This course ordinarily forms the second part of the college sequence that serves as the foundation in physics for students majoring in the physical sciences or engineering. The sequence is parallel to or preceded by mathematics courses that include calculus. Methods of calculus are used wherever appropriate in formulating physical principles and in applying them to physical problems. Strong emphasis is placed on solving a variety of challenging problems, some requiring calculus. Of course the subject matter of the AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism course is principally electricity and magnetism, some colleges and universities include additional topics such as wave motion, thermal physics, optics, alternating current circuits, or special relativity in this type of second semester course. Although wave motion, optics, and thermal physics are usually the most commonly included, there is little uniformity among such offerings, and these topics are not included in the AP Physics C examination. However, many AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism teachers add supplementary material in these topics to the course and have found that a good time to do this is late in the year, after the AP Exams have been given.

Please note: Although fewer topics are covered in Physics C than in Physics 1 and/or Physics 2, they are covered in greater depth and with greater analytical and mathematical sophistication, including calculus applications.

The Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism course covers the following topics:

  1. Electricity and Magnetism
    1. Electrostatics (30%)
    2. Conductors, capacitors, dielectrics (14%)
    3. Electric circuits (20%)
    4. Magnetic Fields (20%)
    5. Electromagnetism (16%)

For more detail on the topics covered in Physics C courses and the differences from Physics 1 and/or Physics 2, see the Course Description.

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