associate in Science (AS) degree in Physics will prepare students for transfer to a university to major in physics or in a closely related career for which physics is an integral part. With continued education, students can pursue a wide range of career paths in teaching, medicine, science writing, science policy, government, and management in technical fields. Potential job titles could include physics teacher, physicist, materials scientist, engineer, or researcher.

Graduates of these programs will successfully complete the following learning outcomes:

  • Collect, analyze, and communicate information about basic mechanical systems
  • Engage in scientific inquiry
  • Apply physics principles to solve problems
  • Collect, analyze, and communicate information about basic electric systems
  • Collect, analyze, and communicate information about basic magnetic systems


Click on a program to get more information.

AS in Physics

Recommended Program Map / Program Requirements

The recommended plan below meets the requirements to complete this program.  For official requirements, visit the AWC Catalog. If the recommended classes listed below don’t fit your schedule or interests, you can take alternate classes. 

Visit Academic Planning to get started on your personalized Academic Plan, or schedule an appointment with the Advising Office.

Program Requirements Based on Fall/Spring rotation  (AGEC-S certificate also included)

Prior to First Semester

Course Course Title Credits Area
MAT 150183
MAT 151 & 183
MAT 187 *
College Algebra w/ ReviewPlane Trigonometry
College Algebra: Standard & Plane Trigonometry
Precalculus *
Pre-requisite for MAT 220 
(counts towards elective credits)
  * MAT 187 has a pre-requisite of MAT 121 or MAT 150 or MAT 151 5-7  

First Semester

Course Course Title Credits Area
ENG 101 
ENG 107
Freshman Composition I 3 GE-Composition
CHM 151 General Chemistry I 4 GE-Physical & Biological Sciences
MAT 220 Calculus I with Analytic Geometry 5 GE-Mathematics
ART or HUM Choose one course from Arts or Humanities 3 GE-Arts/Humanities


Co-Curricular Requirements:

Second Semester

Course Course Title Credits Area
ENG 102 
ENG 108
Freshman Composition II 3 GE-Composition
CHM 152 General Chemistry II 4 GE-Physical & Biological Sciences
MAT 230 Calculus II with Analytic Geometry 5 Departmental Requirement
PHY 121 University Physics I 4 Major Requirement


Co-Curricular Requirements:

Third Semester

Course Course Title Credits Area
MAT 241 Calculus III with Analytic Geometry 4 Departmental Requirement
PHY 131 University Physics II 4 Major Requirement
ART or HUM Choose one course from Arts or Humanities 3 GE-Arts/Humanities
SOC Choose one Writing Intensive course from Social & Behavioral Sciences 3 GE-Social & Behavioral Sciences (Writing Intensive)


  • If transferring, apply to universities

Co-Curricular Requirements:

Fourth Semester

Course Course Title Credits Area
EGR 123 Introduction to Structured Programming  3 Departmental Requirement
MAT 262 Differential Equations 3 Departmental Requirement
SOC Choose one Writing Intensive course from Social & Behavioral Sciences 3 GE-Social & Behavioral Sciences
Elective Choose a 100 level or higher elective 3 General Elective


Co-Curricular Requirements:

  • Attend Etiquette Lunch
  • Meet with Career Services
  • Apply for university scholarship opportunities  

Transfer Paths and Requirements

Arizona State University BS, BA, BAE Physics, Biophysics, Earth & Space Exploration, Secondary Education  required for BA in Physics only
Northern Arizona University BS, BSED Physics, Astronomy, Secondary Education None
University of Arizona  BS Physics, Astronomy 2nd Semester Proficiency

Transfer Tools

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AZTransfer will provide you with more information and tools on how to transfer to ASU, NAU, and UofA.

Need help with transferring?  The AWC Transfer Services office can provide you with individualized help to explore degree pathways and specific university requirements.  Visit their website or schedule an appointment with a transfer specialist.  

Career Overview & Job Outlook

Successful completion of this program may lead to a variety of employment opportunities, most of which require continued higher education at the university level. Below are examples of related occupations and annual mean wages in Arizona according to a May 2020 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Mechanical Engineering Technologists and Technicians
Apply theory and principles of mechanical engineering to modify, develop, test, or adjust machinery and equipment under direction of engineering staff or physical scientists.
Industrial Engineering Technologists and Technicians
Apply engineering theory and principles to problems of industrial layout or manufacturing production, usually under the direction of engineering staff. May perform time and motion studies on worker operations in a variety of industries for purposes such as establishing standard production rates or improving efficiency.
Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technologists and Technicians
Operate, install, adjust, and maintain integrated computer/communications systems, consoles, simulators, and other data acquisition, test, and measurement instruments and equipment, which are used to launch, track, position, and evaluate air and space vehicles. May record and interpret test data.
Materials Scientists
Research and study the structures and chemical properties of various natural and synthetic or composite materials, including metals, alloys, rubber, ceramics, semiconductors, polymers, and glass. Determine ways to strengthen or combine materials or develop new materials with new or specific properties for use in a variety of products and applications. Includes glass scientists, ceramic scientists, metallurgical scientists, and polymer scientists.
Atmospheric and Space Scientists
Investigate atmospheric phenomena and interpret meteorological data, gathered by surface and air stations, satellites, and radar to prepare reports and forecasts for public and other uses. Includes weather analysts and forecasters whose functions require the detailed knowledge of meteorology.
Electrical Engineers
Research, design, develop, test, or supervise the manufacturing and installation of electrical equipment, components, or systems for commercial, industrial, military, or scientific use.
Industrial Engineers
Design, develop, test, and evaluate integrated systems for managing industrial production processes, including human work factors, quality control, inventory control, logistics and material flow, cost analysis, and production coordination.
Mechanical Engineers
Perform engineering duties in planning and designing tools, engines, machines, and other mechanically functioning equipment. Oversee installation, operation, maintenance, and repair of equipment such as centralized heat, gas, water, and steam systems.
Biochemists and Biophysicists
Study the chemical composition or physical principles of living cells and organisms, their electrical and mechanical energy, and related phenomena. May conduct research to further understanding of the complex chemical combinations and reactions involved in metabolism, reproduction, growth, and heredity. May determine the effects of foods, drugs, serums, hormones, and other substances on tissues and vital processes of living organisms.
Observe, research, and interpret astronomical phenomena to increase basic knowledge or apply such information to practical problems.
Aerospace Engineers
Perform engineering duties in designing, constructing, and testing aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft. May conduct basic and applied research to evaluate adaptability of materials and equipment to aircraft design and manufacture. May recommend improvements in testing equipment and techniques.

Contact Information

Joann Chang
Associate Dean, Science
(928) 344-7665
Office: AS 117
Dahwei Chang
Professor of Physics
(928) 317-6446
Office: AS 123