PHYL 160: Foundations of Physical and Chemical Sciences

Foundations of Physical and Chemical Sciences course
Course in Physical and Life Sciences
Course Description:

How do microscopic particles and invisible forces interact to form the world we experience daily? This course serves as an introduction to the physical and chemical sciences and introduces students to how microscopic particles and their properties, motions, and behaviors manifest in macroscopic realities. In this course, students gain exposure to topics in physics such as motion, force, energy, heat, and electromagnetism. Students are introduced to the topics in chemistry of the periodic table, properties of molecules, chemical reactions, and phases of matter. The rules that govern energy and matter transformations are also explored. Students discover examples of how the physical laws of the universe apply to everyday realities like cooking, energy consumption in homes, materials used in daily life, exercise, and stargazing.   

PREREQUISITES:  This course requires algebraic manipulations, graphical analysis, and unit conversions. Either MTHS 200, MTHS 100, or another equivalent Foundational Requirement in Quantitative Reasoning is required as a pre-requisite to registering for PHYL 160.   

Foundations of Physical and Chemical Sciences is a required course for students pursuing a BAAS degree with a concentration in Physical and Life Sciences. The course also fulfills the Scientific Process foundational course requirement for students in the BAAS program who are pursuing other concentrations.

Course Credits:
1 course unit (c.u.)*
Term Format:
Accelerated 8-Week Term
2021 Term Offered:
Spring 2 (accelerated): Mar 15 – May 11, 2021
2022 Term Offered:
Spring 2 (accelerated): Mar 14 – May 10, 2022
Either MTHS 100, MTHS 200, or another equivalent Foundational Requirement in Quantitative Reasoning is required as a prerequisite
Course Block:
BAAS Foundational Requirement:
Scientific Process
Gateway Category:
Scientific Process

*Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs and is the basic unit of progress toward a degree. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.


  • Instructor

M. Ruth Elliott is currently a lecturer in biochemistry for the College of Liberal and Professional Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She worked as a research technician and lab manager in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania with Dr. Susan R. Weiss for nine years, where she… Read more

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