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Policies - Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physics

Students at South Dakota State University are expected to maintain the highest standards of academic conduct. Academic expectations are clearly discussed in the undergraduate programs catalog. In addition to university policies, physics students are expected in know and abide by specific departmental policies including academic dishonesty, laboratory attendance and registration overrides.

Student Conduct Code of SDSU

Physics Policies

Students enrolled in Physics courses will take the final examination for those courses at the time specified in the semester final examination schedule for the particular section in which they are enrolled. The only reasons for deviations that will be considered are:

  1. Sickness on the part of the student (medical health professional documentation required).
  2. Extreme emergencies involving the student or members of the student’s immediate family.
  3. A situation where a student has more than three examinations scheduled on a given day; in which case the office of Admissions and Records will make appropriate arrangements.
  4. An official change of final examination time for the class that was initiated by the Physics instructor and approved by the Office of Academic Affairs.

If a deviation from the Final Examination Schedule is to be considered involving 1 or 2, the request must be presented in writing utilizing the official department form, which may be obtained in the Physics office. The deviation is approved when the request is signed by the instructor involved and the head of the physics. All requests will be filed by the department.

Personal vacations, convenience of travel or start of employment are not considered as valid reasons for deviation from the final exam schedule. Therefore, plan your end-of-term travel accordingly. In cases where conflict exists, university final exam policy supersedes departmental policy.

Physics has developed the following common policies for introductory laboratory sections of PHYS101, PHYS185, PHYS187, PHYS111, PHYS113, PHYS211 and PHYS213.


  • All students must be registered for a laboratory section. If a student drops the lecture, they must drop the laboratory. This is the same if a student “audits” the course.
  • You may not register for the lecture at one campus site and the laboratory at another campus site.
  • If a student is retaking the course, they must also register for a laboratory section.
  • A student who does not register for a laboratory section will be dropped from the lecture section of the course.
  • Any switching of laboratory sections must be completed through Self Service by the last add date (typically about two weeks into the semester.


The laboratory is an integral part of learning introductory physics. It provides excellent opportunities for "hands-on" experience with scientific equipment, lab skills enhancement and improved proficiency in scientific report generation as well as a chance to discover the connection between the abstract and concrete.

Weekly attendance and completion of laboratory activities is required. The laboratory/course syllabus will define what completion means for your course. If a student fails to complete three of the required labs during the semester then a failure for the course will result; regardless of other scores in the class. See your physics course and laboratory syllabus for further details.

PHYS 111, 113, 211 and 213

If you have previously taken the course and already completed some or all of the laboratories, you may petition the course instructor to have some or all of your previous lab scores applied to the current laboratory section. This is at the discretion of the Lecture instructor are only allowed if at least half of the labs have been satisfactorily completed and taken during the most recent spring or fall semester on campus in Brookings.

If you wish to petition to have those scores applied, the procedure is as follows:

  1. Obtain a repeat/exemption form from the Physics main office (Daktronics Engineering Hall, Room 255) prior to the last add date of the current semester.
  2. Complete the top portion of the form and return to the Physics main office.
  3. The main office fills in the previous semester lab scores and returns to the lecture instructor.
  4. The lecture instructor fills in their portion of the form and returns to the main office.
  5. Copies of the completed form are made and returned to the lecture instructor for distribution.
  6. The student should attend and complete all labs prior to the return of the form; unless told otherwise by their lecture instructor.

Laboratory Sections

Students are required to register for both a lecture section and a three hour laboratory section (one common hour of contact and an individual section of two hours contact).

Common Laboratory Hour of Contact

Students often ask about the P101L, P111L and P113L common hour of contact for laboratory sections (currently scheduled as follows: 101L 2 p.m. on Tuesday, 111L 1 p.m. on Tuesday and 113L 2 p.m. on Thursday). This often happens during pre-registration when there is a time conflict with another course for which they are trying to register. Misinformation exists regarding this portion of the course experience. It is considered integral to the courses and should not be viewed as an optional activity. The following is current University policy as manifested in departmental policy:

  • The instructor for the course determines the attendance requirements for the courses they teach. This includes the common laboratory hour of contact, as it would for any other contact hour of a course.
  • Overrides because of time conflicts with the common contact hour are not routinely granted by SDSU Physics. Students with such a conflict should resolve this as they would any time conflict in their schedule by contacting the two instructors of the overlapping courses involved.
  • If you have questions or need clarification regarding the laboratory times, you should contact the Physics office.

Algebra Prerequisites

If you have been placed into MATH 115 and are registering for it concurrently with PHYS 111 the department will override the mathematics prerequisite for PHYS 111.

Physics 211 and Physics 213

Laboratory Sections

Students are required to register for both a lecture section and a three hour laboratory section. Scheduling conflicts will not be over-ridden for either the lecture or the laboratory section.

Calculus Corequisites

MATH 123 is a corequisite for PHYS 211 and MATH 125 is a corequisite for PHYS 213. In order to register for these classes you will have to have successfully completed or be concurrently registered in the appropriate calculus class.