PHYS 1203
General Physics II

3.0 Credits


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.

Delivery Method

Print-based and Web-based.


PHYS 1103 and a calculus course (such as MATH 1157, MATH 1171, or MATH 1141). The combination of PHYS 1103 and PHYS 1203, with their corresponding laboratory courses PHYS 1105 and PHYS 1205, provides the equivalent of a full first year of university-level physics.


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  • 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 Outline


  1. Electricity
  2. Electromagnetism
  3. Optics and Light
  4. Atomic and Nuclear Physics

Maximum Completion

30 weeks.

Required Text and Materials

This is a companion course to PHYS 1103. Therefore, the materials package for this course will not include any materials that were required in PHYS 1103 such as:

  1. Raymond A. Serway, Chris Vuille. College Physics. 10th Edition. Cengage Learning, 2015.
    Type: Textbook: ISBN: 978-1-285-73702-7

If you did not take PHYS 1103 and don't already own the required textbook, College Physics 9th edition OR 10th edition, please be aware that you will need to purchase it. To do so, please contact Enrolment Services at or 1.800.663.9711 (toll-free in Canada), 250.852.7000 (Kamloops, BC), and 1.250.852.7000 (International).

The following Student Solutions Manual is required and is included in your course package:

  1. Raymond A. Serway, Chris Vuille. Student Solutions Manual and Study Guide (Vol 2), for Serway/Vuille's College Physics. 10th ed. Vol. 2. Cengage Learning, 2015.
    Type: Study Guide: ISBN 978-1-285-86626-0

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.

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty member is available to assist students. Primary communication is by phone if you are taking the print version of the course and through the Learning Management System's "Mail" tool if you are taking the web version. You will receive the necessary contact information when you start your course.


In order to successfully complete this course, you must obtain at least 50% on the final mandatory examination and 50% overall. Students who do not submit an assignment will be assigned a mark of zero (0) for that assignment. It is recommended that students complete all assignments in order to achieve the learning outcomes of the course.

Assignment 1 8.5%
Assignment 2 11.5%
Assignment 3 11.5%
Assignment 4 8.5%
Final examination * 60%
Total 100%

* Mandatory