Physics (PHYS) 204

Physics for Scientists and Engineers I (Revision 1)

PHYS 204

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online with home lab component (Order the lab kit online). This course is charged a lab fee.

PHYS 204 lab exemption

PHYS 204 is also partially available in a non-credential open courseware for self-study purposes. The posted material may be useful for a student to make an informed decision to enroll into our 3-credit version. Note: Educational support will not be provided for the open courseware version.

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

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

Precluded course: PHYS 200 (PHYS 204 may not be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for PHYS 200.)

Open Courseware version.

Centre: Centre for Science

PHYS 204 is not available for challenge.

check availability


PHYS 204 is an introductory calculus-based physics course intended 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 textbook, 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

A compulsory lab component requires that students perform lab experiments in a place of their choice using lab kit borrowed from Athabasca University Library, and some household items. Lab evaluation is based on written reports about the experiments performed. The PHYS 204 Lab Manual consists of the following seven 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


Your final grade in PHYS 204 is based on the grades you achieve in four tutor-marked assignments, seven lab reports and two examinations. You must achieve at least 50% on the final examination and on the lab component, and an overall course grade of at least ā€œDā€ (50 percent) to pass the course.

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

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


Serway, Raymond A. and Jewett, John W. Jr., Physics for Scientists and Engineers, 8th ed. Belmont, CA: Brooks-Cole, 2010.

Gordon J., McGrew R., and Serway R., Student Solutions Manual and Study Guide, 8th ed. Boston, MA: Brooks-Cole, 2010.

Other materials

All other materials are available online.

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 1, October 6, 2011

Updated May 26 2016 by Student & Academic Services