Fundamentals Of Physics – phy101 (3 credits)

This course is designed to introduce physics at an entry level by examining the principal laws of physics leading to a conceptual understanding of how these principles relate to everyday life. The topics in this course include Newton's laws, properties of matter, heat and thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, and waves. Students will apply these principles using practical examples, facilitated discussions, and experiments conducted through a virtual laboratory.

This undergraduate-level course is 5 weeks. This course is available to take individually or as part of a degree or certificate program. To enroll, speak with an Enrollment Representative.

Heat and Thermodynamics

  • Explain the laws of thermodynamics and their practical applications.
  • Distinguish between heat and temperature.
  • Explain heat transfer by conduction, convection, radiation, and Newton’s law of cooling.
  • Analyze the relationship between changes of phase and transfer of energy.


  • Explain reflection, refraction, and interference in sound waves and their applications.
  • Explain how the properties of materials affect wave propagation.
  • Explain reflection, refraction, interference, and diffraction in light waves and their applications.
  • Describe the properties and types of waves.

Electricity and Magnetism

  • Explain the concept of electric charge and potential, and Coulomb’s law.
  • Solve series and parallel circuit problems.
  • Describe magnetism, magnetic forces and electromagnets.
  • Determine the applications of electromagnetic induction.
  • Summarize the value of the scientific investigation process through usage of the scientific method.

Mechanics: Newton’s Laws of Motion, Momentum, Energies, and Gravity

  • Apply Newton’s three laws of motion to objects with position, motion, and forces.
  • Describe momentum, kinetic and potential energies, and conservation of energy and momentum.
  • Describe how simple machines work in terms of force, distance, and mechanical advantage.
  • Explain the universal law of gravitation and its relationship to the force of gravity on Earth and in our solar system.

Properties of Matter

  • Describe the states and properties of matter.
  • Explain the atomic nature of matter including models of the atom.
  • Determine the relationship between gases and atmospheric pressure.
  • Compare plasma to an ideal gas.

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