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Physics for Life Sciences I

Course Code: PHYS 1108
Faculty: Science & Technology
Department: Physics
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Hybrid
Typically Offered: Winter
course overview

This is a physics course for life sciences students. All the topics covered will be illustrated with applications takes from the life sciences. Topics will include force and motion, conservation of energy, conservation of momentum, conservation of angular momentum, fluids, waves, properties of soft matter and thermal physics.

Course Content

Course Content

  1. Review of linear kinematics and dynamics
  2. Friction and viscous drag; drag forces in cells
  3. Work and energy; mechanical work in the cell
  4. Rotational dynamics; flagellar torques
  5. Problem-solving in statics
  6. Oscillations; standing and traveling waves
  7. Wave power; human hearing
  8. Introduction to fluids; buoyancy
  9. Fluid flow and viscosity
  10. Random walks; diffusion; macromolecular sizes
  11. Kinetic theory of gases
  12. Properties of materials, including cell components
  13. Introductory thermodynamics

Methods of Instruction


Emphasis on small group work and in-class assignments.  

Some assignments may be done on-line. 

Means of Assessment

Assignments        10 - 20%

     On-line assignments are an option

Midterm              15 - 25%
Quizzes               10 - 30%
Final Exam          30 - 40%

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course the student will demonstrate their ability to solve problems involving life science applications in 

  1. force and motion
  2. conservation of energy
  3. conservation of momentum
  4. conservation of angular momentum
  5. fluids
  6. waves
  7. properties of soft matter
  8. thermal physics

course prerequisites

BC Physics 12 with a grade of C or better or Douglas PHYS 1104 or equivalent


MATH 1120 and

BIOL 1103 or BIOL 1109 or BIOL 1110 or BIOL 1210 or equivalent 



curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.