Physics (PHYS) 202

Introductory Physics III (Revision 4)

PHYS 202

Temporarily closed, effective September 23, 2020

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

PHYS 202 lab exemption

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: PHYS 200 or PHYS 204 or equivalent.

PHYS 202 is not available for challenge.

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PHYS 202 is a junior, algebra-based course that provides an introduction to magnetism, electromagnetic waves, geometrical and physical optics, and basic quantum theory. PHYS 202 combined with either PHYS 200 or PHYS 201 gives the equivalent of one year in introductory physics able to be matched to offerings at other institutions.


PHYS 202 comprises the following units

  1. Magnetism
  2. Electromagnetic Induction
  3. Electromagnetic Waves
  4. Geometrical Optics and Optical Instruments
  5. The wave Nature of Light
  6. Early Quantum Theory and Models of the Atom

Learning Outcomes

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

  • describe the magnetic field generated around a current-carrying wire and explain the interaction between an external magnetic field and an electric current or a moving point charge.
  • outline Lenz’s law and Faraday’s law of induction and use them to solve problems involving induced electromotive force.
  • apply the principle of magnetic induction to describe the operation of electric generators, motors and transformers.
  • describe the properties of an electromagnetic wave and calculate transported energy.
  • use the laws of reflection and refraction of light rays to locate and describe images formed by mirrors and thin lenses.
  • apply geometrical optics to study various optical systems, such as telescopes, microscopes, the human eye and corrective lenses.
  • apply the wave nature of light to explain polarization and to calculate interference patterns produced by double slits, diffraction gratings and thin films.
  • discuss the concept of wave-particle duality and solve problems involving the de Broglie wave and the photoelectric effect.
  • describe Bohr’s model of the atom and use it to calculate the energy levels of a single electron and the resulting spectrum lines.
  • demonstrate skills related to performing simple experiments in magnetism and optics, including experimental setup, data acquisition, data analysis, and communication of scientific results.

Lab Component

PHYS 202 includes a compulsory lab component, which comprises six hands-on experiments performed in a place of the student’s choice using lab kit borrowed from Athabasca University Science Lab. The student is expected to provide some additional common household materials. Assessment is based on written lab reports. The PHYS 202 Lab Manual explains the following experiments.

  1. Basic Electricity and Graphing
  2. Magnetic Fields of Solenoids
  3. Earth’s Magnetic Field
  4. Geometric Optics
  5. Polarization of Light
  6. Diffraction of Light
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.)


Final grade is based on marks achieved in two assignments, six lab reports, and two examinations. To receive credit, the student must achieve a minimum of 50 percent on the final examination and on the lab component, and a course composite grade of at least D (50 percent). The following chart describes the credit weight associated with each course requirement.

Activity Weighting
Assignments 20%
Lab Reports 20%
Midterm Exam 20%
Final Exam 40%
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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