Physics (PHYS) 201

Introductory Physics II (Revision 4)

PHYS 201 Course Cover

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

PHYS 201 lab exemption

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: PHYS 200 or PHYS 204 or equivalent.

Precluded Course: PHYS 274

Centre: Centre for Science

Téluq equivalency: PHY 1022

PHYS 201 is not available for challenge.

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PHYS 201 is a junior, algebra-based course that provides an introduction to simple harmonic motion, heat and elementary thermodynamics, and electrical theory. PHYS 201 combined with either PHYS 200 or PHYS 202 gives the equivalent of one year in introductory physics able to be matched to offerings at other institutions.


Theory Section:

  1. Elasticity and Fracture
  2. Simple Harmonic Motion
  3. Heat and Kinetic Theory
  4. Thermodynamics
  5. Electrostatics
  6. Circuit Theory

Experimental Section:

  1. The Simple Pendulum
  2. Thermal Expansion of Water
  3. Charle's Law
  4. Specific Heat and Heat of Fusion
  5. Ohm's Law
  6. Charging and Discharging of a Capacitors

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to

  • describe elastic properties of solids and use algebra to explain the dynamics of simple harmonic motion.
  • explain thermal expansion and solve problems of linear and volume change, for solids and liquids, resulting from change in temperature.
  • describe the ideal gas law and solve problems involving changes in mass, volume, pressure, and temperature of gases.
  • define latent heat and specific heat capacity and apply them to solving problems in calorimetry.
  • outline and interpret the first and second laws of thermodynamics and use them to solve problems involving heat engines.
  • define the electric charge and use Coulomb’s law to compute the electric forces between static point charges.
  • describe the electric field and the electric potential due to a set of static point charges and use algebra to solve related problems.
  • define voltage, current and resistance and solve problems involving Ohm’s law and Kirchhoff’s rules to analyze direct current circuits.
  • define capacitance and solve problems involving the charging and discharging of capacitors.
  • demonstrate skills related to performing simple experiments in thermodynamics and electricity, including experimental setup, data acquisition, data analysis, and communication of scientific results.

Lab Component

A compulsory lab component requires that students perform labs in a place of their choice. Essential tools and equipment can be borrowed from the Athabasca University Science Lab, 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.

Request the lab kit online

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.)


To receive credit for PHYS 201, you must achieve a course composite grade of at least D (50 percent) and a grade of at least 50 percent on the final examination. You must also get a total lab mark of at least a 50 percent to pass the course. The weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Activity Weighting
Assignment 1 10%
Midterm Exam 20%
Assignment 2 10%
Final Exam 40%
Lab Exercises 20%
Total 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.

Giancoli, Douglas C., 2005. Physics, 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

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

Other Resources

All other learning resources will be 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 4, February 12, 2014.

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