PHYS 1203: General Physics II

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


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

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

Required text and materials

  1. Serway, R.A., & Vuille, C. (2018) College Physics. 11th edition, Vol. 2. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
    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.


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

Assignment 1: Electricity 8.5%
Assignment 2: Electromagnetism 11.5%
Assignment 3: Optics and Light 11.5%
Assignment 4: Atomic and Nuclear Physics 8.5%
Final Examination * 60%
Total 100%

* Mandatory

Open Learning Faculty Member

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 Environment’s “Mail” tool if you are taking the online version. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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