NEW ASU UL Physics Course PHY194: Energy Matters

Arizona State University has added another NEW course to their Universal Learner (UL) program: PHY194 Energy Matters. This is a 3 credit physics course starts 10/11/2022 and is designed to ignite interest in the field of physics!


Physics underlies many of the basic functions of heating, lighting, transportation, even cooking! Understanding basic physics will help you with using energy wisely, making decisions about what appliances to buy and why, how to best cool your home, etc. In this course you’ll be using and developing skills in critical thinking, analysis, estimating and evaluating data. Specifically, by the end of this course you will know what energy is, how it is used, transmitted, and stored, how to estimate how much you are using, and how to estimate how long various energy sources will last. You will also understand the role that basic physics plays in constraining possible solutions to energy sustainability moving forward and how it (and a diverse and inclusive physics community) is part of the complex problem of addressing the global challenges we face.

What you’ll learn

  • Examine why understanding the laws of physics matters in the global energy conversation. Identify different types of energy. Explain how energy transforms from one type to another. Explain how we store it and transmit it.
  • Examine how the energy available limits the work that can be done (in a physics
    sense). Learn that a fundamental law of physics prevents the creation of energy from nothing.
  • Explain how we can use energy to do useful work, but we always end up producing heat and how this is due to the reality of the world we live in as expressed as a fundamental law of physics. Explain why we cannot make machines that are perfectly efficient and why extracting heat from one location adds additional heat to another.


To be successful in this course, we recommend English language fluency and computer literacy.

The math needed for this course is algebra, powers and exponentials; and you will learn how to use exponentials and logarithms. MAT 117 College Algebra is strongly suggested as a prerequisite for success in this course.

Please note that prerequisites are suggested, but not required, with Universal Learner program courses.

Exams and Grading

35% Participation

21% Learning Activities

14% Homework and Quizzes

30% Capstone Project

Time Commitment

This 3 credit, 8 week course requires about 135 hours of work. Therefore, expect to spend approximately 15-20 hours per week preparing for and engaging in this course.


As with all ASU Universal Learner courses, the cost is just $25 to sign up and you pay $400 at the end, only if you like the grade. If you don’t pay there is no record of the course, no record of failure, or record of not completing the course.

How to Use this Course in our Homeschool?

Courses ending in 194 are considered omnibus courses at ASU. The topic/title of the course might change, so when checking in college transfer tools, please be sure you have the correct course. ASU does not list this course as fulfilling a core course, and we would expect other colleges may view it similarly. We suggest doing your homework on how this course will transfer, if you are hoping to use it as a college general education science credit. It is more likely to transfer as a general education/STEM elective, or general elective.

Could this be used as a homeschool high school science requirement for physics? Possibly. You, or your state, determine what is considered valid homeschool credit. An early draft of the syllabus has been uploaded for review in the Files section of our HS4CC with ASU Courses Facebook group. Note that this course lacks a lab component, so some might wish to add to this course.

We look forward to hearing reviews and from our members in the HS4CC with ASU Courses Facebook group!

What is the UL program?

ASU’s Universal Learner program, formerly known as the Earned Admissions program, is a unicorn in the college world. Students of any age in any part of the world can sign up for regionally accredited (the gold standard) college courses with no hassles, no need to send your transcripts, no red tape, no placement tests, and no risk to a student’s GPA. If the student doesn’t get the grade they want, simply do not pay the $400 at the end of the course and there is no record of the course. Retake the courses as many times as is needed for just a minimal $25 sign-up fee. Find out the full scope of the program.

How to Sign Up

For more detailed information about how to sign up for to take courses in the Universal Learner program, formerly known as the Earned Admissions program, please visit our post “How to Sign up for ASU Earned Admissions Courses”

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