Starting Physics in the College

Initial placement in the appropriate level of Physics is essential to student success in science, engineering and many other fields.

Credit will be granted to students who achieve a score of 5 on the appropriate Advanced Placement (A.P.) exam. Students may also receive credit based on their performance on the A-level, International Baccalaureate or other centrally administered examinations.

A student who has A.P. credit for the equivalent Physics course and who wishes to enroll in introductory-level mechanics, PHYS 0008, 0101, 0140, 0150, 0170 or electricity and magnetism, PHYS 0009, 0102, 0141, 0151, 0171 at Penn must ask their advisor to remove the A.P. credit from their transcript.

Potential Physics majors with advanced placement credits are strongly encouraged to take the Honors Physics sequence PHYS 0170/0171.

For more information and guidance on choosing the right Physics course and other STEM courses based on placement, high school background and current interests, see our Entering the STEM Fields at Penn interactive tool or PDF infographic (accessible).