Study Physics at Inver Hills Community College, one of the Twin Cities' premier two-year colleges

One of the oldest academic disciplines, physics is the study of matter and its relationships with space, time, energy and force. Simply put, physicists analyze nature to understand how the universe works.


Contact Information

Scott Johnson
Physics Instructor

Admissions Team
College Center

Physics courses at Inver Hills cover descriptions of physics and astronomy as well as algebra, trigonometry and calculus based on the study of physics. Topics you will explore in your physics courses include:

  • Our solar system
  • Galaxies
  • Cosmology
  • Motion
  • Heat
  • Sound
  • Gravity
  • Electricity
  • Magnetism
  • Light
  • Mechanics
  • Fluids
  • And much more...

Physics has often emerged as the science of breakthroughs that led to major technological advances that in turn contributed trillions of dollars to the global economy. The work of physicists, including mind-boggling investigations of quantum mechanics, brought about the development of lasers, telecommunications, television, computers, domestic appliances, nuclear power, industrialization, the World Wide Web and even calculus. The American theoretical physicist, Brian Greene, known for his work on string theory, seemed to put the wonder of physics in perspective when he said, "Assessing existence while failing to embrace the insights of modern physics would be like wrestling in the dark with an unknown opponent."

Course Descriptions

PHYS 1020  Descriptive Astronomy   3.0 cr

Course Outline for PHYS 1020

Surveys the major areas of astronomy, including planets, the sun, the moon, galaxies, and cosmology. Activities include sky observations and laboratory work.

PHYS 1030  Descriptive Physics   4.0 cr

Course Outline for PHYS 1030

Explores topics in motion, heat, sound, electricity, magnetism, light, and nuclear physics. PHYS1030 emphasizes concepts, basic laws, and applications of physics. For students with no physics background who do not plan to concentrate their study in science. PHYS 1030 assumes only a basic understanding of math. Prerequisites: MATH 0640 or placement into MATH 0820 or higher.

PHYS 1041  Algebra & Trig Based Physics I   4.0 cr

Course Outline for PHYS 1041

Explores topics in motion, mechanics, fluids, and oscillations. This course relies on algebra and trigonometry to explain these physics concepts and solve problems related to them. Prerequisites: Courses in trigonometry and higher algebra or concurrent enrollment in MATH 1119.

PHYS 1042  Algebra & Trig Based Physics II   4.0 cr

Course Outline for PHYS 1042

Explores topics in electricity and magnetism, circuits, waves, light, and optics. This course relies on algebra and trigonometry to explain these physics concepts and solve problems related to them. PHYS 1042 is a continuation of PHYS 1041. Prereq: PHYS 1041 and MATH 1119 or MATH 1127.

PHYS 1081  Calculus Based Physics I   5.0 cr

Course Outline for PHYS 1081

Explores motion, mechanics, fluids, oscillations, thermodynamics and heat. Physics 1081 is the first part of a two-semester sequence. Prerequisite: MATH 1133 or concurrent enrollment.

PHYS 1082  Calculus Based Physics II   5.0 cr

Course Outline for PHYS 1082

Explores topics in electricity and magnetism, light and optics. This course is a continuation of Physics 1081. Prerequisites: PHYS 1081 and MATH 1133.

Meet the Faculty

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Education Credentials

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Employment Information

Employment opportunities for physicists and professionals in the physical sciences are found at government agencies, research institutes and industry. The latter includes petroleum, natural gas, construction and mining companies as well as environmental management and consulting firms.

Abilities you'll develop while studying physics at Inver Hills

  • Think critically using logic and reasoning to identify complex issues
  • Solve problems using mathematics and scientific methods
  • Effectively convey information orally and in writing
  • Actively listen, comprehend and employ powerful learning strategies
  • Apply sound judgment and decision-making skills
  • Manage your time
  • Analyze, monitor and evaluate systems and operations

Potential jobs in physics fields

The physical sciences offer career opportunities for many types of physicists. Starting your physics career at Inver Hills will open doors to a range of career areas, including:

Additional resources

Why Inver Hills?

Completing your physics obligations at Inver Hills is smart on several key levels:

  1. You will receive an excellent education with one-on-one interactions with physics faculty
  2. You will get hands-on experience through lab exercises and classroom presentations
  3. You will save money and continue your academic and professional careers with less student debt *

* On a national scale, student loan debt has mushroomed to $1.2 trillion, which is greater than credit card debt and auto loan debt combined. In Minnesota, the average debt for four-year grads tops $30,000; 70 percent carry a student debt load.

Tuition and fees for one year at Inver Hills costs a little less than $5,300. Compare that to $15,000 to $20,000 at a for-profit college, or $40,000 to $50,000 at a private college or university. You can complete your first two years at Inver getting a topflight education firsthand from Ph.D. instructors and then transfer to a four-year as a junior all while saving thousands of dollars. It's a no-brainer.

Scholarship opportunity

A3 Ag: Aspire. Accelerate. Advance.

Inver Hills is offering three $1,000 scholarships for motivated students interested in pursuing a career in agriculture. If you think ag science is all cows and plows, think again. Modern agriculture is focused on achieving the best results in nutrition, ecology and economics. Rewarding jobs are abundant in the fields of food systems, renewable energy and the environment with nowhere near the number of qualified college graduates needed to fill them. To learn more, visit Agricultural Sciences Career Pipeline Scholarship.

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