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Introductory Courses

We offer three different levels of courses in introductory physics. Which level is right for you depends on your background and on your future plans. The descriptions below are meant to help you to determine which level of introductory physics course is the right one for you. If you still have questions then don't hesitate to ask us by writing to​.

PHYS 2311/2331, General Physics

General Physics is a two-semester sequence of courses designed for physics, engineering and chemistry majors. If you are majoring in one of these fields then you are probably required to take both semesters of General Physics. If you are majoring in mathematics then General Physics is the most appropriate introductory physics course for you.

The primary difference between General Physics and College Physics is that General Physics is calculus-based while College Physics is algebra-based. If you will be using basic physics knowledge in future courses (such as other physics, chemistry or engineering courses) or in your career then you should take General Physics. If you are interested in learning how calculus applies to the natural world then you should take General Physics.


University Physics by Young and Freedman 

University Physics with Modern Physics, 12th Edition
by Hugh D. Young and Roger A. Freedman

PHYS 2311 - Chap. 1-13
PHYS 2331 - Chap 15-25

PHYS 2010/2020, College Physics

College Physics is a two-semester sequence of courses designed for biology majors and anyone considering a health-related career who is not also pursuing a major that requires General Physics. Any student who is (or should be) working with Health Careers Advising and is not also majoring in chemistry or in medical physics should probably take College Physics.

The primary difference between College Physics and General Physics is that College Physics is algebra-based while General Physics is calculus-based. Also, College Physics tends to cover a broader range of topics. For this reason, College Physics probably offers slightly better preparation for the MCAT and related tests. If you have taken a year of calculus (up through MATH 2411) and are required to take just an algebra-based physics course then you probably have the option of taking either College Physics or General Physics.


Varies by course/section, please refer to course syllabus.

PHYS 1100, Introduction to Physics

Introduction to Physics is a one-semester course designed primarily for non-science students. PHYS 1100 satisfies the Natural & Physical Sciences part of the Core Curriculum. This course provides an introductory survey of physics from a more conceptual, rather than quantitative, point of view. The course includes a hands-on laboratory component, applications of physics to everyday life, and some discussion of the historical development of physics. If you need a more mathematically rigorous course in physics, need to know how to perform physics-related calculations, or are especially interested in the connection between mathematics and the natural world, then you should consider taking one of the other introductory courses.


Conceputal Physics 

Conceptual Physics
Paul G. Hewitt