College Credit


In deciding whether to take IB Physics and, if so, whether to take SL or HL, you may wish to know the amount of college credit you are likely to receive.


Information for a few schools is provided below.


University of Texas at Austin


If you take HL, you will receive credit for the following courses:








If you take SL, you will receive credit for the following courses:






PHY 302K, 102M, 302L and 102N are courses for science (but not physics) majors. PHY 309K and 309L are courses for non-science majors.



Texas A&M University (College Station)


With a SL score of 4 or higher, you will receive credit for PHYS 205.

With an HL score of 4 or higher, you will receive credit for PHYS 201 and 202.


PHYS 201 and 202 are "primarily for architecture, education, premedical, predental, and preveterinary medical students." PHYS 205 is a "general survey physics course for K-8 preservice teachers" meant for those majoring in interdisciplinary studies.



University of Arkansas


If you take HL, you will receive credit for the following courses:







These courses are for science (but not physics) majors, as well as those majoring in architecture and potentially other fields (visit the university website for details).

IB DP : Physics


Standard Level (SL) vs Higher Level (HL)


Should you take Physics SL or HL?


If you aren't much interested in physics, then you should take neither. If you are interested in learning about this fascinating topic, then I recommend HL. The key feature of HL is that it is stretched out over two years, which allows for an unhurried and in-depth examination of the topic. An SL class will hit most of the same themes as HL, but it will progress more rapidly (i.e. you may feel rushed at times) and with less depth and less lab work.


SL will cover the Core topics shown below, along with a single Option. HL, as the name implies, is taught at a higher level. It includes the Core topics and a single Option (to which more time is devoted), but it also includes the Additional High Level topics.


The decision to take SL or HL may also depend on the college credit you hope to obtain. Scroll down for details.

Only one of these options will be taught.

IB Physics is an algebra-based course, as opposed to a calculus-based course. It is primarily for this reason that one cannot obtain college credit for IB Physics if one is to major in physics or engineering.


AP Physics C, on the other hand, is calculus-based. Scoring high enough on the AP Physics tests (and there are two of them) will earn college credit for physics and engineering majors, among other majors.



Even if you wanted to study physics in college, you might still want to take IB Physics. You'll develop a deep understanding of physics that will prepare you exceptionally well for the physics courses you'll need to take in college.