Course Syllabus

Phy2054Course Syllabus

Course Details

Course Instructors

Your Instructor:

Dustin Tracy

The office hour schedule and contact information for your instructor can be found using the "Office hours & contacts" link in the left menu.

Communication with the instructor: Only messages through the official course e-Learning mail tool are guaranteed a response. Your instructor receive tons of spam e-mails at their ufl accounts so direct e-mails there have a very high likelihood of being missed.  If you have to e-mail the instructor directly (e.g. because you cannot access Canvas), you MUST send the e-mail from your Gator-link account (it is how we know you are who you say you are) and PHY2054 MUST appear in the subject line.

Meet Times

This course will meet on MTWR at 1:55 PM in room TUL 2303.

Office Hours: TR at 12:50 in LEI 428.


The course is run through Canvas. The web site for the course is accessed through UF e-Learning.

This site will contain important announcements, posted lectures, homework solutions, answers to taken exams, and course grades


The required text (e-book) is College Physics: A Strategic Approach by Knight, Jones, and Field (4e).

Suggested supplementary textbooks include:

  • College Physics: Openstax by Paul Urone and Roger Hinrichs
  • University Physics with Modern Physics by Young and Freedman (13e)
  •  Sterling Test Prep MCAT Physics Practice Questions (2019)


High school algebra and trigonometry, or the equivalent. Physics 1 from either PHY2053, PHY2048, or PHY2060.


PHY2054 - Physics 2 is the second semester of Physics without calculus, covering electrostatics, electric current, electric circuits and their components, magnetism, induction, electromagnetic waves, optics, optical devices, interference, and diffraction. It is typically, but not exclusively, taken by biological sciences majors and pre-professional students, i.e., those planning careers in health care, optometry, pharmacy, etc. It is not a suitable course for physics, chemistry or engineering majors, who are encouraged to take PHY2049 (Physics 2 with calculus) or PHY2061 (enriched Physics 2 with calculus), both of which offer similar material but with more mathematical emphasis.


By the end of this course, you will have a solid foundation in the concepts, principles, terminology, and methodologies used to describe electromagnetic fields and optics. Specifically, you will be able to:

  • Analyze particular physical situations, and thus identify the fundamental principles pertinent to those situations,
  • Apply fundamental principles to formulate mathematical equations describing the relationship between physical quantities in these particular situations,
  • Solve mathematical equations to find the values of physical quantities,
  • Communicate unambiguously both the principles that apply to a situation and the results of specific calculations resulting from the steps above.


Course Schedule

The detailed course schedule, including the topics covered and exam dates, is available on the Course Schedule page.


Your grade is determined by your performance on the following in-class and out-of-class components: 4 exams, weekly quizzes, homework,  and in-class participation. The points these components contribute to the total grade is shown in the following table:

Item Percentage


Highest of Exams 1,2, and 3 20 0%
2nd Highest of Exams 1,2,3 20 0%
3rd Highest of Exams 1,2,3 15


Final 20 0%
Quizzes 10 10%
Participation 10 10%
Homework 5 20%
Total Course Points 100 NA

Grading Scale

Your course grade will not be assigned based on a curve, but will be based on the following 100-point fixed scale:

A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D D- E
85 80 75 70 65 60 55 50 45 40 35 <35

The advantage of the fixed scale is that you are not competing with other students to “get ahead of the curve”. Everyone who works hard can do well in the class, and to the extent that it helps you learn, we encourage collaboration.

Note: A grade of C- is not a qualifying grade for major, minor, Gen Ed, or College Basic distribution credit. For further information on UF's Grading Policy, see:

Unconditional Forgiveness Factor

A combination of planned and unforeseen factors may cause you to miss some classes or discussion sections, additionally, it is likely for most of us to have a bad day or week (for any number of reasons) during the semester.  To accommodate this reality, we use a "forgiveness factor" as a "make-up" policy to accommodate circumstances that may arise throughout the semester that may hinder your performance in the online HW, the quizzes, and class participation. The forgiveness factors are given in the table above. They are calculated at the end of the semester and mean that you can miss the stated percentage of work associated with that component, but still score 100% of the credit for it.  For example, with 64pts available for quizzes and 10% forgiveness, a student with 50pts would have earned 50/(64-6.4) = 86.8% for the quiz portion of their grade. A student cannot earn greater than 100%. There are 52pts available for participation, so a student can miss up to 5 days without loss of participation points. Excused absences will be forgiven beyond the 5 days but will fill the student's unconditional forgiveness factor. Examples: A student with 5 excused absences and no unexcused would not be penalized. A student who misses 1 day unexcused and 8 days excused would be penalized 1pt. A student who misses 2 days unexcused and 4 days excused, will be penalized (6-5.2) = 0.8pts. The order of the absences does not matter. 


There are three during-term evening exams and 1 final exam. The lowest of the first three exams will be 15% of your grade. All other exams will be 20%. There is no further forgiveness factor for exams. Exam 1 is currently scheduled for Monday, September 23rd, and will cover chapters 20 to 22, inclusive. Exam 2 is on Monday, October 28th, and will cover chapters 23 to 26.3, inclusive. Exam 3 is scheduled for Wednesday, December 4th and will consist of the topics covered through the rest of the class. The final will be fully commutative.  The exact times and locations will be given about a week in advance. The dates are liable to change with full consent of the class.

