Questions about Physics requirements

EGR 191-194 for Engineers
Physics 108
PHY 108 before PHY 101 / MCAT Prep
PHY 109-110 for Premeds
Summer Physics?
AP + Physics Requirements


EGR 191 - 194 for Engineers

Question:  I am an Engineering student. Right now I'm in the integrated introduction to Engineering, Math, and Physics. I just want to make sure that what I've heard is true, that the integrated course will fulfill my requirements for Physics for medical school.

Answer: EGR 191-192 will satisfy the PHY 103 and Math requirements for medical school. For detailed information, go to the Integrated Introduction to Engineering, Mathematics, Physics (EMP) page of the Keller Center website.  We have a half dozen or so engineers applying to medical school each year, and they do quite well.  Welcome to SEAS!

Physics 108

Question: Dear HPA – There’s a new course being offered called PHY 108, Physics for the Life Sciences. I have 2 credits of AP in Physics. I know you recommend one advanced course for premed requirements. Can I take this course to supplement my AP credit?

Answer: Many medical schools are either moving away from prerequisites all together (like Penn, USC, and UVA). Others will accept AP credit in Physics without any supplementary courses (including Stanford, UCSF, Emory, Johns Hopkins, Wash U, Mount Sinai, NYU, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson, Cornell, Case Western, and Pitt). We have also emailed schools that require supplementary courses or who state that they do not accept AP credit - we heard back from Dartmouth, UCLA, and Vanderbilt, all of whom were satisfied that PHY 108 would satisfy their requirements. Feel free to stop by HPA to look through our list of schools’ AP policies. In general, though, if you have AP credit, this should be an excellent course if you’d like additional preparation for medical school and the Physics portion of the MCAT. It may preclude you from applying to a couple of schools, but you’ll still be able to craft a strong school list. We do encourage you to double-check the AP policies for your public state schools, as we do for every course prerequisite issue. For students who don’t have AP credit, most medical schools require two semesters of physics with lab. Starting in 2016, PHY 108 is offered with a lab, so you can take PHY 101/108 or PHY 103/108. If you have one credit of AP, now that PHY 108 has a lab, it's fine to take the course to supplement the single credit. 

PHY 108 before PHY 101 and MCAT Preparation 

Question: I'm a MOL major so I only need PHY 108 for my major, but since I'm premed I know I need a second semester. Do I need to take PHY 101 before I take PHY 108, or can I do PHY 108 in the spring and PHY 101 in the following fall? Is it okay to take MCAT without taking PHY 101?

Answer: Since PHY 108 stands alone, there is no need to take PHY 101 beforehand. Either order is fine. As for MCAT prep, none of the Princeton PHY courses lines up exactly to the MCAT, so you'll need to do some self-study. Use the MCAT content guide and talk to older students for their perspective on how much MCAT Physics content is covered by each course. 

PHY109-110 for Premeds

Dear HPA: I’m BSE and I’m thinking about taking PHY 109 and PHY 110 and PDF’ing PHY 103. Will this be okay for premed?
We cannot promise that every medical school in the country will accept this combination since you will ultimately have only one semester of Physics with lab taken for a grade. But, we would share information about the sequence with medical schools, explaining that you have completed the equivalent of our PHY 103/104 sequence in a manner that satisfies your major requirements and we expect that most medical schools will be willing to accept this. You are encouraged to investigate the physics prerequisites on the websites at schools of interest – if you aren’t sure if the courses would meet their prerequisites, send us a URL and we can look into it. If we aren’t sure, we’ll work with you to contact the school directly to ask about their policies.  

Taking Physics This Summer

Question:  Hello, I met with an adviser last week and discussed the possibility of taking the physics requirements over the summer, so that I can take the MCAT either at the end of the summer or early next year.  I know that PHY 101-102 satisfies the pre-med requirement.  My understanding is that these are not calculus-based, since calculus wasn't listed as a prerequisite, but I'm not positive.  I looked into the course guide and it was ambiguous. When I am registering for summer courses, is it OK to choose the Physics without calculus?  Secondly, is either option substantially better than the other (calc-based or not); will it make much difference?

Answer:  You may take the Physics that is not calculus-based.  The calculus-based Physics is not necessary for the MCAT.  You could be taking Physics next year, however.  People currently have premed requirements "in progress" when they take the MCAT, and now that the computerized MCAT is offered in April as well as several dates in May, your Physics would be almost finished at the time of the test (you're studying on your own outside of class anyway).  Plus, the Physics material would be fresher in your mind at the time your did the MCAT.  Medical schools prefer that the premed requirements, including Physics, be fulfilled on one's home campus during the regular school year, in conjunction with a full courseload. 

AP in Physics

Question: I have a course-related question for you. I know that students who have taken AP Chemistry in high school can place out of general chemistry at Princeton and go directly to Orgo, usually as a sophomore. What about AP Physics? If a student has taken the AP Physics exams and done well, can they simply not take Physics in college? Alternatively, would AP credit just allow a student to take an upper-level course? Thanks.

Answer: While some medical schools will accept the AP credit on its own, many will strongly recommend or require that you supplement any AP with advanced courses. If Princeton granted you 2 units of Advanced Placement, then we strongly recommend that you take one semester that builds on your Physics foundation to satisfy medical schools’ requirements. You do not need to repeat introductory Physics by taking 101-102 or 103-104. Possible course selections include PHY 108, AST 204 (Astronomy), CHM 305 (The Quantum World), or CHM 306 (Physical Chemistry). For courses listed that are not taught through the Physics Department, content includes sufficient Physics. BSE students might not take courses that specifically list a Physics prerequisite; in this case, we recommend that they consult with BSE advisers to determine which of their courses build on introductory Physics in case medical schools question their preparation. Also, please note for those students with AP in Chemistry, you’re not done after taking Orgo and Biochem; we advise you to take a more advanced Chemistry course after Orgo and Biochem, just one term.