Classical Mechanics

Science & Technology
Course Code
PHYS 2211
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
A course in classical mechanics covering kinematics, dynamics, calculus of variations including Lagrange's equations, non-inertial reference frames, central forces and orbits, rigid body motion, and Hamiltonian mechanics.
Course Content
  1. Newtonian mechanics
  2. Conservation of momentum and angular momentum
  3. Conservation of energy
  4. Two-body problems: Central forces and gravitation
  5. Rotational motion of rigid bodies
  6. Mechanics in non-inertial reference frames
  7. Oscillators and coupled oscillators
  8. Lagrangian mechanics
  9. Hamiltonian mechanics
Methods Of Instruction

The classes will be a mixture of short lectures, with in class solution of selected word problems.  There might be an on-line component.  

Means of Assessment

Evaluation wil be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy.  The instructor will present a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria at the beginning of the semester.  Evaluation will be based on some of the following criteria

  1. Assignments/Group work some of which might be on-line        0-25%
  2. Tests  (maximum of 40% for each test as per college policy)   35-70%
  3. Attendance                                                                          0-5%
  4. Final exam                                                                          30-40%
Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, the students will demonstrate an understanding of the following concepts, procedures and principles of mechanics through the solution of problems related to and or using:

  • Newton's laws of motion: mass, force, inertial versus non-inertial reference frames
  • Vectors and vector-valued functions in two- and three-dimensions: Cartesian, Polar, Cylindrical and Spherical coordinates systems
  • Projectile motion with linear and quadratic drag
  • Motion of a charged particle in a magnetic field
  • Conservation of momentum and angular momentum, centre of mass, moment of inertia
  • Conservation of energy: kinetic energy and work, potential energy, potentials and conservative forces
  • Two body central force problems: central forces, Kepler's laws, equations of motion, equations of orbits  
  • Oscillations: Hooke's Law, Simple Harmonic Motion, driven damped oscillations, resonance
  • Coupled Oscillators: equations of motion and matrix notation, normal modes
  • Rotational motion of rigid bodies: total momentum, angular momentum, kinetic energy and potential energy of the centre of mass
  • Mechanics in non-inertial reference frames: Newton's Laws in rotating and non-rotating frames, centrifugal forces, Coriolis force, Tides and the Foucault pendulum
  • Lagrangian mechanics: review of calculus of variations, Euler-Lagrange equations, Lagrange's equations of motion, Hamilton's principle, generalized coordinates (optional), Lagrange multipliers and constraints, Symmetries and Conservation Laws,  Noether's Theorem (optional)
  • Hamiltonian mechanics: the Hamiltonian, Hamilton's equations of motion 
Textbook Materials

Please consult the Douglas College Bookstore for current required text.  The exact textbook and materials will be chosen by the instructor when the course is offered, but will be similar to

Classical Mechanics by John R. Taylor (current edition) published by University Science Books, USA. ISBN 1-891-389-22-X 


Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for PHYS 2211
Alexander College (ALEX) ALEX PHYS 2XX (3)
Athabasca University (AU) AU PHYS 3XX (3)
Capilano University (CAPU) CAPU PHYS 222 (3)
College of New Caledonia (CNC) CNC PHYS 2XX (3)
College of the Rockies (COTR) COTR PHYS 201 (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU PHYS 2030 (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG PHYS 2323 (3)
North Island College (NIC) NIC PHY 1XX (3)
Northern Lights College (NLC) No credit
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU PHYS 211 (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU PHYS 220 (3)
University Canada West (UCW) UCW PHYS 2XX (3)
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO PHYS 216 (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV PHYS 216 (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV PHYS 221 (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV PHYS 221 (4)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC PHYS 2XX (1.5)
Vancouver Community College (VCC) VCC PHYS 2XXX (3)
Vancouver Community College (VCC) No credit
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU PHYS 2nd (3)

Course Offerings

Fall 2022