 If you are on either the vet or med school track you should be aware that the GRE, required for Veterinary programs, provides their own simple calculators, while the MCAT does not permit calculators at all. In this class, calculators for exams are permitted but not for quizzesPrivate formula sheets are not allowed. Use of either constitutes academic fraud. Scratch paper and an official formula sheet for the exam will be provided.

In addition to the regular exam dates, there will also be conflict exam dates, to be announced as soon as we have the information.  A student who will miss an exam due to an exam conflict or any other foreseeable reason that is approved under UF attendance policies should request in advance to take the conflict exam instead of the regular exam. A student who has an unforeseeable absence from an exam should contact the instructor as soon as possible, normally within 24 hours after the missed exam. If the unforeseeable absence is excused by the instructor, the student will be expected to take the conflict exam unless they have another exam conflict or reason that is approved under UF attendance policies. The conflict exam will cover the same essential subject matter as the regular exam and in a similar format, although the exams will not be identical.


Daily written homework sets will be given on each day of class and will be due at the beginning of the next class. There is a forgiveness factor of 20% for the written homework sets. Additional to the written homework set, assigned problems from your textbook are provided by the schedule. Quizzes are based around the assigned problems in the schedule.

You should follow appropriate practices of academic honesty when working on the homework problems. Discussions with colleagues and/or tutors about methods of posing and solving a homework problem are acceptable and encouraged. Using a formula that is specific to the problem, derived by someone else to input answers is considered cheating. Even if you worked through a formula with classmates, you will still benefit from re-deriving the result on your own. Some of the exam and quiz questions will be based on the homework problems, and you will not have the opportunity to get help from anyone else during those tests. Treat the homework as practice for the exams and quizzes: derive, on your own, any result that you submit. 


Quizzes start on the second week of class, Monday, August 26th. A quiz will usually be administered during the first 20 minutes of the Monday classes on weeks without an exam. Quiz dates are provided in the schedule.

The quizzes will test how well you have learned the concepts and methods of the assigned homework problems. The quiz questions will be related to, but rarely identical to, the assigned textbook problem set. The problems may be restructured to provide guidance, allow awarding of partial credit, and discourage memorization of a solution formula.

Each quiz will have 8 pts and will contain at least 2 problems. You are expected to do the problems on your own, without a calculator or formula sheet, similar to what you would expect on a standardized exam such as the MCAT or PCAT.

Make-up quizzes are permitted provided you have a valid documented excuse (e.g. doctors excuse for illness, official UF sanctioned event).  Submit requests through the Makeup Quiz Request module in Canvas.  The make-up quiz must be taken within 3 weeks of the missed quiz (not within 3 weeks of the request for approval of the makeup). There will be no make-up quizzes given after August 8, 2019.  You have until Friday, December 6th, 2019 to request any re-grade or to question any grade discrepancy pertaining to the quizzes. The quiz portion of the course will count for 10% of the total grade. There is a 10% forgiveness factor for the quizzes


You are expected to attend all classes. 1pt will be given for participation every class starting October 26th, 2019, for a total of 52pts and 10% of the course grade. Participation requires involvement, and the use of wireless devices without explicit permission will result in the forfeiting of these points. There is a 10% forgiveness factor for participation

How to succeed in this course

For tips and suggestions on how to approach this class and the appropriate amount of work required to master the topics we'll be covering see the page: How To Study For PHY2054


UF Policies

Attendance Policy

Please consult the official University Policy for Attendance, linked from the UF Registrar’s web site.

Academic Honesty

The UF Honor Code applies to all aspects of this course. It is required that you report any possible infractions to your instructor immediately.

Violations of the UF Honor Code, including any identified online homework related academic fraud, will be processed to the full extent of the Honor Code. If the Dean of Students Office confirms a first violation, the automatic minimum penalty will be a failing grade in the course. Otherwise, the student will be referred to the Director of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution. According to the Honor Code, a student who receives a course grade penalty is not permitted to withdraw from the course.

All University of Florida students are required to abide by the University's Academic Honesty Guidelines and by the Honor Code:

The Honor Pledge

We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity by abiding by the Honor Code. On all work submitted for credit by students at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied:

"On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment."

Full documentation about the honor code can be found at the following link:

Accommodating Students With Disabilities

Please message me ASAP to set up an appointment to hand in your letter (described below) and discuss your needs.

Students requesting classroom accommodation for disabilities must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation in printed format to the instructor when requesting an accommodation. You will need electronic ATR forms for exams and for quizzes. Accommodations are not retroactive, therefore, students should contact the office as soon as possible in the term for which they are seeking accommodations.

More information about the Disabilities Resource Center can be found at

Other Information

Outside Help Services

The Teaching Center in Broward Hall (tel. 392-2010) offers a range of free services, including individual tutoring in physics.

Counseling and Mental Health Resources

Students facing difficulties completing the course or who are in need of counseling or urgent help should call the on-campus Counseling and Wellness Center  (352-392-1575;

Online Course Evaluation Process

Students are expected to provide professional and respectful feedback on the quality of instruction in this course by completing course evaluations online via GatorEvals. Guidance on how to give feedback in a professional and respectful manner is available at Students will be notified when the evaluation period opens and can complete evaluations through the email they receive from GatorEvals, in their Canvas course menu under GatorEvals, or via Summaries of course evaluation results are available to students at

Course Summary:

Date Details