PHYS 114 studio in Classroom 365 Phillips Hall

Physics 114/115 and Physics 118/119

The Physics & Astronomy Department offers two 2-semester introductory physics sequences: (1) PHYS 114/115 General Physics I and II: for Students of the Life Sciences, and (2) PHYS 118/119 Introductory Calculus-based Mechanics and Relativity, and Electromagnetism and Quanta. The PHYS 114/115 sequence is intended to meet the needs of, but not restricted to, students majoring in the life sciences, while the PHYS 118/119 sequence is intended but not restricted to students majoring in physical sciences and engineering. Respectively, these sequences are to replace the introductory physics sequences of PHYS 104/105 and PHYS 116/117 that are no longer offered, beginning in Spring 2015. The brief content of these courses are listed in the Undergraduate Bulletin.

These courses are taught in an integrated lecture/studio mode. Students will attend two 50-minute lectures per week and two 110-minute studio sessions per week. In the studio sessions students will engage in active learning, working in small groups on lab experiments, cooperative group problem solving, interactive computer simulations of physical phenomena, and scientific modeling. The design of the courses is based on physics education research that demonstrates the most effective techniques for teaching and learning physics.

The important things to know about the PHYS 114/115 sequence are:
  • PHYS 114/115 fulfill all the same requirements (for various majors and as prerequisites to other courses) that PHYS 104/105 fulfill. Students who have already taken PHYS 104 and 105 have already fulfilled those requirements and do not need to take additional 100-level physics courses.
  • PHYS 114 has MATH 231 as a prerequisite. PHYS 115 has PHYS 114 as a prerequisite (no additional math courses).
  • Students who have been granted credit by Examination for PHYS 104/105 for AP or IB scores will retain that credit.
  • PHYS 114/115 are offered each year in the Fall and Spring semesters and in Summer Session.
The important things to know about the PHYS 118/119 sequence are:
  • PHYS 118/119 fulfill all the same requirements (for various majors and as prerequisites to other courses) that PHYS 116/117 fulfill. Students who have already taken PHYS 116/117 have already fulfilled those requirements and do not need to take additional 100-level physics courses.
  • PHYS 118/119 fulfill the introductory physics requirements for all physics majors and minors.
  • PHYS 118 has MATH 231 as a prerequisite and MATH 232 as a corequisite. PHYS 119 has MATH 232 and PHYS 118 as prerequisites, and MATH 233 as a corequisite.
  • PHYS 118/119 are offered each year in the Fall and Spring semesters and in Summer Session.

Placement Exams

Based on departmental placement exam scores for PHYS 116 and 117, the Physics department can approve credit to be awarded by the Registrar. The Registrar also awards credit for PHYS 104 and 105 based on AP exam scores. Placement exams/credit for PHYS 114, 115, 118, and 119 are not currently offered.

PHYS 104/105

  • UNC no longer offers placement exams for 104 and 105. AP exams are administered by the College Board every May. For more information, please refer to the UNC Physics Dept page on AP creditand the AP Calendar on the College Board web page, which has the necessary information about locations and times for the exam. You are required to make all arrangements with the College Board, including getting the scoring results sent to the Registrar.
    • The AP Physics 1 or AP Physics C Mechanics exam is required for 104 credit.
    • The AP Physics 2 or AP Physics C E&M exam is required for 105 credit.

PHYS 116/117

  • Placement exams for 116 and 117 occur on a day just before the beginning of the Fall and Spring semesters.
    The 116 and 117 exam time for the Fall 2017 semester is Mon August 21st from 1 PM to 4 PM in Phillips 215.
  • If you want to take the exam, please contact the Physics and Astronomy Placement Exam Coordinator to be placed on the list.
    Students who show up without prior arrangement will be turned away.
  • The 3-hour exam consists of two smaller exams that are both closed-book and closed-note: a longer written exam, and a shorter lab exam.
  • The longer written exam contains conceptual questions and problems and is similar to a final exam for the respective course.
    The following list of topics is representative of the materials covered on the written exam:

    • 116: mechanics, fluids, and waves; Chapters 1-17 in Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday, Resnick, and Walker, 9th ed.
    • 117: electromagnetism and optics; Chapters 21-36 in Fundamentals of Physics by Halliday, Resnick, and Walker, 9th ed.
  • The shorter lab exam is focused on analyzing measurement and uncertainty questions, or simulated laboratory experiments.
    Representative lab exams and answer keys can be found here.
    Please note: you are no longer required to perform actual experiments in the lab exam.
  • Additional notes for the 116/117 exam:
    • A non-internet compatible calculator is allowed, but no smart devices of any other kind are allowed.
    • Useful formulas and constants are provided on the first page of the exam, which may be torn off separately.
    • A failing grade will not become a part of your academic record.
    • All papers must be returned to the proctor. The exams will be graded within 3 days.
    • To take the placement exam for 117, you must already have credit for 116.
    • You may take the placement exam for any course only one time.
    • The passing grade for the exam is approximately 75%.
    • If you have any questions regarding placement exams for 116 or 117, please contact the Physics and Astronomy Placement Exam Coordinator.