Physical Sciences Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to Physical Science's most commonly asked questions.

FAQ Questions

General

If the lab for that section has already met, then no, you may not add that class. Our department only allows students to add before the first lab meets. During that first lab period, we go over safety and lab policies in addition to lab activities.

After the first week of classes, no students may add the class. The first week lays a foundation for the learning you will do all semester, and experience has shown us that students who do not attend the first week typically do not complete the course. In addition, many courses have assignments due that first week, so you would be starting off behind.

For online classes: the last day to add is Wednesday, at 5 p.m. of the first week. Online classes typically have an assignments due the first week, and if you haven’t gotten into the class prior to that time, you’ve already missed the first assignments.

Yes. The field trips are essential to learning geology. The field trips are mandatory, so be sure when you enroll in the class that you mark your calendar for the field trip and block out that date.

Not necessarily. While this will vary by instructor, most of us are okay with you using an older edition; however, be aware that many instructors use online homework systems, and you will need the current edition of the access code. If in doubt, please ask your instructor.

We require that all exams in Physical Sciences be proctored by a live person. The easiest way to do this is to come to the Proctoring Center on campus during the time your instructor has scheduled the exam.

If you live outside of Reno, contact your instructor about arrangements to have an independent proctor.

Yes. Bring a copy of your unofficial transcripts to the Physical Sciences Department showing that you have completed the prerequisite within the last five years, and we will remove the enrollment block for you.

First of all, we highly recommend you not miss the first week of class. The first week lays a foundation for the learning you will do all semester, and experience has shown us that students who do not attend the first week typically do not complete the course.

If you absolutely must miss the first week, contact your instructor or the department as soon as you know you can’t attend. Your instructor may also be able to give you the first week materials (since many classes have assignments due the first week).

Yes. Not only will any of the full-time instructors in the department meet with any students who are taking chemistry and/or physics at TMCC, but we have a lot of excellent tutors in the Tutoring and Learning Center who are happy and willing to help you!

In addition, for CHEM 121 and CHEM 220 there is also a Special Instruction session in the Tutoring and Learning Center (most semesters).

No. General Chemistry and Geology require a level of problem solving skills to succeed. We want you to succeed in the course, so requiring the prerequisite increases your chances of success. Thus, we will ask you for either a transcript showing you have completed the prerequisites, or an appropriate ACCUPLACER score.

No. The calculus-based physics class requires the first semester of calculus skills to succeed. We want you to succeed in the course, so requiring the prerequisite increases your chances of success. Thus, we will ask you for either a transcript showing you have completed the prerequisite, or an appropriate ACCUPLACER score.

Yes. The lab is an essential part of the geography learning process and the lecture/lab are integrated. This means that you learn the theory and application together while in the laboratory setting.

For Astronomy (AST 104), Physics, Geology, Geography (GEOG 104) and Chemistry: Yes! Plan to be there!

For Chemistry: Yes, for all courses except CHEM 241 and CHEM 242. The lab is an essential part of the chemistry learning process and in all but the 241/242 sequence, the lab is integrated with the class for credit and grade. This means that you learn the theory in class, then step into the lab to apply that theory. The only reason CHEM 241 and CHEM 242 are split out is due to the needs of different majors at UNR, many of which only require the lecture portion of the course.

For Physics: Yes. The lab is an essential part of the physics learning process and the lecture/lab are fully integrated. This means that you learn the theory and application together while in the laboratory setting; there isn’t really a separate class.

No. We know that if you don’t use a skill, you forget. Chemistry and physics build on prior knowledge, and if you don’t have that knowledge fresh in your mind, then you will have a hard time succeeding in the course.

For the math skills, we recommend taking the ACCUPLACER to see where you place.

For the chemistry courses, we recommend re-taking the prerequisite course.

No. Limitations on each field of study are detailed below.

  • Astronomy classes are limited to 32 students so that the instructor can spend one-on-one time with you in lecture and in lab.
  • Chemistry classes are limited to 28 students (or 24 for CHEM 241L and CHEM 242L) for safety reasons. We don’t want to see anyone hurt in lab, and we don’t have enough safe space for more students. In addition, the limitation means that the instructor can spend one-on-one time with you in lab.
  • Engineering classes are limited to 30 students so that the instructors have time to work with each student. In addition, some of the courses include field trips which allow only for a limited number of students.
  • Environmental Sciences classes are limited to 28-32 students for safety reasons and so that the instructor has time to spend with each student. In addition, some of the courses include field trips, which allow only for a limited number of students.
  • Geography classes are limited to 32 students so that the instructor has time to spend with each student.
  • Geology classes are limited to 28 students so that the instructor has time to spend with each student. In addition, because the classes often include field trips, we have limited space for students on those field trips.
  • Physics classes are limited to 32 students for safety reasons. We don’t want to see anyone hurt in lab, and we don’t have enough safe space for more students. In addition, the limitation means that the instructor can spend one-on-one time with you in lab.

Contact us. If an instructor has been assigned, we can give you the contact information for that instructor. If no instructor has been assigned, the lead faculty member for that class can typically answer your questions and be a contact person for you until an instructor is assigned.

See also: Physical Sciences Faculty and Staff