Physics (PHYS) 204

Physics for Scientists and Engineers I (Revision 2)

PHYS 204

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online (with eTextbook) and home lab component. This course is charged a lab fee.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: Math 265 or equivalent. MATH 265 can be taken concurrently with PHYS 204.

Precluded course: PHYS 200

Open Courseware version.

Centre: Centre for Science

PHYS 204 is not available for challenge.

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PHYS 204 is an introductory calculus-based physics course recommended for science, engineering, and pre-med students. The course covers material on Newtonian mechanics as outlined below. It also includes a lab component, which involves completing experiments in your home. In addition to the etextbook, this online course is built around a set of video lectures from MIT Open Courseware. These videos are customized for this course and supplemented with 3D animation videos created using text-to-speech technology software developed by Xtranormal Technology Inc.


PHYS 204 consists of the following thirteen units:

  • Unit 1: Physics and Measurement
  • Unit 2: Motion in One Dimension
  • Unit 3: Vectors
  • Unit 4: Motion in Two Dimensions
  • Unit 5: The Laws of Motion
  • Unit 6: Circular Motion
  • Unit 7: Energy of a System
  • Unit 8: Conservation of Energy
  • Unit 9: Linear Momentum and Collisions
  • Unit 10: Rotation of a Rigid Body About a Fixed Axis
  • Unit 11: Angular Momentum
  • Unit 12: Static Equilibrium and Elasticity
  • Unit 13: Universal Gravitation

Lab Component

PHYS 204 includes a compulsory lab component that requires the student to perform seven hands-on lab experiments in a place of her/his choice. Essential tools and equipment can be borrowed from the Athabasca University Library, packaged in the Home Lab Kit. The student is expected to provide some additional common household materials. Lab evaluation is based on written reports about the experiments performed. The PHYS 204 Lab Manual explains the following experiments:

  • Experiment 1: Graphical Analysis
  • Experiment 2: Force Constant
  • Experiment 3: Kinematics
  • Experiment 4: Mechanical Energy
  • Experiment 5: Dropping and Bouncing
  • Experiment 6: The Atwood Machine
  • Experiment 7: Motion on Incline

The student may qualify for partial or full transfer of lab credit obtained for equivalent lab work at another institution. See relevant AU policy and procedure


The final grade in PHYS 204 is based on the marks achieve in four assignments, seven lab reports, and two examinations. To pass the course, the student must achieve at least “D” (50 percent) on the final examination and on the lab component, and an overall course grade of at least “D” (50 percent).

The following chart summarizes the evaluation activities and the credit weight associated with each.

Assignments (5% each) Lab Midterm Exam Final Exam Total
20% 20% 20% 40% 100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Registration in this course includes an electronic textbook. For more information on electronic textbooks, please refer to our eText Initiative site.

Serway, Raymond A. and Jewett, John W. Jr., Physics for Scientists and Engineers, 9th ed. Belmont, CA: Brooks-Cole, 2014.

Gordon J., McGrew R., and Serway R., Student Solutions Manual and Study Guide, 9th ed. Boston, MA: Brooks-Cole, 2014.

A print version of the eText can be purchased from the publisher through a direct-to-student link provided in the course website; you can also acquire the textbook on your own if you wish.

Other Resources

 The Athabasca University online course resources include a Study Guide and Lab Manual, as well as Logger Pro Software. Home Lab Kit to be borrowed from the AU Library.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 2, July 8 , 2016.

View previous syllabus

Updated August 04 2016 by Student & Academic Services