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Physics Help

If you need some extra help in your first-year physics courses, we offer the following:

Student talking with a professorThe Physics Drop-In Centre

The Physics Drop-in-Centre, a service provided by the Department of Physics & Astronomy, is here to help students who are enrolled in first-year physics courses or their equivalent. Appointments are not necessary; just drop in to the basement of the BSB, Room BSB B119. For the schedule, please see details on the first-year physics Avenue to Learn pages. Note you must be enrolled in a first-year physics course to access the schedule. The schedule varies term-to-term.

Note: The Physics Drop-in Centre will be closed during the Fall and Winter Reading Weeks and during the Summer.

A few words to the wise and not so wise: Ask your questions sooner rather than later and beat the rush. Just before an assignment is due or before a test or exam, the Centre can be really busy and waits can be long. The Centre may also be closed due to unforseen events such as illness, snowstorms, etc.

If we are closed, remember graduate students, teaching assistants, and professors can also be sources of help. If you have any questions about the Drop-in Centre email Sara Cormier at

Physics Initiative (PHI)

The Physics Help Initiative (PHI) is a free student-led help initiative for first year students taking physics courses. Upper-year physics students are available for help in the evenings Monday through Friday in BSB B119. Hours are posted on the door.

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Extra Resources

Some students may find that they require or want further explanations on physics concepts taught in class or even concepts beyond the scope of the course they are taking. These textbooks are used in some of the upper year courses for physicists, if you want to get ahead or build on the basics that are taught in the introductory physics courses, you should turn to these resources.

  • Physics for the Life, 2nd (or 3rd) Ed. by Zinke-Allmang and co-authors [Life Science Physics Textbook]
  • Physics for Scientists and Engineers Any Edition by Raymond Serway and John Jewett. [Great for a high school refresher]
  • Introduction to Electrodynamics, 4th Ed. David J. Griffiths [Widely used textbook for Electrodynamics]
  • Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 3rd Ed. By David J. Griffiths and Darrel F. Schroeter [Quantum Mechanics Textbook]
  • Astronomy, Open Source Authors

Student Accessibility Services

Student Accessibility Services (SAS) provides academic accommodation assistance and related supports to students with disabilities at McMaster. SAS is available to assist students transitioning from high school, other post-secondary institutions, undergraduate, continuing and graduate students. Browse the SAS website of programs and services for more information about how we can help.