With the availability of on-line information, and dial-up registration, more and more students are registering for courses without advising. For many students this has led to poor grades, unnecessary withdrawals, and delays in graduation. We hope you use this page to avoid some of the more common pitfalls. Nevertheless the most important rule for negotiating your college career is…DO NOT SELF-ADVISE

## Transfer advisor:

The Science Division has a full time transfer advisor to counsel students planning a transfer to another baccalaureate granting institution. Stop by and visit:

Science Advisor, Entry Services and Academic Advising

Science Division. L200

For appointments call 425-564-2321

## Getting good advice involves two steps:

Find the right source: Do not ask a division secretary about a subtle financial aid question. Do not ask student services whether your knowledge of mathematics is good enough for a particular physics course. Do not ask anyone at BC if your credits from XYZ college will transfer to PZU University. Try to find out who makes the decision or policy and ask your questions in that department/ division.

Persistence: Your question may seem simple to you but involve complexities you had not realized. Be prepared for a discussion. Ask your question in several different ways. Listen to the answers and try to learn about the underlying system. Remember each department, college, and university, organizes itself differently from the others. What you have learned in one context may not apply to the current question. Finally, be polite. There is a saying about catching more flies with honey…

## Success in physics courses:

To be successful in physics, a student must learn to view and interpret the world in a new way. As you progress in physics you will come to believe that you can understand most things that happen around you. You will have the skills and knowledge to draw these conclusions and will not have to rely on “experts”. In physics courses you will acquire concepts for which mathematics is the most natural expression. Further, mathematics will become a primary reasoning tool as you analyze the world around you.

To get the most of your physics experience it may be helpful to think of each course as being three classes taught simultaneously. Your instructor will be presenting the course content which is based on physical experience and is often described mathematically.

### Course content

This covers the ordinary kind of knowledge you expect to get from a course; the conceptual structure of the material, definition of terms, etc.. In a physics course you are also expected to understand the relationships between these concepts and to be able to apply them to ordinary situations. Memorization may be less important than process in many cases. What is the reasoning chain? Why do we believe some particular conclusion? How do we analyze a problem? Methods and relationships that lead to the answers are as important as the answers themselves. If you rely heavily on memorization for success in college classes, you may have trouble in physics. Your instructor can help you devise new learning strategies that focus on process and relationships.

### Physical experience

Physics seeks to explain the natural processes of the physical world. Students who have observed ordinary things around them, who notice details and prefer hands-on experiences have a wealth of intuition that will help them in their physics course. Students who are curious and who have wondered about the physical world have a much easier time in the course. These students are better able to understand why the physicist cares about some particular issue.

Your instructor or your text may frequently describe situations that are unfamiliar to you. Wherever possible you should try to experience these things yourself. Be prudent and safe, but always play and experiment every chance you get. If you do not have the necessary equipment at home ask your instructor. It may be a simple matter to demonstrate the phenomena in the lab.

If you are concerned that you have limited experience with the physical world or that you do not have strong physical intuition about objects in general, you may want to consider the Phys 104 course described below.

### Mathematics

As noted above mathematics is used to express the key relationships in physics. To the physicist mathematical expressions are very compact descriptions of nature’s behavior. A successful physics student will learn to look at mathematics differently. They will be able to read a mathematical expression (decode its meaning) and interpret what it says about nature. This way of looking at math takes practice. We recognize that most students do not have this facility when they enter the course. But you can learn to view math this way. Obviously this task will be much easier if you are already fluent with basic mathematical manipulations.

The comments above present an overview. You can also link to more specific advice about Study tips here or here and problem solving strategies. Also the physics career pages on our site have additional advice as you continue your studies in physics.

__Prerequisites__

and Advising Notes

and Advising Notes

### Phys& 100

**Prerequisites** : Math

099 or equivalent.

**Comments** : Basic algebra operations are used in this course.

Fluency with math at this level will produce a distinct edge over

students who are less comfortable with these skills.

Team projects are completed outside of class. Students should

allow at least two hours per week to meet with their teams.

**Running start students:** If you plan a career in science

you should not take this course instead of your high school physics

course. One quarter of physics is not enough time to serve your

long term needs. Other running start students will find this course

a good choice.

### Physics 104

**Prerequisites** : Math

099 or equivalent.

**Comments** : Basic algebra operations are a must for this

course. Some rustiness can be overcome during the course, but

you will want to apply yourself to this early on.

Inquiry based clases generate nearly all their content during

class time with hands-on activities and discussion. This experience

is un-recoverable if you miss class. Daily attendance is extremely

important.

**Note for ESL students.** This course demands daily verbal

and written communication.

**Running start students:** If you plan a career in science

you should not take this course instead of your High school physics

course. One quarter is not enough time to serve your needs. Other

running start students will find this a good choice.

### Physics 105

**Prerequisites** : Math

099 or equivalent.

**Comments** : Basic algebra operations are used in this course.

Some rustiness can be overcome during the course and support is

provided for students with weak math skills.

Inquiry based clases generate nearly all their content during

class time with hands-on activities and discussion. This experience

is un-recoverable if you miss class. Daily attendance is extremely

important.

**Note for ESL students.** This course demands daily verbal

and written communication.

**Running start students:** If you plan a career in science

you should not take this course instead of your High school physics

course. One quarter is not enough time to serve your needs. Other

running start students will find this a good choice.

### Physics 109

**Prerequisites** : Math

098 or equivalent assessment.

**Comments** : Inquiry based classes generate nearly all their

content during class time with hands-on activities and discussion.

This experience is un-recoverable if you miss class. Daily attendance

is extremely important. The course is team based. Students work in

small teams on projects and learn by doing. The team roles are well

defined. Teams give presentations at the end of each project which

are used to asses their grades instead of exams.

