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Laboratory Policies

  1. Lectures and labs are separate. Students get 3 credits and a grade for the lecture, and, if enrolled in a lab, he/she gets 1 credit and a separate grade for the lab. Labs are not necessarily required to be taken. Check with your major adviser.
  2. There are no labs during first week of the term; lab experiments start during second week.  Students will need to check BbLearn for information and instructions in order to prepare for the first meeting of the lab course.
  3. The head of the labs is Eric Foard. All questions should be directed to him at (not your lecture instructor). The department chair should only be contacted if there is an unresolvable problem.
  4. For further information, contact the department's Administrative Financial Specialist Jessica DeWitt 208-885-6380 or

General Laboratory Policies

The following policies apply to the laboratory portions of Astronomy (PHYS 104), Fundamentals of Physics (PHYS 100), General Physics (PHYS 111, 112) and Engineering Physics (PHYS 211, 212, 213).

Materials Needed

  • Notetaking materials
  • Ability to access BbLearn outside of class to receive instructions and review materials.
  • Access to ability to save files remotely (may be available via student one-drive, etc.)


Each week the instructor will give a brief introduction to help you understand the goals and procedures of the current experiment. The data sheet at the end of each experiment in the manual will help guide you through the experiment and clarify what you are expected to accomplish. While you are performing the experiment, the instructor will be available to answer any questions which you might have. Before leaving at the end of each lab session, you must check out with your instructor. The instructor's initials on your data sheet will serve as verification that you attended, actively participated, and left your work station clean and in good order.


Your lab grades will be based on your degree of participation in each week's activity, the reasonableness of your results, the quality of your laboratory report, and periodic quizzes. Arriving to lab on time will be important, since quizzes will be given at the beginning of the lab session. Quizzes will test your preparation for the activity scheduled for that session and your understanding of the preceding activity. Each week's activity will be graded on a 20-point scale. Your total lab score will be converted to a percentage.

In contrast with recent previous semesters, the lecture (3 cr) and laboratory (1 cr) portions of these courses will receive separate letter grades. There will be 13 required laboratory activities during the semester, which must be completed by attending the scheduled laboratory sessions and submitting a lab report. An unexcused absence or failure to make up an excused absence will result in a score of 0 points for the missed activity. In addition, attendance for fewer than 13 activities will result in a lowering of the laboratory grade by one letter grade per missed activity.

There will be an opportunity to make up one missed lab during the last week of instruction, December 10-14, during your regular lab meeting time. In case of absences for valid excuses, you may arrange for additional make-up opportunities with your instructor. If you know in advance that you cannot attend your regular section in a given week, you may make arrangements with your instructor to attend a different section that week.

Report Format

Lab reports, including graphs and data tables, must be prepared using a word processor or other suitable software. The following elements must be included in each report:

  • Introduction: At least one paragraph describing the goal of the experiment, background information, experimental setup, and methods used.
  • Data and Results: This section will include the initialed data sheet plus any charts, graphs, tables, etc. that are asked for in the Laboratory Manual. You must also show the results of all calculations and the formulas used to obtain them.
  • Conclusion: At least one paragraph stating what you learned from the experiment. You must comment on and attempt to explain any errors you encountered. You should also explain why things happened the way they did and any measures you might take to improve the results.

Lab Report Due Dates

Reports are due one week from the day they are performed at the START of the laboratory session. Late reports will be penalized as follows:

  • 1 day to 1 week late: 2 points deducted.
  • 1 week to 2 weeks late: 5 points deducted.
  • 2 weeks to 3 weeks late: 10 points deducted.
  • more than 3 weeks late: reports not accepted.

No reports will be accepted after the last day of "dead week."


Department of Physics

Physical Address:
Engineering-Physics Rm 311

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive, MS 0903
Moscow, ID 83844-0903

Phone: 208-885-6380

Fax: 208-885-4055


Web: Department of Physics