Physics 099 FAQs

 Physics 099 FAQs

Send your questions to Tom McElmurry or Dan Watson.

I took algebra, geometry and trigonometry in high school.  Why should I have to take PHY 99?

A large fraction of the students who wish to major in engineering or physical science are not sufficiently fluent in these basic fields of mathematics to succeed in introductory physics classes, even after taking high-school math. We have found this lack of mastery to be too big to fix within PHY 121/121P, without having to leave out many physics topics necessary in subsequent engineering and science courses.

The main idea of PHY 99 is to figure out which students are in this large fraction, and get them the help they need to achieve sufficient basic-math mastery, before they start PHY 121/121P. It's not a barrier to entry to PHY 121/121P, or to majoring in engineering or science; it's a way to make sure you'll succeed once you get there.

Some have had enough practice; these students will pass the Basic Math Assessment (BMA) on the first day of PHY 99 and be done with the class. The rest will do much better in PHY 121/121P and 122/122P after the practice and instruction they will get in PHY 99, on their way to passing subsequent BMAs.

I placed into PHY 141, which I intend to take this (Fall) semester. Must I take PHY 99 too?

No. PHY 99 is a prerequisite for PHY 121/121P, not PHY 141 or PHY 113.
I have AP credit for PHY 121 and will take PHY 122 next year. Do I need to take PHY 99?

Yes. The prerequisite for PHY 122/122P is the equivalent of UR's PHY 121/121P, which implies passing PHY 99 or one of its equivalents, EAS 101-105.

I took MTH 161, 162, 164 and 165 and got good grades. Do I still need to take PHY 99?

Yes, if you intend to take PHY 121/121P, and did not take one of EAS 101-105.

I am a freshman Biomedical Engineering major. Isn't there a way for me to be excused from PHY 99, since I have no room to add it before I have to take PHY 121?

In general, engineering majors do not take PHY 99. EAS 101-105 are acceptable substitutes for PHY 99, as a prerequisite for PHY 121/121P. If, for example, your 19 credits include EAS 101, Introduction to biomedical engineering, and you successfully complete EAS 101 this semester, you are all set.

I signed a contract to attend a math preparation workshop this semester, that covers algebra and trig like PHY 99. Do I still need to take PHY 99?

Yes. The only acceptable substitutes for PHY 99 are EAS 101-105, which have PHY 99-like practice and mastery-assessment built in.