The courses offered by the Physics Discipline serve students fulfilling the requirements of a science or engineering major, interested in a physics-related degree, or pursuing a general interest. These students commonly seek careers in various medical/health, technology and engineering fields. Many need a lab-based, science course that meets their respective major or core-curriculum requirements. Our two introductory courses offer a broad overview of physical laws, and an introduction to basic measurement and lab investigation. They bring to the student a conceptual understanding of how the natural world works – providing an insight into many of society’s technologies.

Student engagement is effected by well-qualified faculty using interactive learning techniques and current technologies in lectures and laboratory exercises. Faculty emphasize concepts, computation, writing and presentations; as well as, connecting material to technological and practical applications. A solid understanding of physics concepts and its approach to solving problems can even form the basis of a career that is peripheral to physics - business, law, medicine, or engineering – promising options considering the growth of multidisciplinary, technology-related careers.

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Degrees and Certificates

Physics - AS

Program Information

General Requirements


To be eligible for an Associate in Arts (AA), an Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT), or an Associate in Science (AS) degree from HCC, a student must successfully:

Complete at least 60 semester hours of credit as follows: (a) for the AA degree, 43 hours of required core courses and 17 hours of transferable electives, usually focusing on the student's transfer major (b) for the AAT degree, 44 hours of required core courses plus 16-18 hours of required pre-teaching courses (c) for the AS degree, 43 hours of required core courses plus six additional hours of mathematics, four additional hours of natural science, and 7 hours of transferable electives, usually focusing on the student's transfer major.

Additional Degree Requirements


A student who has received an associate degree or higher from an accredited institution must meet specific requirements to earn an additional degree from HCC.

  • The student must complete a minimum of 18 semester hours at HCC for each additional degree. These hours may not repeat credit applied from a previous HCC degree. These hours may not be satisfied through credit by exam.
  • All additional hours must be applicable toward the additional degree. If the student has prior credit in required courses, appropriate substitutions may be arranged.
  • All courses required by the specific HCC program of the additional degree must be completed.
  • A grade point average of at least 2.0 must be earned on all hours since the previous degree.
  • Academic courses from previous degrees may be applied to an additional AAS degree required academic core where equivalent and appropriate, which waives the need for approval, except where program restrictions prevail.
  • If the first degree was an Associate in Arts, an Associate of Arts in Teaching, Associate in Science, a bachelor degree, or higher degree from an accredited educational institution in the United States, the student will be considered to be “Core Complete”, thus needing to complete only the requirement of 18 additional semester hours at HCC toward a new associate degree.
  • Each additional academic associate degree obtained from HCC must be of a different type. Thus, a student may only obtain one Associate in Arts, one Associate of Arts in Teaching, and/or one Associate in Science from HCC. For example, if one degree from HCC was an AA, then any additional degrees must be an AAT, AS, or AAS.
  • Multiple Associate of Applied Science degrees may be earned from HCC if all AAS program requirements are met including earning at least 18 additional semester hours at HCC, 12 of which must be earned in the major program of the additional degree. In most cases, however, there is only one AAS degree allowable per workforce program. See counselor or program chair for clarification.
  • Multiple workforce Certificates of Completion may be earned from HCC if all program requirements are met for each certificate including earning at least 9 additional unique semester hours at HCC toward the major program of the additional certificate.
  • All other state and institutional graduation requirements, including TSI policies and financial obligations, must be met.



There are a number of branches in physics including atomic, biological,  chemical, molecular, particle and light. Physicists are often employed in engineering or in computer science jobs.

  • There are 662 Physicists employed in the greater Houston Area. This number is expected to increase by 8.5% over the next four years.
  • Upon completion of a Graduate degree in Physics median salary in the Greater Houston Area is $71.78 hourly, $149,000 annually.