PHYS 225 :: Physics Illinois :: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Course Description

Relativity & Math Applications

Credit: 2 hours.

Prerequisite: Credit or concurrent registration in PHYS 212.

Theory of Special Relativity, with applications to kinematics and dynamics. Key mathematical methods as they apply to aspects of electromagnetic theory and classical mechanics, including vector analysis, series expansions, matrices, Fourier analysis, partial differentiation, three-dimensional calculus, and simple differential equations.

Course Goals

By the end of this course the student will be able to:

Course Components

All students are required to participate in all course components. Credit is granted in each course component. Please register for the course in Gradescope to receive credit (you will need to log in using your NetID). All course components are subject to the Academic Integrity Policy.

Learning Strategy

To effectively learn new material, students need a wide array of experiences. The learning philosophy is intended to help students efficiently process problems in physics by providing the necessary experiences.

The learning philosophy introduces new material in lectures, delves deeply into this material through practice problems and derivations in discusssion, and reinforces the material through more practice problems in homework.

This course covers a large amount of new material. Each concept builds on previous course concepts. Mastery of previous material is essential. This is the student's responsibility. In order to succeed the student must not fall behind!

Component Description

For all components of this course, the Course Attendance Policy explains the tardiness and missed class policies.


Participation is required.

Each lecture will focus on a topic of the day as described in the course schedule. Notes from each lecture will be posted in their complete form on the following day.

You must turn in both one-minute papers to achieve attendance credit.


Weekly two (2) hour discussion sections are required. Students select a discussion section during registration.

Each discussion session will consist of the following:


Homework assignments will be posted on the course schedule page. They are typically assigned on Thursdays and due the following Thursday (with exceptions for midterm week and reading day), and cover material from the lecture and discussion of the week they are assigned. Homework is submitted through Gradescope.

You must work the problems before the Gradescope deadline to receive full credit for the homework.

Homework problems are designed to:

Late Homework Rules:

Bonus Points and Dropped Assignments

More information can be found in the Bonus Points section of the  Course Grading page.

Office Hours

There will be open office hours every week (Wednesday 12:30-3:30pm in Loomis 276) to give students one-on-one assistance if they need more help. These are a great place to get assistance working through difficult topics, figuring out homework questions, or addressing other concerns about the class. You do not need to have a “good” question for office hours – any question where you are working on your understanding is welcome!


The purpose of exams in this course is to assess your mastery of concepts and related problem-solving skills. In physics classes we consider that you have ‘mastered’ a topic when you remember the rules of how a concept or physical phenomenon works and can apply those rules to unfamiliar situations.

You will be assessed in this course using one midterm exam and one final exam. The specific dates are available in the Schedule.

Academic Integrity

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Student Code should also be considered as a part of this syllabus. Students should pay particular attention to Article 1, Part 4: Academic Integrity. Read the Code at the following URL:

Academic dishonesty may result in a failing grade. Every student is expected to review and abide by the Academic Integrity Policy. Ignorance is not an excuse for any academic dishonesty.

It is your responsibility to read this policy to avoid any misunderstanding. Do not hesitate to ask the instructor(s) if you are ever in doubt about what constitutes plagiarism, cheating, or any other breach of academic integrity.

Infractions include, but are not limited to:

Violations of any of these rules will be prosecuted and reported to the student's home college.

All aspects of the course are covered by these rules, including: