Course Info


Basic principles of classical electromagnetic theory and applications. Electrostatics; multipole expansion; magnetostatics; radiation fields; dynamics of relativistic particles and electromagnetic fields.


Most material for this course can be learned from D. J. Griffiths, Introduction to Electrodynamics (4th Ed). Griffiths is an undergraduate level textbook, but very few undergrad students master all of the material presented in the book.

All of the class material (and much more) can be found in J.D. Jackson, Classical Electrodynamics, 3rd Ed. Jackson's writing style is very different from Griffiths - students tend to prefer one style or the other.

Also recommended:

  • J. R. Reitz, Foundations of Electromagnetic Theory
  • M. Schwartz, Principles of Electrodynamics


PH 431/PH 531 or equivalents. PH 631.

Evaluation of student performance

Students' achievements will be evaluated based on four required activities:

  1. Homework (25%) will be assigned nearly every week. Collaboration on homework exercises is encouraged provided proper attribution is given, but each student must write an independent presentation of the solution. Solutions to all assigned problems will be handed out one week after they are assigned. To receive credit, work must be submitted before the solution is distributed.
  2. Class Participation (10%)
  3. Midterm Examination (25%)
  4. Final Examination (40%)

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to:

  1. communicate effectively the methods of vector analysis to describe electromagnetic phenomena
  2. describe the underlying physical meanings of electromagnetic equations.
  3. make use of theoretical methods to understand the electrical and magnetic properties of matter.
  4. interpret and analyze boundary-value problems involving electric and magnetic fields at material interfaces
  5. incorporate the fundamental theory of electromagnetism into the scientific problem-solving
  6. Explain how electromagnetic waves propagate in homogeneous and inhomogeneous media

Online resources

Students with Disabilities

Accommodations are collaborative efforts between students, faculty and Disability Access Services (DAS). Students with accommodations approved through DAS are responsible for contacting the faculty member in charge of the course prior to or during the first week of the term to discuss accommodations. Students who believe they are eligible for accommodations but who have not yet obtained approval through DAS should contact DAS immediately at 737-4098.

Notes for instructors