Overview

The Physics & Astronomy Department offers a wide range of courses. You may wish to take a course in this area to fulfill a General Education requirement and/or you may be required to take one or more courses for your intended major. (Note: Always consult a transfer counselor and transfer institutions to verify the requirements discussed below.)

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program students will be able to:

Physics

  • Draw on both conceptual understanding and (as appropriate to course level) mathematical techniques to find exact solutions to real-world physical phenomena
  • Understand the scientific method and principle laws of physics, to sufficiently apply them in their future careers
  • (as applicable) Conduct lab experiments to measure the physical behavior of the real world, and correctly interpret the conceptual and statistical implications of the experimental data

Astronomy

  • Understand the theories of formation and evolution for the universe, galaxies, solar systems and planetary bodies
  • Understand the scientific method that leads to these theories and critically evaluate scientific information presented to the lay public
  • (as applicable) Gather, analyze and interpret astronomical data obtained from naked eye and telescopic observation 

 

General Education (GE) Courses

Conceptual Physics (PHYS 105) and Conceptual Astronomy (ASTRO 100) are lecture courses intended to give you a first introduction to the study of the natural world. These courses are minimally mathematical. If you need to fulfill a GE laboratory requirement, you may also wish to consider Conceptual Physics Lab (PHYS 106) and/or Conceptual  Astronomy Lab (ASTRO 101).

General Physics Sequence

One or both semesters of the general physics sequence (PHYS 210-220) are required of many life science majors, including most pre-health fields. Both courses have lecture and lab components which must be taken concurrently.

Entry into this sequence does not require any previous physics experience, but you must be proficient with algebra and trigonometry (pre-requisite of MATH 130 or equivalent.) As optional extra preparation for PHYS 210 (and/or to fulfill a GE requirement), you may wish to take PHYS 105 prior to starting this sequence. 

If you wish to transfer to specific institutions, you may also be required to take the associated supplemental lectures (PHYS 211-221), which require Calculus (or Applied Calculus) as a pre-requisite.

Calculus Physics Sequence

One, two, or three semesters of the calculus-based physics sequence (PHYS 250-260-270) are required of physical science, engineering, computer science, and physics majors. All courses have lecture and lab components which must be taken concurrently.

Entry into this sequence does not require any previous physics experience, but Calculus must variously be taken as pre- or co-requisites (consult course catalog/schedule for details). If you feel that you may need additional extra preparation, you may wish to consider PHYS 105 or PHYS 210 depending on your comfort level.

Physics and Astronomy Majors

If you are interested in majoring in physics, you should take the Calculus Physics sequence and continue your study of mathematics through the Calculus sequence (MATH 251-252-253), Linear Algebra (MATH 270), and Ordinary Differential Equations (MATH 275) to prepare for post-transfer upper division physics course work. Skyline offers a transfer degree in Physics which can give you a preferential advantage in transferring. 

If you are interested in astronomy, you should strongly consider taking ASTRO 100/101 to gauge and confirm your interest in the field, though they are not always pre-requisites for majors courses. If you are interested in studying observational astronomy and/or theoretical astrophysics, you will need to major in physics (see above) and should direct your post-transfer upper division electives towards astronomy-related topics.   

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