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# Lower division undergraduate physics course structure

This page gives information on the course structure for lower division undergraduate physics, primarily comprising:

The information on this page has been conducted based on a broad survey of college physics programs, Quora answers about physics majors, and other sources of personal and anecdotal evidence.

## Some example university course structures

Examples of some universities are below. This list is intended only to give a general idea of how different physics departments structure their lower division physics requirements. *It is not intended as a substitute to gathering information about a specific university's policy*. Information here is not kept up to date.

**THE TABLE BELOW IS FOR MATHEMATICS, NEEDS TO BE EDITED TO A PHYSICS TABLE**

University | Quarter or semester system? | Regular single-variable sequence | Regular sequence for multivariable calculus and linear algebra | Honors route |
---|---|---|---|---|

Princeton University | Semester | 103-104 (optionally take 102 instead of the sequence) | 201-202 (multivariable calculus and linear algebra for scientists) or 175 (multivariable calculus and linear algebra for social scientists) | No honors substitute for 103-104 (but it can be placed out of) 203-204 is an "honors" replacement of 201-202, targeting at physicists and applied math people; 214-215 is the recommended option for people interested in theoretical mathematics (See here) |

University of Chicago (here, here) | Quarter | 151, 152, 153 | 195, 196 (social science majors) 200, 201 (physical science majors) |
Single-variable calculus: 161-163 (Honors Calculus) (placement through on-campus placement test) Multivariable calculus and linear algebra: take a bridge course (Math 199), then the analysis sequence. |

Stanford University (here and here) | Quarter | 19-21, 41-42 | 51, 52, 53 (encouraged starting point for people with AP AB 5 or BC 4 or 5 credit) | Honors version 51H-53H available for 51-53 sequence (placement into honors version requires instructor consent or AP BC 5) |

Harvard University | Semester | 1a and 1b | 18 (social sciences) 19a and 19b (life sciences) 21a and 21b (physical sciences) |
No specifically demarcated honors versions, though mathematics majors generally take 21a and 21b. |

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) | Semester | 18.01 | 18.02 (multivariable calculus), 18.03 (differential equations), 18.04 (linear algebra) | 18.024, the "Calculus with Theory" course |

University of California, Berkeley (here, here) | Semester | 1A and 1B | 53 and 54 | Honors versions of the courses 1B onward. However, these are offered sporadically, and there is no predefined guideline on how these differ from the regular sequence. |

University of Michigan (here, here, and here) | Semester | 115 and 116 | 215, 217, 316 | 185, 186 (there are also other options) |