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Introductory Physics Courses

The Physics Department offers three introductory course sequences: PHYSICS 140/240, BIOPHYS/PHYSICS 150/250, and PHYSICS 160/260. While these sequences can be mixed (e.g., 140+250), the Department generally encourages students to pursue both terms of a single sequence.

Students with strong high school physics backgrounds are encouraged to take the Honors physics sequence, PHYSICS 160/260. This sequence takes a thoroughly modern approach to both mechanics and electricity & magnetism. PHYSICS 160/260 is the preferred sequence for students interested in any science concentration, especially physics. Students do not need to be LSA Honors Program members to enroll in PHYSICS 160/260.

Prospective physical science and engineering students should elect PHYSICS 140/240 because the content is aligned with the requirements of concentration programs in these areas. Prospective life science students and those interested in the health professions should elect PHYSICS 150/250. Students who feel their mathematics preparation is weak, especially those who have not taken calculus, should consider enrolling in PHYSICS 115. Any student unsure about these options is encouraged to make an appointment to speak with a physics adviser.


Beginning in Fall 2021 the Physics Department will no longer be offering PHYSICS 135/136 or PHYSICS 235/236. The courses will be replaced with a new Physics for the Life Sciences sequence, BIOPHYS/PHYSICS 150/151 and BIOPHYS/PHYSICS 250/251. 

Students currently enrolled in, or who have completed PHYSICS 135/136, and need to complete the sequence should enroll in PHYSICS 250/251 in the Fall 2021 term. 

Information regarding PHYSICS 150 can be found here. Information about PHYSICS 250 can be found here. These new courses can be used to complete the physics and interdisciplinary physics major.

If you have further questions, please contact