PHYSICS 7536 - Electromagnetism

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2020

This course develops concepts in electric field and scalar potential, magnetic field and vector potential, Maxwell's equations, electromagnetic boundary conditions, electromagnetic wave equation, waveguides, energy in electromagnetism. Electromagnetic wave propagation in vacuum, conducting and dielectric media, and at interfaces.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code PHYSICS 7536
    Course Electromagnetism
    Coordinating Unit School of Physical Sciences
    Term Semester 1
    Level Postgraduate Coursework
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Prerequisites PHYSICS 2510, MATHS 2101 or MATHS 2201, MATHS 2102 or MATHS 2202
    Incompatible PHYSICS 3004, PHYSICS 3542
    Assumed Knowledge PHYSICS 2532, PHYSICS 2534
    Assessment Tests, assignments, written exam
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Professor Bruce Dawson

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes

    1. define the various fields in electrostatics, magnetostatics and electrodynamics, and to understand how they are related;

    2. explain propagation of electromagnetic waves in various environments;

    3. apply Maxwell's Equations to selected problems;

    4. use the tools, methodologies, language and conventions of physics to test and communicate ideas and explanations;

    5. integrate several components of the course in the context of a new situation (unique to postgraduate coursework)
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources

    Griffiths, D.J. (2000): Introduction to Electrodynamics, 2nd or 3rd ed. ( or
    Online Learning

    MyUni: Teaching materials and course documentation will be posted on the MyUni website (
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes

    - 2 Lectures of 1 hour each per week

    - 1 Tutorial of 1 hour per week

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    A student enrolled in a 3 unit course, such as this, should expect to spend, on average 12 hours per week on the studies required. This includes both the formal contact time required to the course (e.g., lectures and practicals), as well as non-contact time (e.g., reading and revision).
    Learning Activities Summary

    Ø Electrostatics in vacuum (revision)
    - Continuous charge distributions
    - Gauss' law & Curl(E)
    - Electric potential & Conservative fields

    Ø Special solutions in electrostatics
    - Poisson's and Laplace's equations
    - Methods of relaxation & image charges

    Ø Magnetostatics in vacuum
    - Div(B) & Curl(B) (revision)
    - Vector potential

    Ø Time varying fields
    - Flux rule and motional emf
    - displacement current

    Ø Maxwell's equations in vacuum

    Ø Electrostatics in matter
    - Electrostatic field energy
    - Displacement field and polarisation
    - Polarisation-gradient forces (Optical tweezers)

    Ø Magnetostatics in matter
    - H-field, magnetisation
    - Magnetic energy

    Ø Multipole expansion of potentials

    Ø Poynting's theorem

    Ø Maxwell's equations in matter
    - Electromagnetic boundary conditions

    Ø The wave equation
    - Free space solution in vacuum
    - Waveguides & transmission lines
    - EM waves in conducting media

    Ø Reflection at dielectric and conducting boundaries

    Ø The Lorentz electron oscillator and dispersion
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    Assessment task Type of assessment Percentage of total assessment
    Yes or No
    Objectives being assessed / achieved
    Assignments, tests & online responses Formative & Summative 30 - 40% No 1 – 5
    Exam Summative 60 - 70% No 1 – 4
    Assessment Detail

    While this course is offered concurrently to undergraduate students, all postgraduate students are expected to perform at a higher level both qualitatively and quantitatively. To facilitate this, postgraduate students are required to address additional content in the projects and the examination within the same timeframe as undergraduate students.

    Assignments, Tests and online responses
    The mix of assignments and tests will be decided at the start of the semester by negotiation with students. A combination of on-line responses, tests and summative assignments will be used during the semester to address understanding of and ability to use the course material and to provide students a benchmark for the progress in the course (30-40% of total course grade). Postgraduate students are required to complete additional assessment tasks within each assignment, test and online responses to demonstrate additional understanding of the course material, in particular the ability to integrate different course components in a novel context.

    One 2-hour exam will be used to assess knowledge and understanding of and ability to use the material (60% of total course grade).

    Poor performance in assignments and tests can be partially compensated by a higher weighting of the examination in the final assessment.

    Submission of Assigned Work
    Coversheets must be completed and attached to all submitted work. Coversheets can be obtained from the School Office (room G33 Physics) or from MyUNI. Work should be submitted via the assignment drop box at the School Office.

    Extensions for Assessment Tasks
    Extensions of deadlines for assessment tasks may be allowed for reasonable causes. Such situations would include compassionate and medical grounds of the severity that would justify the awarding of a supplementary examination. Evidence for the grounds must be provided when an extension is requested. Students are required to apply for an extension to the Course Coordinator before the assessment task is due. Extensions will not be provided on the grounds of poor prioritising of time. The assessment extension application form can be obtained from:

    Late submission of assessments
    If an extension is not applied for, or not granted then a penalty for late submission will apply. A penalty of 10% of the value of the assignment for each calendar day that is late (i.e. weekends count as 2 days), up to a maximum of 50% of the available marks will be applied. This means that an assignment that is 5 days or more late without an approved extension can only receive a maximum of 50% of the mark.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy ( course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.