FAQs: Introductory Courses
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- In deciding between two (or more) courses with different levels of difficulty, how can I be sure that I sign up for the right one?
- I want to take three science courses (among Math, Physics, Chem, Bio, EngSci, CompSci, Astro, etc.) in my first semester. Is this advisable?
- What are the physics requirements for my concentration?
- I took a college physics course somewhere other than at Harvard. Does it count for my concentration?
- I did very well in my high school physics course, but it was a number of years ago so I’m a bit rusty. Which course should I take?
- Which multivariable math course will help me more in my physics courses, Math 21 or something higher?
- I am planning on taking math at the 21 level. Should I take the Math or Applied Math version?
SPECIFIC QUESTIONS ABOUT THE INTRODUCTORY PHYSICS COURSES (PHYSICAL SCIENCES 2/3 and 12A/B, PHYSICS 15A/B/C, 16):
- Which of PS2, PS12a, 15a, or 16 should I take?
- Which physics courses satisfy the premed requirements?
- When do students take normally PS2/3, PS12a/b, 15a/b/c, and 16?
- Can I switch from one of the PS2/3, PS12, 15, and 16 courses to another after a few weeks if the difficulty isn’t right?
- What benefits do I get from having taken an AP physics course in high school?
- I reached a very high level of math in high school (and did very well in it), but I had only a weak physics course (or none at all). If I am interested in physics now, which physics course should I take?
- What level of math is needed for PS2/3 and 12a/b?
- What level of math is needed for 15a and 16?
- What level of math is needed for 15b?
- Can I take PS12b after taking Phys 15a?
- PS12a and Phys 15a seem to cover many of the same topics as a high school AP mechanics class. Does that mean I’ll be bored in them?
- Is it ok to postpone Phys 15a to freshman spring or later?
- Do I need a certain Harvard physics placement-test score or a certain AP score to get into Physics 16?
- Should I take Phys 15a or Phys 16?
- Is the workload for the Math 55/Phys 16 and the Math 25/Phys 16 combinations manageable?
- Can I take Phys 15b before (or concurrently with) Phys 15a? And likewise for Phys 15c/15b, and for 143a/15c?
GENERAL QUESTIONS RELATED TO PHYSICS COURSES:
We hope that you find these FAQs helpful. But if you would
like some more personal advice, don't hesitate to email us
or stop by our office hours:
(Head Tutor) Howard Georgi: email, office hours
(Assistant Head Tutor) David Morin: email, office hours
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