Introductory Courses in Physics: Choosing The Right One for You


Introductory courses are listed below:

Elementary courses:

PHY 100 - Elements of Physics for the Liberal Arts  3 credits.  This is a better choice for students who like doing lab experiments and for those in majors, which expect students to have a lab-based physical science course.  It is offered in the fall and spring.

PHY 103 - Elements of Physics for the Life Sciences  3 credits.  This course meets the requirement for admission to the Nursing Department at Southern.  Although the basic concepts are the same as those in the other elementary physics courses, there are also discussions of how these concepts apply to bio-medical questions.  PHY 103 is at a somewhat more mathematical level than PHY 100.  Students must either complete MAT 095 (or a higher level math course), or take the Placement Exam and receive placement into MAT 100 or 101 (or into a higher level course) before taking

PHY 103. This course is offered fall, spring and summer.  It meets for two lecture and two lab hours per week.

PHY 120 -Physics for Tomorrow: Nanotechnology   3 credits.  An introduction to the science and engineering of nanoscale materials (nanotechnology).  Emphasis on technological applications and potential ethical/societal impacts.

PHY 123 -Critical Thinking and Science for Future Leaders  3 credits.  A critical analysis of contemporary science and physics topics. The primary goal of  this course is development of the critical thinking skills and habits of mind necessary to think like a leader.


Courses designed for science majors  (All of these courses meet three lecture hours and three lab hours per week):

PHY 200 - 201  General Physics I & II  4 credits each.  This two-semester sequence meets the minimum admission requirements for many medical schools and is the recommended minimum preparation for biology majors intending to do laboratory research in graduate school.    It meets the requirements for Earth Science majors, but students interested in astronomy, geophysics or meteorology should take PHY 230 - 231 instead. We recommend (but do not require) high school trigonometry and either high school physics or one of the 100's level physics courses as preparation for

PHY 200.  The prerequisite for PHY 200 is MAT 100 or 102, or else a Placement Exam Score of at least MAT 122. 

PHY 230 - 231  Physics for Scientists and Engineers I & II  4 credits each.  This two-semester sequence is the first requirement towards a degree in Physics.  It is required for physics, chemistry, biochemistry, and computer science (general program) majors.  It will also satisfy the physics requirement for pre-engineering, biology, medical and other health-professions schools, and earth science.  Calculus is used extensively so students should not register for PHY 230 unless they have either completed, or will take concurrently, MAT 150.  Students should usually have also taken either high school physics or an elementary college-level introduction to physics such as PHY 100.