Which course is right for you depends both on your interests and on the requirements of your particular major or program.
Be sure to check the college catalog and consult with your advisor before registering for any particular course. You can also learn more about course requirements and typical course patterns, as well as Lafayette’s AP and IB Credit policies.
Physics courses at Lafayette can be divided into four broad categories:
These are courses specifically designed for non-science majors. They satisfy the Common Course of Study Lab Science requirement. Current offerings are:
These are courses designed to give an introduction to the fundamentals of physics. These courses also satisfy the Common Course of Study Lab Science requirement. There are three main options: Algebra-based, Calculus-based, and Accelerated.
This is an introductory survey of the major areas of classical physics, including mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity, magnetism, optics, oscillations, and waves. It makes minimal use of calculus and is appropriate for students in a wide variety of A.B. programs and some B.S. programs.
Physics majors should start with Phys 130: Relativity, Spacetime, and Contemporary Physics,
and then continue with either Phys 131 – Phys 133 or the Accelerated sequence Phys 151 – Phys 152.
For most engineering and B.S. science majors, the calculus-based introductory sequence Phys 131 – Phys 133 is appropriate. These courses give an introduction to physics, including mechanics, oscillations, waves, and electricity and magnetism, and can serve as a strong foundation for further study in either science or engineering.
f you have a strong physics background, the Accelerated Calculus-based Physics 151-152 sequence might be right for you.
If you have a good background in high school physics, you should consider the accelerated Phys 151—Phys 152 sequence, which goes beyond the topics covered in the standard introductory sequence to include such topics as thermodynamics, and to provide you with a more complete introduction to physics.
These are 200-level courses that explore physics beyond the introductory level. These normally have a prerequisite of one of the fundamental courses, but you should check the individual listings and consult with the instructor if in doubt.
Finally, there are a number of 300- and 400-level courses designed to provide a well-rounded study of all the major areas of physics. There are also opportunities for independent study and thesis work.