Advanced Placement: A score of 4 or 5 on the AP Physics 1, 2, or C exam earns college credit and counts toward the natural science common area requirement. Students with AP score of 4 or 5 in Physics 2 or Physics C may receive credit toward the minimum number of courses required for the Physics major or the Physics minor, or advanced standing in the physics curriculum.

Majors: Students interested in Physics should enroll in PHYS 115. This is a calculus-based course suitable for students who will major in physics, chemistry, or biology, as well as for those interested in the Health Professions (premedical, predental, etc.), 3-2 Engineering, or ROTC. No prior knowledge of physics is assumed, however, students must enroll in or have credit for Calculus 1 or the equivalent.

Advisory Note: Because mathematics plays an important role in Physics, majors are required to take Calculus 1, Calculus 2, and Multivariable Calculus, or the equivalent. These may be taken over the first three semesters, but completing them during the first year, if possible, does offer some advantage going into the upper-level physics curriculum. Students who have already completed a year of calculus may be able to place out of one semester or more of math and are recommended to do so if appropriate. Please see the guidelines in the Mathematics section.

PHYS 100 Section 01
Topics in Physics: Electricity and Magnetism
Common Area: Natural Science

    This course covers the basic theories of electricity and magnetism and the impact these areas of physics have on everyday lives. Time will be divided between lecture, laboratory experiments, and student research and presentations on real word applications of electricity and magnetism. The course is suitable for non-science majors fulfilling their common area science requirement.

PHYS 100 Sections 02 and 03
Topics in Physics: The Discovery of Science
Common Area: Natural Science

Science is not something arcane, intended for only a few. Every one of us, whether a poet, janitor or solid-state physicist, has to be able to think scientifically and to understand science to get through our lives. The objective of this course is to offer a compelling intellectual experience regarding science that might enrich your life by making the world more accessible to your understanding and your action. We will do this by tracing the historical development of the Newtonian synthesis as an example of how science explains the world, and in the process, appreciate the very discovery of science itself.

PHYS 115
Introductory Physics 1: Mechanics, Fluids and Waves
Common Area: Natural Science

What are the underlying rules of the universe? How can we apply these rules to understand the motions of planets, cars, oceans, etc.? These are the guiding questions for this foundational course on Newtonian mechanics and quantitative problem solving. Topics include motion in one and two dimensions, vectors, Newton’s laws of motion, work and energy, linear momentum and collisions, rotational motion, static equilibrium, oscillatory motion, gravitation, fluid mechanics, and mechanical waves. Co- or prerequisite: Calculus 1 or equivalent.

Back to First-Year Course listing »

Back to Course Schedule »