Chemistry, math, & physics
For most subjects, you can determine from the course numbering the preferred sequence. For Chemistry, Math, and Physics, the course numbering is more complex and different sequences are intended for different kinds of study.
Physics
There are four introductory physics pathways:
- PHYS 110 - Liberal Arts Physics
- PHYS 114, 115, 116 – General Physics
- PHYS 121, 122, 123 - Mechanics, Electromagnetism, and Waves, Light, and Heat
- PHYS 141,142,143 - Honors Mechanics, Honors Electromagnetism, and Honors Waves, Light and Heat
Students take one of these pathways. Credit is allowed for only one of the PHYS 114, PHYS 121, and PHYS 141 sequences.
What physics course should I take?
- PHYS 110 is taken by non-science students who want a one-quarter "liberal arts" introduction to physics. Students planning on science majors should not take PHYS 110.
- Students planning on biological majors and premed students usually take the PHYS 114 series.
- Students planning on engineering, computer science, or physical science majors take the PHYS 121 series.
- Pre-science students with strong backgrounds in high school math, chemistry, and physics should consider the PHYS 141 series
Prerequisites
PHYS 114 has no prerequisite, although college algebra (MATH 120) and high school physics are recommended; students who didn't take a year of high school physics can take a remedial high school physics course at any community college. You must take PHYS 114 before 115, and 115 before 116.
The prerequisite to PHYS 121 is the first quarter of college calculus (MATH 124, 134, or 145), which may be taken concurrently. In other words, you can take PHYS 121 and MATH 124 in the same quarter. High school physics is also recommended. The prerequisites to PHYS 122 are PHYS 121 and the second quarter of calculus (which may be concurrent). The prerequisites to PHYS 123 are PHYS 122 and the third quarter of calculus (which may be concurrent).
The prerequisite to PHYS 141 is either a minimum grade of 2.5 in the first quarter of college calculus MATH 124, or MATH 134, which may be taken concurrently. In other words, you can take PHYS 141 and MATH 134 in the same quarter. High school physics is also recommended. The prerequisites to PHYS 142 are a minimum grade of 2.5 in PHYS 141 and the second quarter of calculus MATH 125 or MATH 134 (both of which may be concurrent). The prerequisites to PHYS 143 are a minimum grade of 2.5 in PHYS 142 and the third quarter of calculus MATH 126 or MATH 135 (both of which may be concurrent).
No high school physics?
The UW doesn't offer an introductory course for students who didn't have high school physics. This generally isn't a problem with the PHYS 114 sequence, which is usually taken in the student's third or fourth year of college. By this time your coursework in college chemistry and math will more than make up for the lack of high school physics.
Students who didn't have high school physics should take at least the first quarter of chemistry (CHEM 142 or 145) before taking PHYS 121 or PHYS 141. It also helps to start college calculus at least one quarter before starting the PHYS 121 or PHYS 141 sequences, so that calculus concepts are well mastered before you need them in the PHYS 121 or PHYS 141 sequences.
Physics labs
PHYS 114, 115, 116 is a lecture series. The accompanying one-credit laboratory courses are PHYS 117, 118, 119. Majors that require the PHYS 114 sequence may or may not require the labs. The labs are recommended for students planning on applying to professional schools, including medicine, dentistry, and veterinary medicine.
PHYS 121, 122, 123 or PHYS 141,142,143 is a combination lecture/lab series. Unlike most lecture/lab courses, in this physics sequence you must register separately for one lecture, one quiz/tutorial section, and one lab section. In the Time Schedule, lectures will be indicated by a single letter (e.g., A, B, C, D); quiz/tutorial sections will be indicated by two letters (e.g., AA, AB, BA, BB) and the QZ designation; and lab sections will be indicated by two letters or a letter and a number (e.g., AY, AZ, A1, A2) and the LB designation.
Physics lab courses require a separate lab fee, which will be included in your tuition bill.
Mathematics
The basic beginning college math sequences at the UW are MATH 111, 112 and MATH 120, 124. Math Guided Self-Placement (GSP) is encouraged for those who want to enroll in MATH 111, MATH 120, or MATH 124 or complete the noncredit algebra review course, MATH 098.
All the math courses required by UW majors, except the non-credit review course MATH 098, require either a prerequisite college math course or a passing score on a math placement test.
intermediate algebra |
college algebra/ precalculus |
calculus | ||
---|---|---|---|---|
MATH 098 | MATH 111 | MATH 112 | ||
MATH 098 | MATH 120 | MATH 124, 125, 126 other calculus options |
MATH 098
Math 098 is only offered at Washington State Community Colleges. If you wish to take an equivalent Math 098 course, please check the UW Equivalency Guide for the appropriate equivalent course
Crossing between pathways
You can't cross over between sequences. MATH 111 can't be used as a prerequisite to MATH 120 or 124, and MATH 120 can't be used as a prerequisite to MATH 112.
MATH 111, 112
The MATH 111, 112 pathway is taken mainly by pre-business students. It's a "terminal" sequence, meaning that it doesn't lead into higher-level math courses. The MATH 111, 112 sequence is accepted by UW programs that require only one quarter of calculus, including business, and microbiology.
If your math placement test score is high enough, you can skip MATH 098 and start with MATH 111. You can't skip MATH 111 — you must take MATH 111 before MATH 112.
Crossing between pathways
You can't cross over between sequences. MATH 111 can't be used as a prerequisite to MATH 120 or 124, and MATH 120 can't be used as a prerequisite to MATH 112.
MATH 120, 124
The MATH 120, 124 pathway is taken mainly by students interested in science and engineering majors, and students preparing for professional programs such as medical, dental, or veterinary school.
