PHYSICS 102 : Basic Concepts of Physics


2021 Semester One (1213) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

An introduction to the basic principles of physics. Key topics are the physical description of motion, electricity and magnetism. The course focuses on the science of everyday phenomena and the understanding of important physical concepts. This course will equip students with little prior knowledge of physics to succeed in PHYSICS 120 or 160.

Course Overview

An introduction to the basic principles of physics that will equip students with little prior knowledge of physics to succeed in PHYSICS 120 (for students looking to embark on a Physics major/minor) or PHYSICS 160.

This course is algebra based with an emphasis on regular mathematical problem solving. NCEA Level 2 Mathematics or equivalent is recommended for sufficient preparation.

Key topics are the physical description of motion, waves, optics, electricity and magnetism. The course focuses on the science of everyday phenomena, the understanding of important physical concepts and their application.

This course includes weekly tutorials to assist students in mathematical problem solving and with assignment problems. These form an important part of increasing your skill and confidence in applying your knowledge to solving physics problems.

Tutorials will involve individual and group based problem solving.

Course Requirements

Restriction: PHYSICS 103

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Apply the laws of physics taught in this course to algebra based problems (Capability 3)
  2. Apply specific skills and methods used in physics to solve problems (Capability 1)
  3. Explain the science of everyday phenomena using important physical concepts (Capability 4)
  4. Contribute to group-based problem solving and experimental work (Capability 2 and 4)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 35% Individual Coursework
Test 15% Individual Test
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4
Final Exam


Weekly Tuākana sessions take place throughout the semester to support our Māori and Pacific students. These spaces offer small-group learning, whakawhanaungatanga, wānanga, fonotaga, face-to-face meetings and workshops. They are supported by dedicated staff and meeting spaces.

See Canvas for Details.

Key Topics

  • Kinematics, Projectile Motion, Newton's Laws and Applications (pulleys, inclined planes), Torque and Static Equilibrium, Hooke's Law, Simple Harmonic Motion, Conservation of Momentum, Work and Conservation of Energy.
Waves and Optics:
  • Mathematical Description of Waves, Superposition, Wave Intensity, Phase, Electromagnetic Waves, Standing Waves, Doppler Effect, Diffraction, Young's Interference, Reflection, Refraction, Snell's Law, Total Internal Reflection, Dispersion, Geometric Optics, Images in: Curved Mirrors, Single and Multiple Lens Systems.
Electricity and Magnetism:
  • Coulomb's Law, Electric Fields, Electric Potential, Current, Resistance, Electric Power, Circuits, Kirchhoff's Laws, Electromagnetism, Faraday's Law and Lenz's Law.

Special Requirements


Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 3 hours of lectures, a 1 hour tutorial, 3 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 3 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is expected at scheduled activities including tutorials to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including tutorials will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events including tutorials.
Attendance on campus is required for the exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

This course uses the free digital textbook:
College Physics (Openstax)

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Other Information


Digital Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Level 1:  Delivered normally on campus.
Level 2: You will not be required to attend in person.  All teaching and assessment will have a remote option.  The following activities will also have an on campus / in person option: Lectures, tutorials, office hours.
Level 3 / 4: All teaching activities and assessments are delivered remotely.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course you may be asked to submit your coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 05/12/2020 05:54 p.m.