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Some of the most popular majors like engineering and biological sciences require Physics 1 and Physics 2. If you're an engineering or physical sciences student, you'll have to take PHYS161 and PHYS260. If you're in biological sciences, you'll be taking PHYS131 and PHYS132.

Physics for engineering and physical sciences

If you're an engineering, chemistry, or earth sciences major, you'll probably be taking PHYS161 in your first few semesters at UMD. You may also have the option to take PHYS171 instead, but beware that this course is designed for physics majors and is considerably more difficult than PHYS161.

Either way, these are calculus-based courses that have a prerequisite of MATH140, and a co-requisite of MATH141. If you struggled to get through calculus 1, then PHYS161 will be a significant challenge as it builds heavily on the content of MATH140. In fact, even with a mastery of calculus 1 and 2, calculus-based physics is difficult because it also brings in concepts from vector calculus (calc 3, MATH241) and linear algebra (MATH240).

If your major doesn't require a calculus-based physics course, we highly recommend avoiding PHYS161 and PHYS171!

General physics and physics for life sciences

The non-calculus based introductory physics courses include PHYS121, and for life sciences, PHYS131. These courses are more approachable than PHYS161 and PHYS171 because they don't require a mastery of calculus. However they still involve plenty of math, including some concepts from trigonometry and vector algebra!

If you're not a fan of math, and your major doesn't require a physics course at all, you're probably best off avoiding these classes as well.

Physics courses we tutor at UMD

PHYS 121
Fundamentals of Physics 1
PHYS 122
Fundamentals of Physics 2
PHYS 131
Fundamentals of Physics for Life Sciences 1
PHYS 132
Fundamentals of Physics for Life Sciences 2
PHYS 161
General Physics: Mechanics and Particle Dynamics
PHYS 165
Introduction to Programming for the Physical Sciences
PHYS 171
Introductory Physics: Mechanics and Relativity
PHYS 174
Physics Lab Introduction
PHYS 260
General Physics: Waves, Heat, and Electricity
PHYS 261
General Physics: Vibrations, Waves, Heat, Electricity and Magnetism (Laboratory)
PHYS 270
Electrodynamics, Light, Relativity & Modern Physics
PHYS 271
Electrodynamics, Light, Relativity & Modern Physics (Lab)
PHYS 272
Introductory Physics: Fields
PHYS 273
Introductory Physics: Waves
PHYS 371
Modern Physics
PHYS 411
Intermediate Electricity and Magnetism