PHYS-231: Engineering Physics I

Science, Technology, Engineering & Math
Academic Level
Course Subject
Course Number
Course Title
Engineering Physics I
Credit Hours
Instructor Contact Hours Per Semester
107.00 (for 15-week classes)
Student Contact Hours Per Semester
107.00 (for 15-week classes)
Grading Method
MATH-180 with a C grade or better
Catalog Course Description

Designed to meet the requirements of engineering students and physics majors. Emphasizes relating physical principles to mathematical techniques in problem solving. Covers mechanics, wave motion, and thermodynamics. Four hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory activities per week. NOTE: Recommended co-requisite is MATH-183.

Goals, Topics, and Objectives

Goal Statement

That students appreciate how physical law is central to the description of physical phenomena; and that they understand how to make applications of such law in engineering.

Core Course Topics
  1. Vectors: Addition, Subtraction, and Multiplication
  2. Kinematics of Straight Line Motion
  3. Kinematics of Two-Dimensional Motion
  4. Dynamics of Motion
  5. Momentum and Impulse
  6. Work and Energy
  7. Conservation of Mechanical Energy
  8. Kinematics of Rotational Motion
  9. Dynamics of Rotational Motion
  10. Gravitation and Planetary Motion
  11. Simple Harmonic Motion
Core Course Learning Objectives (Separated)

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Identify whether a quantity is a scalar or a vector.
  2. Perform mathematical manipulation of scalars and vectors.
  3. Describe the motion of an object in both one and two dimensions under various conditions using the correct terminology.
  4. Derive equations for the motion of an object from basic mathematical definitions of quantities.
  5. Identify different forces acting on a system of objects and apply Newton’s Laws to that system.
  6. Relate the concepts of work, kinetic energy, and potential energy to moving objects.
  7. Analyze problems and decide if the conservation of mechanical energy applies.
  8. Relate the concepts of impulse and momentum to colliding objects.
  9. Analyze problems and decide if the conservation of momentum applies.
  10. Describe the rotational motion of an object.
  11. Determine the torque applied to an object.
  12. Analyze problems and decide if the conservation of angular momentum applies.
  13. Rewrite Newton’s Laws to apply to rotation.
  14. Combine different types of motion into a single problem.
  15. Demonstrate how Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation applies to planetary motion.
  16. Describe periodic motion using the correct terminology.
  17. Analyze the periodic motion of a mass on a spring, a simple pendulum, and a physical pendulum.
  18. Predict the outcome of an experiment using current knowledge.
  19. Analyze data through making graphs, and/or calculations.
  20. Design experiments to test predictions.
  21. Determine relationships between variables and draw conclusions from the analysis of data, including regions outside of the taken data.
  22. Predict the outcome of a related experiment using data from an experiment already performed.

Assessment and Requirements

Assessment of Academic Achievement

Student learning will be assessed through classroom examinations including a cumulative final exam. Students will submit a written lab report for each experiment performed. The lab report will be used to determine if the student followed instructions, collected the data correctly, analyzed the data, and was able to draw the correct conclusions from the analysis. Problem solving skills will be evaluated using assigned problems turned in by hand or using an online homework site and on the class exams. Conceptual understanding will be evaluated through classroom discussions and on the class exams.


General Education Categories
  • Natural Sciences
Institutional Outcomes
  • Scientific Reasoning
MTA Categories
  • Category 6.1: Natural Sciences
  • Category 6.2: Natural Sciences with Laboratory Experience

Credit for Prior College-Level Learning

Options for Credit for Prior College-Level Learning
Other Details

A student may receive credit for PHYS-231 by earning either:

  1. A score of 4 or higher on AP Physics C: Mechanics Exam
  2. A score of 5 or higher on the International Baccalaureate-Higher Level (IB-HL) Physics Exam.

Approval Dates

Effective Term
Fall 2019
ILT Approval Date
AALC Approval Date
Curriculum Committee Approval Date