PHY 231-232 Changes to PHY 241-242

Changes are coming this Fall 2022. Physics 231 and Physics 232 will no longer be offered. They will be replaced by Physics 241 and Physics 242.

So what is new and what stays the same?

The curriculum and transferability remain. In fact, Physics 241 and Physics 242 align better with our transfer partners.

The difference is that they will appear as 4-credit classes each and will cost you less. If you plan to transfer out-of-state to an institution that requires you 10-credits of physics, you might have to take Physics 243 to make up for the missing hours.

For all other students who need 8 credits of physics, Physics 241 and Physics 242 will be sufficient.

Just because the new format is 4 credits, do not expect to work less! The contact hours remain at 6 just as for Physics 231 and Physics 232. The difference is that one lecture hour dedicated to problem solving in Physics 231/232 is being changed to one hour of lab work.

Given that problem solving is the hardest skill for students to master, brace yourself for a lot of individual work on your own. Or, enroll in a class taught by an instructor who offers help with problem solving in and outside class.

Learn From Past Students

At the end of last semester, I asked the students in my Physics 231 what would have they done differently at the beginning of the class if they could. I wanted them to share their thoughts so that future students can benefit. Here is what I got.

Question. If you could have a do-over, what would you have done differently at the beginning of our class?

Physics 231 Student Answers:

  • Did the lab more carefully
  • I would have accessed the class notes and started watching the videos a whole lot sooner.
  • Paid more attention to the syllabus because I wasn’t aware quizzes were on a P/F grading scale based on getting 60% or higher.
  • Complete Assignment early as possible.
  • Other than applying my self to the class a little more, I don’t think I’d do anything differently.
  • Turn in my assignments on time.
  • If I could start over, I would have done my assignments on time and ask a lot of questions.
  • I would pay more attention to the details and making sure to get everything on the first couple of labs.
  • If I could have a do over, I would be less scared about the weekly quizzes and focus more on the exams and more of whether I understand the topic.
  • the problem is my lab i will (reserve) more time for that
  • Keep up with all the assignments

And here is what PHY 232 students had to say to the same question:

  • Ask questions when I’m lost
  • Take notes regularly. Practice Socrative questions again before test.
  • Actually bought a multimeter and not tried to use my own.
  • Try to make more friends and use the break out rooms wiser. I think that there was progress here and there but in the end I did not make full use of it.
  • Made appointments with the professor and asked more questions.

Virginia Space Grant Scholarships & Fellowships for 2017-2018

The Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC) is pleased to announce the 2017 -2018 Scholarship and Fellowship Program.  Please share this announcement with anyone you believe may be eligible or interested.
1)     The Undergraduate STEM Research Scholarship Program provides a one-year scholarship of up to $8,500 to support undergraduate students actively engaged in faculty-mentored research of interest to NASA. Contact:  757-766-5210. 
2)       The Graduate STEM Research Fellowship Program provides $6,000 in support to graduate students actively engaged in a faculty-mentored research project of interest to NASA.  The Fellowship is renewable for one year. Contact: Contact: 757-766-5210.
3)      The STEM Bridge Scholarship Program provides $1,000 renewable awards to sophomore students from any federally recognized minority group enrolled full-time in a program of study in STEM at one of the five Virginia Space Grant member universities. Contact: Dr. Tysha Sanford, Education Programs Manager at, 757-766-5210.

NASA Community College Research Experiences for Summer 2017

Virginia community college sophomores can once again apply for paid NASA research experiences through the Virginia Space Grant Consortium’s (VSGC) STEM Takes Flight Build-Fly-Learn NASA Research Experiences for Virginia’s Community College Students program. The VSGC and the Virginia Community College System in partnership with NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore anticipate offering at least 23, ten-week, paid, summer research experiences for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) majors. The research experience takes place during the summer of 2017. This is the program’s third year.

Students selected to participate in Stem Takes Flight NASA Research Experiences will work directly with NASA research advisors on diverse projects for NASA Langley Research Center’s Research and Engineering Directorates and NASA Wallops Flight Facility. Students will be selected for projects such as wind tunnel experiments/data analysis, small satellite hardware development, unmanned aerial systems, and environmental and water quality projects and more.

The STEM Takes Flight NASA Research Experience provides students with real-world, hands-on learning experiences while exposing them to the wide range of STEM career options at NASA. Past participants have expressed how much this opportunity has broadened their skills and encouraged them to take career paths they had not considered.

Qualified applicants are undergraduate STEM majors, including those pursuing technician degrees, who are at least a rising sophomore and not graduating prior to May or June of 2017. They must be a US Citizen, at least 18 years of age, and a full or part-time student taking a minimum of 6-9 credit hours. Selected students will receive a $5,000 stipend. Assistance in locating safe affordable housing is provided upon request.

The application deadline is February 10, 2017. Learn more and apply online at