PHYSICS 741 : Advanced Classical Mechanics and Electrodynamics


2020 Semester One (1203) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Develops and deepens students’ knowledge and understanding of advanced topics in classical mechanics and electromagnetism, including variational and least action principles in mechanics, the physical basis of magnetism; and the four-vector treatment of special relativity and electromagnetism.

Course Overview

The study of classical mechanics has a natural progression through Lagrange equations and Hamiltonian mechanics. Related material includes vector mechanics, coordinate transformations, rotating frames, Noether's theorem and phase space orbits. Classical field theory is introduced and the relationships with quantum mechanics are stressed. The electrodynamics section of the course contains two parts: the first part looks at developments in electrostatics and magnetostatics beyond 200 level electromagnetism; the second part focusses on special relativity, 4-vectors, tensors and relativistic electromagnetism. An advancing course for physics students that will further develop the key tools of classical mechanics and electromagnetism that are essential for further university studies in physics.

Course Requirements

Restriction: PHYSICS 331, 705

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Have a working knowledge of the fundamental principles of canonical mechanics and special relativity. (Capability 1, 2 and 4)
  2. Use these principles to develop more specific theoretical models. (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Apply this knowledge and these models to the solution of problems, both qualitatively and quantitatively. (Capability 1, 3 and 4)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Assignments 40% Individual Coursework
Quizzes 10% Individual Test
Final Exam 50% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3
Final Exam

Learning Resources

The textbook for Mechanics is Classical Mechanics (5th ed. 2004) by Kibble and Berkshire, and that for Electromagnetism is  Introduction to Electrodynamics  (4th ed. 2014) by Griffiths.

Special Requirements


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, you can expect 3 hours of lectures, 4 hours of reading and thinking about the content (including preparing for quizzes) and 3 hours of work on assignments.

Digital 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.


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.

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.

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 at

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.

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.

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 you may be asked to submit your 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. The final decision on the completion mode for a test or examination, and remote invigilation arrangements where applicable, will be advised to students at least 10 days prior to the scheduled date of the assessment, or in the case of an examination when the examination timetable is published.

Published on 11/01/2020 03:17 p.m.