1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Schools General Physics vs. University Physics (and help in class selection)

  1. Jan 8, 2013 #1
    I'm taking General Physics I (already taken and passed) and II at a CC this year (in other words, algebra based). The adviser told me that it would make no difference when transferring to a university. Now I'm not too sure.

    From my understanding, Gen Phys 1 is not much different than calculus based phys 1, but physics 2 can be rather different.

    Will it be a problem to NOT take university physics? After this next year at a State University, I plan on making one final transfer.

    So far, my schedule looks like this:

    Mechanics I - Vector formulation of kinematics and dynamics of particles and rigid bodies. Topics include Newton's laws, momentum, energy, moving coordinate systems, central force motion, and the harmonic oscillator. Irregular.

    General chemistry* 1- Average general chemistry class

    German 4 - I plan on finishing my degree in Vienna

    Calculus 3- Average Calc 3 class

    English composition 2*- A boring, useless English class that I'm stuck taking



    *Depending on university requirements in Europe (where I plan on finishing my degree- Vienna!), I may take a thermodynamics course instead of this.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 9, 2013 #2

    lisab

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    From a US perspective: it depends on your major. Some majors that require a year of physics will accept algebra-based physics (what I'm interpreting "General Physics" means), but will also accept the more difficult calculus-based physics ("University Physics").

    But there are majors that *specify* calculus-based physics. These would include physics (obviously), physical sciences, engineering, etc. These majors will definitely not accept algebra-based physics as a substitute.

    To be certain which physics will satisfy your degree requirements, I recommend you contact the institution that you will be graduating from, not the place you're transferring from.
     
  4. Jan 9, 2013 #3

    bcrowell

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    The terms you're using, such as "general physics" and "university physics," don't have standardized definitions. The answer to your question depends completely on the exact school you're transferring to. When my students want to double-check what an adviser has told them, I can usually tell by looking at the catalogs for the two schools, because analogous courses have analogous math prerequisites. There may also be an electronic online system for your country's school system that tells you about these correspondences between schools -- in American bureaucratic parlance, they're referred to as "articulation agreements."
     
  5. Jan 9, 2013 #4

    jtbell

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    If you want to end up with a physics or engineering degree, you generally need to take the calculus-based intro physics course. If you've taken only an algebra-based course, some schools may make you take the calculus-based one also. Some schools may have some kind of "bridge" course for students in your situation, so you don't have to take another two whole semesters of intro physics. It all depends on the school that you're transferring to.
     
  6. Jan 9, 2013 #5
    Sorry about that, I forgot to define them XD

    Yes, General Physics is algebra based, while University Physics is calculus based. The state university says this (paraphrased):

    Students who have taken General physics 1 will not receive credit for University physics 1.

    I'm assuming that means that General Physics one is equal to University physics 1?

    It does NOT say this for university physics 2. I'm guessing that's because calculus is much more important for E&M. Only calculus 1 is needed to take both University Physics classes.

    So, what do you recommended I do? Are seconded semester courses offered in the first semester?

    And yeah, this is going towards a physics degree.

    Is testing out of University Physics 2 an option?

    Edit: Here is the prereq math class for University Physics: Calculus 1 Limits and continuity, derivatives, applications of derivatives including transcendental functions. Antiderivatives, definite integrals with applications. Skill Area II

    The next one is Calculus 2, followed by 3.

    Calculus 2 is: Further application of integration and techniques integration. Improper integrals and L'Hopital's. Infinite series including Taylor series and representation of functions.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
  7. Jan 10, 2013 #6

    lisab

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    If you're going for a physics degree, I wouldn't even consider taking algebra-based physics, unless you intend to use it as an introduction to the calculus-based series.

    Even if calc 1 is the only prerequisite, you're going to have to take the full calculus series anyway, at least for all physics programs that I'm familiar with.

    Again, you really need to check with the institution that you are transferring to, i.e. the one you plan on graduating from. We here at PF can give general guidance but we aren't familiar with individual degree requirements.
     
  8. Jan 10, 2013 #7

    HallsofIvy

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    No, that's the opposite of what is said here. Did you not notice the "not" in that sentence? You will not receive credit for University Physics I!

     
  9. Jan 10, 2013 #8

    jtbell

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    If you're not planning to finish your degree at university #2 (where you plan to go next year), the main issue there is whether they will let you take intermediate and upper-level physics courses that normally require calculus-based intro physics as a prerequisite. Only someone who knows the policies of the physics department at that university can answer that question.

    The question of which courses the Universität Wien (or whatever other university there is in Vienna) will accept towards their bachelor's degree is a separate issue, and only they can provide a definite answer.
     
  10. Jan 10, 2013 #9
    You're right, and yeah Universität Wien is the one I'm looking at. I'll contact my local university.

    Universität Wien has so many choices, it's a bit overwhelming. It says the intro classes that you must take before continuing the degree is "Einführung in die Physik" (introduction to physics). I can't find anything detailing what this class actually covers, I'm assuming it's calculus based.

    I figured I'd be able to test into calc 3. I've been reviewing my calculus from HS with Spivak.

    Am I REALLY gonna have to repeat intro physics? :cry:
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: General Physics vs. University Physics (and help in class selection)
  1. General Physics help (Replies: 1)

Loading...