PSCI-131: Introduction to Physical Science

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
Physical Sciences
Physical Science
Academic Level
Course Subject
Physical Science
Course Number
Course Title
Introduction to Physical Science
Credit Hours
Instructor Contact Hours Per Semester
77.00 (for 15-week classes)
Student Contact Hours Per Semester
77.00 (for 15-week classes)
Grading Method
Catalog Course Description

Topics explored include physics, chemistry, astronomy, meteorology, and geology. Non-science majors have an opportunity to better understand and appreciate the interaction between energy and matter in nature. Laboratory experiences are designed to improve scientific interest and to develop confidence in dealing with science.

Goals, Topics, and Objectives

Goal Statement

While developing the major topics of physical science, the overall goals are to help non-science majors understand and appreciate the interaction of energy and matter in nature, to help students improve their scientific understanding, and to develop confidence in their interpretation and reaction to scientific issues affecting the world.

Core Course Topics
  1. History of Astronomy
  2. The Earth-Moon System
  3. The Solar System
  4. Spectroscopy
  5. Telescopes
  6. The Sun
  7. Stellar Birth, Evolution, and Death
  8. Minerals
  9. Rocks
  10. Plate Tectonics
  11. The Ocean Floor
  12. Ocean Water
  13. Ocean Currents
  14. Tides
  15. Waves
  16. Ocean Life
  17. The Atmosphere
  18. Relative and Absolute Humidity
  19. Condensation Altitude
  20. Cloud Formation and Cloud Types
  21. Wind
  22. High and Low Air Pressure
  23. Cyclones and Anticyclones
  24. Air Mass Characteristics
  25. Frontal Boundaries
  26. Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, and Hurricanes
Core Course Learning Objectives (Separated)

The learner will:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of Earth and celestial systems
  2. Categorize various types of information using logic and reasoning
  3. Apply scientific concepts learned in one context of the course to other course topics
  4. Analyze data on specific components of Earth systems, e.g. oceans
  5. Interpret the likelihood of various outcomes given a particular set of initial conditions
  6. Interpret the meaning of visually-presented scientific information (e.g. graphs and charts)
  7. Exhibit professionalism and safe laboratory behavior

Assessment and Requirements

Assessment of Academic Achievement

Student achievement will be assessed using exams, laboratory assignments, quizzes, and take-home reading assignments.

General Course Requirements and Recommendations

This is a four (4) credit course with three (3) hours of lecture and two (2) hours of laboratory per week. A student is expected to attend all class sections. Attendance is taken by the instructor.


General Education Categories
  • Natural Sciences
Institutional Outcomes
  • Scientific Reasoning
MTA Categories
  • Category 6: Natural Sciences (Lecture and Lab)
Satisfies Wellness Requirement
Effective Term
Fall 2019