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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

PHYS 1203: General Physics II

This course is an introduction to electricity and magnetism, optics, and modern physics at a first-year university level.

PHYS 1205, the laboratory component of PHYS 1203, is usually offered once per year in the summertime in Kamloops BC.

Learning outcomes

  • Describe the relationships that hold for electricity and magnetism and the interactions between them.
  • Apply Coulomb's Law, Faraday's Law, Ohm's Law, Kirchhoff's rules and Lenz's Law to solve problems in electromagnetism.
  • Calculate current, potentials, resistances, and electromotive forces for simple AC and DC circuits.
  • Describe the magnetic fields, forces, and potentials involved in the interaction of point charges and of currents.
  • Describe how devices such as inductors, capacitors, resistors, and measurement devices such as ammeters, ohmmeters, and galvanometers are used.
  • Understand the principles of geometrical optics and physical optics.
  • State and apply the laws of reflection and refraction and the Fresnel-Huygens Principle to problems involving optics and lenses.
  • Solve problems using the lens-mirror equations.
  • Describe Young's two slit experiment and the diffraction grating and understand its rele-vance to the wave theory of light.
  • Discuss the dual nature of light with reference to diffraction, interference, and polarization.
  • Explain the physics principles behind the workings of a camera, simple magnifier, the human eye, a microscope, and a telescope.
  • Understand the principle of relativity as it is applied to particles moving at close to the speed of light.
  • Discuss the relationship between the Bohr quantum condition and the de Broglie wave picture.
  • Understand the terms used in describing radioactivity, such as neutrino, radioactive series, decay constant, activity, half-life.
  • Solve problems involving half-life and the decay constant.
  • Complete equations for nuclear processes and solve problems related to radiation doses and radiation exposure.

Course topics

  • Unit 1: Electricity
  • Unit 2: Electromagnetism
  • Unit 3: Optics and Light
  • Unit 4: Atomic and Nuclear Physics

Required text and materials

The following materials are required for this course:

  1. Serway, R.A., & Vuille, C. (2018) College Physics. 11th edition, Vol. 2. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN: 978-1-305-96552-2

Additional requirements

A scientific calculator capable of scientific notation (10x), logarithms, ex, yx and trigonometric functions including inverse functions. The calculator must be capable of working in radians as well as degrees. You will also need a set of simple drawing instruments (i.e. ruler, protractor).

Note: For the final exam you will only be allowed to use a non-programmable scientific calculator.


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve 50% or higher on the course overall, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory examination.

Note: The final exam for this course is only available as a in-person exam and must be taken at an approved Testing Centre. Please email with any questions.

Assignment 1: Electricity 12%
Assignment 2: Electromagnetism 13%
Assignment 3: Optics and Light 13%
Assignment 4: Atomic and Nuclear Physics 12%
Final Examination (mandatory) 50%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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