Course Title: Electromagnetism

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Electromagnetism

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 2 2020

Course Coordinator: Professor James Macnae

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3401

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 014.06.009B

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment, by email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Familiarity with differential and integral calculus as well as vectors is essential to understand the material presented and examined. Taking the Mathematics for Physicists MATH1129 course should be seriously considered ideally before or if necessary concurrently with this course. One or both of PHYS2127 Thermodynamics and Electromagnetism and PHYS2123 Modern Physics provide very useful introduction to this course

Course Description

This course provides you with a quantitative understanding of the physical behaviour of electric and magnetic fields in free space and in matter. You will study in detail the laws of electromagnetism including relativistic electrodynamics, and explore some of their important applications and consequences in society. The topics covered are essential prerequisites for advanced studies in physics.

The treatment of topics is mathematical and rigorous as this course is designed to provide the requisites in electromagnetic theory for post-graduate students in Medical Physics.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for BP229, BP305 and BP247:


PLO 1: Understanding science: 

PLO 1.1:  You will demonstrate an understanding of the scientific method and an ability to apply the scientific method in practice.

PLO 1.2: You will demonstrate an understanding of the role and relevance of science in society.

PLO 1.3: You will demonstrate an understanding of the role and importance of evidence in the continuous evolution of scientific knowledge. 


PLO-2: Scientific knowledge

PLO 2.1:  You will have broad knowledge in your chosen discipline, with deep knowledge in its core concepts.


PLO-3: Inquiry and Problem Solving

PLO 3.2: You will be able to gather, critically review and synthesise information relevant to a scientific inquiry or research project.

PLO 3.3:  You will be able to choose appropriate tools and methods to solve scientific problems within your area of specialization.

PLO 3.4: You will demonstrate well-developed problem solving skills, applying your knowledge and using your ability to think analytically and creatively.


PLO-4: Communication

PLO 4.1: You will be able to communicate the solution to a problem or the results of a scientific investigation using effective oral, written and presentation skills.


PLO-5: Personal and professional responsibility

PLO 5.1: You will develop a capacity for independent and self-directed work.

PLO 5.2: You will work responsibly, safely, legally and ethically.

On successful completion of this course you should be able to:

  1. Understand Maxwell’s governing equations of electromagnetism;
  2. Solve straightforward electric and magnetic field problems and describe the behaviour of the different components of electromagnetic fields in matter as described in Maxwell’s equations;
  3. Understand the varied effects of conductivity, magnetic permeability and dielectric permittivity in matter
  4. Solve elementary problems in relativistic electrodynamics;
  5. Be capable of communicating and explaining these concepts to others;
  6. Apply the theory learned to novel physical situations, through mathematical manipulation of the underlying equations

Overview of Learning Activities

You will learn in this course by:

  1. attendance at lectures where material will be presented and explained, and the subject will be illustrated with demonstrations and examples;
  2. private study, working through the theory as presented in lectures, texts and notes, and gaining practice at solving conceptual and numerical problems;
  3. completing tutorial questions designed to give you further practice in application of theory, and feedback on your progress and understanding;
  4. completing written and online assignments consisting of numerical and other problems requiring an integrated understanding of the subject matter


Total Study Hours

A total of 120 hours of study is expected, comprising:

Teacher-guided activities: There will be 3 hours of face to face lectures and 1 to 2 hours of tutorial per week.

Student-directed activities: Due to the amount of material covered, at least 3 to 4 hours of textbook/notes revision per week is strongly suggested, including attempting problems in the textbook to ensure you have understood the concepts.  Assignments (generally 6 in total) typically require 4 to 5 hours to complete, longer for those without good mathematical skills.

Overview of Learning Resources

The course will closely follow the material in one recommended electromagnetics textbook. This textbook has proven to be  of lasting value to Physics professionals. Notes will also be provided.

Overview of Assessment

Note that: This course has no hurdle requirements


Assessment tasks

Assessment Task 1:  Assignments

Weighting 45%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6


Assessment Task 2:  Mid Semester Test

Weighting 20%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 and 4


Assessment Task 3: Examination

Weighting 35%

This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, 3 and 4