The Department of Physics offers three sequences of introductory calculus-based courses designed to meet the needs of different majors. The first course in each sequence focuses on "mechanics" which concerns the physical laws that govern the motion of point particles and of rigid macroscopic objects, with some related material on waves, oscillations, thermodynamics, and fluid dynamics. The second course in each sequence concerns electrical and magnetic phenomenon with some material on properties of light (interference, diffraction, lenses, and mirrors). All course sequences have a required laboratory and recitation. Each sequence covers similar topics but with different emphases for different groups.
Each sequence fulfills the requirements for physics and biophysics majors (although PHYSICS 161D/161L and 162D/162L are the recommended courses for potential majors), each satisfies the prerequisite physics requirements for majors other than physics and biophysics, and each fulfills the introductory physics requirements for professional and graduate schools.