This review, based on lectures given at the 45th Saas-Fee Advanced Course "From Protoplanetary Disks to Planet Formation", introduces physical processes in protoplanetary disks relevant to accretion and the initial stages of planet formation. After a brief overview of the observational context, I introduce the elementary theory of disk structure and evolution, review the gas-phase physics of angular momentum transport through turbulence and disk winds, and discuss possible origins for the episodic accretion observed in Young Stellar Objects. Turning to solids, I review the evolution of single particles under aerodynamic forces, and describe the conditions necessary for the development of collective gas-particle instabilities. Observations show that disks can exhibit pronounced large-scale structure, and I discuss the types of structures that may form from gas and particle interactions at ice lines, vortices and zonal flows, prior to the formation of large planetary bodies. I conclude with disk dispersal.