Skip to main content

Additional Information on Introductory Course Sequences

PHYS 1501 and 1502

The 1501/1502 sequence is a calculus-based introduction to physics taught within the context of life science applications.  Students enroll separately in the accompanying laboratory classes (1501L/1502L).

Students taking 1501/1502 are strongly encouraged to enroll in the laboratory courses (1501L/2L) designed to accompany those lecture courses. 

In exceptional circumstances, however, a student may take an unmatched laboratory + lecture (e.g., 1501 + 1601L) and receive AXLE credit for the MNS laboratory science requirement.  Students who must mix-and-match the laboratory and lecture courses should consult with their advisor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies for Physics & Astronomy before doing so.  Pre-health-profession students who must mix-and-match will still receive strong preparation in physics that is more than adequate for their intended futures.

PHYS 1601 and 1602

The 1601/1602 sequence is a calculus-based introduction to general physics and its applications intended for students in the natural sciences and engineering. Students enroll separately in the accompanying laboratory classes (1601L/1602L).

Students taking 1601/1602 are strongly encouraged to enroll in the laboratory courses (1601L/1602L) designed to accompany those lecture courses.

In exceptional circumstances, however, a student may take an unmatched laboratory + lecture (e.g., 1501 + 1601L) and receive AXLE credit for the MNS laboratory science requirement.  Students who must mix-and-match the laboratory and lecture courses should consult with their advisor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies for Physics & Astronomy before doing so.  Pre-health-profession students who must mix-and-match will still receive strong preparation in physics that is more than adequate for their intended futures.

PHYS 1911 and 1912

The 1911/1912 sequence is an intensive, calculus-based introduction to general physics and its applications intended for students planning to major in physics. Students taking 1911 (Fall semester, only) should plan to take the first-semester lab (1912L) in the Spring semester.  Students taking 1912 (Spring semester, only) should plan to take the second-semester lab (2255L) in the third semester (Fall).  Physics majors will then take a third semester lab (2953L) in the fourth semester. 

Regarding calculus and the 1911/1912 sequence: Students who studied calculus in high school but who did not receive AP credit for Calculus from Vanderbilt may still take 1911 with permission of the Director of Undergraduate Studies of Physics and Astronomy.  Students in this situation could consult with the DUS to determine whether they have a strong enough mathematical background to take these courses.  Note, however, that 1912 assumes students are taking multi-variable calculus (MATH 2300), so a student who begins in 1911 and in MATH 1300 probably should then take 1602 in the Spring, along with MATH 1301. This student can then continue in the third semester with PHYS 2255 and MATH 2300.

PHYS 1010

PHYS 1010 is a one-semester, algebra-based introductory physics course designed for non-science majors.  It is not adequate as preparation for an;y of the pre-heatlh professions (medical, dental, physical therapy).  Vanderbilt students seeking a full-year of algebra-trigonometry-based physics as preparation for a career in one of the health professions will need to take that coursework in the summer at another university.

PHYS 2051 and 2053

Students who take a rigorous algebra-trigonometry-based physics sequence may transfer those credits to Vanderbilt. The first semester (PHYS 2051) of such a sequence should cover the topical areas of mechanics, heat, and sound. The second semester (PHYS 2053) of such a sequence should cover the topical areas of electricity & magnetism optics, and modern physics.  The first semester lab would transfer as PHYS 2052  and the second semester lab would transfer as PHYS 2054.

Note: these courses (2051, 2052, 2053, 2054) are not taught at Vanderbilt. These course numbers are used only for transfer credit for the coursework as described herein.