• Course Introduction

        • Time: 33 hours
        • Free Certificate
        Physics is the branch of science that explores the physical nature of matter and energy. Physicists examine the story behind our universe, which includes the study of mechanics, heat, light, radiation, sound, electricity, magnetism, and the structure of atoms. They study the events and interactions that occur among the elementary particles that comprise our material universe.

        In this course, we study the physics of motion from the ground up – learning the basic principles of physical laws and their application to the behavior of objects. Classical mechanics studies statics, kinematics (motion), dynamics (forces), energy, and momentum developed prior to 1900 from the physics of Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton. We encourage you to supplement what you learn here with the Saylor course PHYS102 Introduction to Electromagnetism.

        Since mathematics is the language of physics, you should be familiar with high-school-level algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. We will develop the small amount of additional math and calculus you need to succeed during the course.

        • Course Syllabus

          First, read the course syllabus. Then, enroll in the course by clicking "Enroll me". Click Unit 1 to read its introduction and learning outcomes. You will then see the learning materials and instructions on how to use them.

        • Unit 1: Introduction to Physics

          First, let's gain a basic understanding of the language and analytical techniques that are specific to physics. This unit presents a brief outline of physics, measurement units and scientific notation, significant figures, and measurement conversions.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 2 hours.

        • Unit 2: Kinematics in a Straight Line

          We begin our formal study of physics with an examination of kinematics, the branch of mechanics that studies motion. The word "kinematics" comes from a Greek term that means "motion". Note that kinematics is not concerned with what causes the object to move or to change course. We will look at these considerations later in the course. In this unit, we examine the simplest type of motion, which is motion along a straight line or in one dimension.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.

        • Unit 3: Kinematics in Two Dimensions

          Most motion in nature follows curved paths rather than straight lines. Motion along a curved path on a flat surface or a plane is two-dimensional and thus described by two-dimensional kinematics. Two-dimensional kinematics is a simple extension of the one-dimensional kinematics covered in the previous unit. This simple extension will allow us to apply physics to many more situations and it will also yield unexpected insights into nature.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.

        • Unit 4: Dynamics

          Kinematics is the study of motion. It describes the way objects move, their velocity, and their acceleration. Dynamics consider the forces that affect the motion of moving objects. Newton's Laws of Motion are the foundation of classical dynamics. These laws provide examples of the breadth and simplicity of principles under which nature functions.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 8 hours.

        • Unit 5: Rotational Kinematics

          Now that we have discussed forces and how they manipulate motion, we will begin exploring a particular force that makes objects move in a curved motion. In this unit, we study the simplest form of curved motion: uniform circular motion, or motion in a circular path at a constant speed. In some ways, this unit is a continuation of the previous unit on dynamics, but we will introduce new concepts such as angular velocity and acceleration, centripetal force, and the force of gravity.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 3 hours.

        • Unit 6: Rotational Statics and Dynamics

          What do desks, bridges, buildings, trees, and mountains have in common – at least in the eyes of a physicist? The answer is that they are ordinarily motionless relative to the Earth. Consequently, their acceleration, with respect to the Earth as a frame of reference, is zero. Newton's second law states that net F = ma, so the net external force is zero on all stationary objects and for all objects moving at constant velocity. There are forces acting, but they are balanced. That is, the forces are in equilibrium.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 1 hour.

        • Unit 7: Work and Energy

          Energy describes the capacity of a physical system to perform work. It plays an essential role in everyday events and scientific phenomena. You can probably name many forms of energy: from the energy our food provides us, to the energy that runs our cars, to the sunlight that warms us on the beach. Not only does energy have many interesting forms, but it is involved in almost all phenomena and is one of the most important concepts of physics.

          Energy can change forms, but it cannot appear from nothing or disappear without a trace. Thus, energy is one of a handful of physical quantities that we say is conserved.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.

        • Unit 8: Momentum and Collisions

          We use the term momentum in various ways in everyday language. For example, we often speak of sports teams gaining and maintaining the momentum to win. Generally, momentum implies a tendency to continue on course (to move in the same direction) and is associated with mass and velocity. Momentum has its most important application when analyzing collision problems. Like energy, it is important because it is conserved. Only a few physical quantities are conserved in nature, and studying them yields fundamental insight into how nature works, as we shall see during our study of momentum.

          Completing this unit should take you approximately 4 hours.

        • Study Guide

          These study guides will help you get ready for the final exam. They discuss the key topics in each unit, walk through the learning outcomes, and list important vocabulary terms. They are not meant to replace the course materials!

        • Course Feedback Survey

          Please take a few minutes to give us feedback about this course. We appreciate your feedback, whether you completed the whole course or even just a few resources. Your feedback will help us make our courses better, and we use your feedback each time we make updates to our courses.

          If you come across any urgent problems, email contact@saylor.org.

        • Certificate Final Exam

          Take this exam if you want to earn a free Course Completion Certificate.

          To receive a free Course Completion Certificate, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on this final exam. Your grade for the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt.

          Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.

        • Saylor Direct Credit

          Take this exam if you want to earn college credit for this course. This course is eligible for college credit through Saylor Academy's Saylor Direct Credit Program.

          The Saylor Direct Credit Final Exam requires a proctoring fee of $5. To pass this course and earn a Credly Badge and official transcript, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on the Saylor Direct Credit Final Exam. Your grade for this exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can take it again a maximum of 3 times, with a 14-day waiting period between each attempt.

          We are partnering with SmarterProctoring to help make the proctoring fee more affordable. We will be recording you, your screen, and the audio in your room during the exam. This is an automated proctoring service, but no decisions are automated; recordings are only viewed by our staff with the purpose of making sure it is you taking the exam and verifying any questions about exam integrity. We understand that there are challenges with learning at home - we won't invalidate your exam just because your child ran into the room!


          1. Desktop Computer
          2. Chrome (v74+)
          3. Webcam + Microphone
          4. 1mbps+ Internet Connection

          Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a Credly Badge and can request an official transcript.