PHYSICS 202 : Electromagnetism


2023 Semester Two (1235) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Key topics are electric and magnetic fields, the generation of magnetic fields by currents, the derivation of Maxwell’s equations, the interpretation of light as an electromagnetic wave and polarisation. Both fundamental principles and applied topics, including fibre optics, LEDs, physical optics and interferometers are covered.

Course Overview

An advanced physics course covering electromagnetism. Key topics are electric and magnetic fields, the generation of magnetic fields by currents, the derivation of Maxwell's equations, the interpretation of light as an electromagnetic wave and polarisation. Both fundamental principles and applied topics, including fibre optics, LEDs, physical optics and interferometers are covered. The application of mathematical techniques to solving physical problems is also featured in this course. This course is a core physics course and builds upon the content of PHYSICS 121 and is required for most stage 3 physics courses. The course includes lectures, assessed tutorials to help gain skills in physics problem-solving and a laboratory component for students to develop skills in experimental techniques.

Course Requirements

Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 121, 150 and 15 points from ENGSCI 211, MATHS 130, 208, PHYSICS 211 Restriction: PHYSICS 260, 261

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Summarise the main concepts and theories of electromagnetism. (Capability 1)
  2. Solve problems in electromagnetism, both approximately to an order-of-magnitude or in detail, in physics by combining their knowledge of physics and maths. (Capability 2 and 3)
  3. Solve problems in classical and thermal physics analytically, numerically and computationally. (Capability 2 and 3)
  4. Design and perform experiments to solve problems and demonstrate physical theories. (Capability 3 and 5)
  5. Describe and communicate their experimental method and results clearly so others can reproduce it. (Capability 4)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 20% Individual Coursework
Example Classes 10% Group & Individual Coursework
Laboratories 25% Group & Individual Coursework
Final Exam 45% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Example Classes
Final Exam


Tuākana Science is a multi-faceted programme for Māori and Pacific students providing topic specific tutorials, one-on-one sessions, test and exam preparation and more. Explore your options at

For more information and to find contact details for the Physics Department Tuākana coordinator, please see:

Key Topics

  • Electrostatics
  • Vector calculus
  • Potentials
  • Electric fields in matter
  • Magnetostatics
  • Magnetic fields in matter
  • Electrodynamics
  • Conservation laws
  • Electromagnetic wave
  • Potentials and fields
  • Radiation

Special Requirements

Students must pass the laboratories to pass the course.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15-point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15-point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, a typical weekly workload includes:

  • 3 hours of lectures
  • A 1-hour examples class
  • 3 hours of laboratories
  • 2 hours of reviewing the course content
  • 1 hour of work on assignments and/or test preparation

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including labs and tutorials to complete components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including tutorials and labs will not be available as recordings.
Attendance on campus is required for the exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Recommended Readings:
  • "Electrodynamics" by David J Griffiths, Harlow: Pearson Education Limited. 2014. 
  • Students are encouraged to use this book during the course. 
  • It can be purchased online, in the University bookshop and it is also available in the library.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.


Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 31/10/2022 09:31 a.m.