### Physics 114

**Prerequisites** : Math&

142 (Prev. Math 120) or equivalent.

**Recommended Physics** 104

or High School Physics .

**Comments** : At the level of Physics 114, essential mathematics

includes algebra, geometry and basic trigonometry. Students who

are not relatively fluent with these mathematical tools can survive

physics 114 but they will spend much of their effort struggling

with the “grammar” rather than the content of the subject.

One topic more than any other is a sticking point in this course

– vector operations. A very nice workbook on vectors is available

in the bookstore and can be productively studied before the course

begins.

If you have been a science avoider, or are particularly anxious

about your science background, you will probably want to take

P104 before taking P114. P104 provides a hands-on introduction

to three of the principle topics from the P114 – P116 sequence.

You will encounter the approach and outlook of the discipline,

discover some basic physical principles on your own, and be prepared

for three important topics along the way.

### Physics 115

**Prerequisites** : Physics 114

and its prerequisites [Math&

142 (Prev. Math 120) or equivalent. Physics

104 or High School Physics recommended].

**Comments** : You will simply not succeed in this course without

taking P114 first. P115 makes almost daily use of the concepts

from P114. (Keep this in mind as you study P114.)

### Physics 116

**Prerequisites** : Physics 115

and its prerequisites [Physics 114

and Math&

142 (Prev. Math 120) or equivalent. P104

or High School Physics recommended].

**Comments** : see above:

### Physics 121

**Prerequisites** : Math

151 (Prev. Math 124)(calculus) or equivalent.

**Strongly Recommended:** High School Physics

**Comments** : Completion of a quarter of The Calculus is a

key element for success in this course. You should not attempt

to take them together. Our most common student remark is that

without taking the courses at the same time the student will not

be able to finish in time. In nearly every case these students

expect to transfer to very competitive programs and consequently

need the highest grades they can attain. That goal will simply

not be met* even by most top flight students* who attempt

the two courses concurrently. The student typically finds they

have to re-take the course and so they do not finish in time anyway.

If you have any question about this discuss it with a physics

instructor early on.

For students with a science background or strong physical intuition

calculus may be the only preparation you need for P121. Consult

a faculty member for more details.

If you have been a science avoider, or are particularly anxious

about your science background, you will probably want to take

P104 or P114 before taking P121. But please note the following:

*Neither *course is considered a proper introduction to P121.

**We do not offer a prep course specifically for P121 at BC**

. A discussion of three possible choices is provided here. Discuss

this with an advisor.

**Take P104.** The emphasis in P104 is hands-on exposure to

physics. The small group activities illustrate the thinking process

and approach that uniquely marks the discipline. The style of

the course is very different from lecture classes and is a favorite

of students who have previously avoided science. You will be introduced

to the basic tools of physics but a significant mathematical gap

remains between this course and the tools you need for P121. P104

also provides an introduction to three of the principle topics

across the P121 – P123 sequence (optics, electricity, and motion).

This choice may be most suitable if you are still getting your

math background in line (you are currently taking math 142 or

below)

**Take P114. **P114 covers nearly the same topics as P121 but

with slightly reduced mathematical rigor. It is better to view

P114 as the same course with a different audience than it is to

think of P114 as a preparatory sequence for P121. If you have

strong algebra and trigonometry skills but are very nervous about

your physics, P114 may be preferred over P104 before starting

the calculus based sequence. Keep in mind though that P114 is

not a survey course. It only focuses on mechanics (like P121)

so that you will find the content in P122 and P123 to be completely

new. To prepare completely using the algebra based courses would

properly involve taking the entire sequence P114 -P116. Taking

the whole sequence is not generally recommended because it is

almost certainly more time and money than is needed. P114 by itself

introduces many fundamental concepts and skills that will assist

you through the whole year of physics, and so is not too bad a

choice by itself. If you are nervous about physics, the question

of how to prepare for P121 is best done with the advice of a physics

faculty member.

**Take lots of math**. If you have already completed M153

(the full year of calculus) P104 becomes less advised because

you will find the time spent on polishing math skills to be far

below you. Even the benefit of hands on learning probably will

not outweigh this effect. Furthermore, you have acquired other

skills that put you in advance of other P121 students. Thus, the

time your classmates spend in acquiring the mathematical proficiency

they need, you can devote to your weak science background. Reading

a good conceptual physics book on the side is a good accompaniment

here. This plan has been successful for others in your position.

It is again best if you discuss your background with a faculty

member.

### Physics 122

**Prerequisites** : Math

152 (Prev. Math 125), Physics

121 and its prerequisites (Math151.

or equivalent. High School Physics recommended).

**Comments** : This is not an idle prerequisite. Do not take

these courses out of order. You will simply not succeed in this

course without taking P121 first (see comment for P114). Each

course builds directly on the previous one. Without that background

you will be completely lost. Keep this in mind as you study P121.

### Physics 123

**Prerequisites** : Physics 122 and its prerequisites Math

152 (Prev. Math 125), Physics 121 and Math

151 (Prev. Math 124). Concurrent registration in a math class

following Math 152 and High School Physics are recommended.

**Comments** : see comment above:

### Physics 225

**Prerequisites** : Physics 123, Math

153 (Prev. Math 126) or Math

254 (Prev. Math 227).

**Recommended or Concurrent Registration:** Math

238

**Comments** : In this course you will need to be able to use

your math skills to talk about the world (math as language). This

requires both breadth of knowledge and fluency. Discuss your background

with the instructor to help decide if you are prepared for this

course.

## Audience for Physics Courses

Who takes these courses? Is this course right for me?

## Transfer Issues

You can check transfer equivalencies at The University of Washington and at Washington State University on their respective transfer web sites.

Last Updated March 13, 2018