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Classical Mechanics

Course Code: PHYS 2211
Faculty: Science & Technology
Department: Physics
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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 

course prerequisites

PHYS 1210 and 

MATH 1220 (Calculus II) and

MATH 2232 (Linear Algebra) and 

MATH 2421 (Differential Equations)


MATH 2321 (Calculus III)

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.