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The University of Southampton

PHYS2001 Electromagnetism

Module Overview

Electromagnetism is one of the brilliant successes of nineteenth century physics and the equations formulated by Maxwell are believed to account exactly for all classical electromagnetic phenomena. The aim of this course is to present the laws of electromagnetism, their experimental justification, and their application to physical phenomena.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • The fundamental laws of electrodynamics (Faraday’s and Ampere-Maxwell’s laws, Maxwell’s equations)
  • The propagation of electromagnetic waves in vacuum and in media
  • Potentials, gauge invariances, generation of electromagnetic waves
  • The interaction of electric and magnetic fields with matter
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Develop mathematical tools for the description of physical phenomena (potential formulations, gauge invariances, wave properties)
  • Derive theorems from first principles in integral and differential form
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Calculate electric and magnetic fields generated by charges and currents
  • Compute intensities and powers associated to electromagnetic fields
  • Express electromagnetic laws in integral, differential and potential form
  • Describe and quantitatively evaluate the emission and propagation of electromagnetic waves in vacuum and in media
  • Characterise the interaction between electric and magnetic fields and matter


Vector analysis - Div, grad and curl, continuity equation, vector identities Electrostatics - Coulomb’s and Gauss’s law, electric potential, multipole expansion Magnetostatics - Biot-Savart Law, Ampere’s law, magnetic vector potential Electrodynamics - Faraday’s law, Maxwell term, Maxwell’s equations, Poynting Vector Electromagnetic waves in the vacuum - Prediction of electromagnetic waves, energy flow Electromagnetic waves in matter - Reflection and transmission, laws of optics, waveguides. Potential formulation of electrodynamics and dipole radiation Introduction to D and H fields

Learning and Teaching

Follow-up work18
Completion of assessment task10
Preparation for scheduled sessions18
Wider reading or practice46
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

I S Grant and W R Phillips. Electromagnetism. 

D J Griffiths (1989). Introduction to electrodynamics. 

R B Leighton & M Sands (1964). The Feynman Lectures on Physics. 

D Halliday, R Resnick and J Walker (1997). Fundamentals of Physics. 


Assessment Strategy

Weekly course work will be set and assessed in the normal way, but only the best ‘n-2’ attempts will contribute to the final coursework mark. Here n is the number of course work items issued during that Semester. As an example, if you are set 10 sets of course work across a Semester, the best 8 of those will be counted. In an instance where a student may miss submitting one or two sets of course work, those sets will not be counted. Students will, however, still be required to submit Self Certification forms on time for all excused absences, as you may ultimately end up missing 3+ sets of course work through illness, for example. The submitted Self Certification forms may be considered as evidence for potential Special Considerations requests. Referral Method: By examination, the final mark will be calculated both with and without the coursework assessment mark carried forward, and the higher result taken. In the event that a third (or higher) set of course work is missed, students will be required to go through the Special Considerations procedures in order to request mitigation for that set. Please note that documentary evidence will normally be required before these can be considered.


MethodPercentage contribution
Continuous Assessment  (2 hours) 20%
Final Assessment  80%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: PHYS1011 and PHYS1015 and PHYS1022

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