MATH 124 is the first quarter of a year of calculus: MATH 124, 125, 126. If your math placement test score is high enough, you can skip MATH 098 and start with MATH 120, or skip MATH 120 and start with MATH 124.
If you are considering some majors that require MATH 124 and other majors that accept MATH 112, you should take MATH 124. Some science majors require only one or two quarters of calculus; if you're planning on a science major but haven't decided which one yet, we recommend that you complete the whole year of calculus. This keeps all your options open.
Crossing between pathways
You can't cross over between sequences. MATH 111 can't be used as a prerequisite to MATH 120 or 124, and MATH 120 can't be used as a prerequisite to MATH 112.
UW offers several options to the MATH 124 sequence. See calculus options, below.
Calculus options
MATH 111/112, 124, 125, 126 is one of four different calculus sequences offered by the UW. All require at least MATH 120 or a passing placement test score. All majors that require MATH 124, 125, 126 (or any part of the sequence) will also accept the MATH 134H sequence. Check the requirements of the majors you are considering to see if the Q SCI 291 sequence would be a good option for you.
MATH 124, 125, 126 - Calculus with Analytic Geometry
An introduction to single- and multivariable calculus, with emphasis on modeling and word problems. Recommended for students interested in engineering, computer science, physical science, and biological science majors. More information is available at the math department's home page.
Q SCI 291, 292, 293 - Analysis for Biologists
Introductory calculus sequence with an emphasis on biological problems, particularly in ecology. Recommended for biological science majors, particularly programs in Forest Resources and Fisheries. More information is available from the Center for Quantitative Science.
MATH 134, 135, 136 - Accelerated (Honors) Calculus
Appropriate for students with strong enthusiasm and talent for mathematics. More information is available at the math department's home page. Admission by special permission only; contact the mathematics adviser. MATH 134H is offered in autumn quarter only.
Prerequisites
There are two special points about math prerequisites:
- Not only must you take the prerequisite course, but you must achieve a minimum grade. This grade, usually 2.0 or 2.5, is indicated in the Course Descriptions.
- Because you register for next quarter before you've finished this quarter's classes, you're allowed to register for the next course in the sequence while you have the prerequisite in progress. If you don't complete the prerequisite with the required grade, however, your registration in the next course will be cancelled.
Example: You must achieve at least a 2.5 grade in MATH 120 to continue on to MATH 124. If you register to take MATH 120 in autumn quarter you'll be allowed to register for MATH 124 for winter quarter, but if you receive a grade of 2.1 in MATH 120 your registration in MATH 124 will be cancelled and you'll be removed from the course. You must repeat MATH 120 and earn a higher grade (or pass the placement test, see below) to qualify to take MATH 124 in a later quarter.
Chemistry
There are five introductory chemistry pathways:
- CHEM 110 - Preperation for General Chemistry
- CHEM 120 - Principles of Chemistry
- CHEM 142, 152, 162 - General Chemistry
- CHEM 143, 153
- CHEM 145, 155, 165 - Honors General Chemistry
See the Chemistry website for descriptions of these sequences and information on what sequence is best for you.
Organic chemistry sequences
At the UW, you take organic chemistry (if required by your major) after you take introductory chemistry. There are four organic chemistry pathways:
- CHEM 220 – Introduction to Organic Chemistry
- CHEM 223, 224 – Organic Chemistry, Short Program
- CHEM 237, 238, 239 – Organic Chemistry
- CHEM 335, 336, 337 – Honors Organic Chemistry
Students take one of these pathways. Credit is not allowed for both CHEM 220 and 223, or both CHEM 223 and 237, etc.
Unlike introductory chemistry, the organic chemistry courses are not offered every quarter. CHEM 220 is usually offered winter quarter, and the next course in the series, CHEM 221, is usually offered only spring quarter.
CHEM 223, 224 is an autumn, winter sequence. It is also offered intensively in summer quarter, CHEM 223 in the first half of the summer and 224 in the second half.
CHEM 237, 238, and 239 are offered most (but not all) quarters.
The CHEM 335 sequences starts only in autumn quarter.
See the Chemistry website for descriptions of these sequences and information on what sequence is best for you.
Prerequisites
There are two special points about chemistry prerequisites:
- Not only must you take the prerequisite course, but you must achieve a minimum grade of 1.7.
- Because you register for next quarter before you've finished this quarter's classes, you're allowed to register for the next course in the sequence while you have the prerequisite in progress. If you don't complete the prerequisite with the required grade, however, your registration in the next course will be cancelled.
Example: You must achieve at least a 1.7 grade in CHEM 142 to continue on to CHEM 152. If you register to take CHEM 142 in autumn quarter you'll be allowed to register for CHEM 152 in winter quarter, but if you receive a grade of 1.2 in CHEM 142 your registration in CHEM 152 will be cancelled and you'll be removed from the course. You must repeat CHEM 142 and earn a higher grade to qualify to take CHEM 152 in a later quarter.
Chemistry labs
CHEM 120, 220, 221, and the CHEM 142 and 145 sequences all include both a lecture and a laboratory in each course. Each schedule line number in the time schedule corresponds to one lecture/lab combination.
The labs that accompany the CHEM 223, 237, and 335 sequences, however, are separate courses. Some majors require the labs and some don't, although almost all majors at least recommend the labs. The prerequisite to the labs is the first quarter of the lecture series, so the labs are generally taken with the second and third quarters of lecture. Students taking the CHEM 223 and 237 sequences take the labs 241 and 242. Student taking the honors 335 sequence usually take the honors labs 346 and 347. CHEM 241 and 242 are offered most (but not all) quarters, and are available evenings in winter and spring quarters. CHEM 346 and 347 are offered only in winter and spring quarters.