Electricity and Magnetism I (PHYS*2330)

Code and section: PHYS*2330*01

Term: Fall 2023


General Information

Department of Physics
College of Engineering and Physical Sciences
PHYS*2330: Electricity and Magnetism I

Calendar Description

PHYS*2330  Electricity and Magnetism I  Fall Only  (LEC: 4)  [0.50]  
This course continues building the foundation in electricity and magnetism begun in the first year and is intended for students proceeding to advanced studies in the physical sciences. Topics include vector calculus, electric fields, potential, electric work and energy, Gauss's Law, Poisson's and Laplace's equations, capacitors, D.C. circuits, transients and dielectric materials.

Prerequisite(s): IPS*1510 or [(MATH*1210 or MATH*2080), (1 of PHYS*1010, PHYS*1070, PHYS*1130)]  
Restriction(s): PHYS*2460  
Department(s): Department of Physics  
Location(s): Guelph  

For Course Instructor, Class Time and Location, please check CourseLink.

The Purpose of this Course

The principal aim of this course is to continue building the foundation of classical physics that students need in their progress toward the frontier of modern physics research.  The second aim of this course is to strengthen the problem-solving skills of students, which will be invaluable regardless of their future career path.  Topics include vector calculus, electric fields, potential, electric work and energy, Gauss's Law, Poisson's and Laplace's equations, capacitors, D.C. circuits and dielectric materials. 


Course Materials

Required Materials

Custom courseware available from TopHat

We will be using Top Hat for our digital textbook. You will be able to submit answers to in-class questions using Apple or Android smartphones and tablets, or computers. For instructions on how to create a Top Hat account, please refer to the invitation sent to your school email address or consult Top Hat's Getting Started Guide (https://bit.ly/31TGMlw). You will also require Top Hat to access the digital interactive textbook, Electricity and Magnetism, that we will be using in this class.

If you already have a Top Hat account, go to https://app.tophat.com/e/614073 to be taken directly to our course. If you are new to Top Hat, follow the link in the email invitation you received or...

Go to https://app.tophat.com/register/student
Click "Search by school" and input the name of our school (University of Guelph)
Search for our course with the following join code: 614073

The cost of the textbook is $35.40 and will be applied at checkout when enrolling in our Top Hat course (the lowest I could possibly set it). This is just one charge for both fall and winter courses (PHYS*2330 and PHYS*2340), so if you are continuing on to the second half next semester you will not have additional resource costs in January.

Should you require assistance with Top Hat at any time please contact their Support Team directly by way of email (support@tophat.com), the in-app support button, or by calling 1-888-663-5491.


  • University Physics by H.D. Young and R. A. Freedman – your text from IPS*1500/1510
  • Introduction to Electrodynamics, 4th Edition, D. J. Griffiths



Assessment Weight
Check Your Understanding Questions 20%
Assignments (5% each) 35%
Final Assessment (3 parts, 15% each) 45%

Check Your Understanding

The Check Your Understanding Questions are embedded in the course notes. You get half a mark for completing the question and half a mark for the correct answer. These are conceptual questions that ask you to consider a minor twist on the example problem that precedes the interactive question.


The assignments will be a mix of mathematical problem solving, data analysis, and computational problem solving.

Final Assessment

You will be creating your own personal study guide to summarize the course, which we will divide up into three segments:

  1. Coulomb’s law, work & potential energy, electric fields of point charges and charge distributions (Lectures 1 to 9) – Due Friday Oct 13
  2. Electric potential, dipoles, flux, Gauss’s Law (Lectures 10 to 17) – Due Friday Nov 17
  3. Gradients, divergence, curl of vector fields in general as well as with respect to electrostatics, Poisson’s Equation, Laplace Equation, Electric field in matter (Lectures 18 to 24) – Due Monday Dec 11

Your personalized study guide is a document that you create that can be used in your future studies to remind you of the key concepts and problem-solving strategies that you have encountered this semester. For each of the three sections in the course, you will include the following items:

  • Key definitions and terminology
  • Relevant equations and diagrams (as necessary)
  • Three unique worked examples that illustrate the important concepts (not examples taken from the course notes or the assignments)


The “lecture” times (Tues/Thurs 4 to 5:20 pm) will be used as an open opportunity to ask questions on the materials – lecture notes/problems, check your understanding questions, assignments, personalized study guide etc. If you would like help from either the instructor or teaching assistant at another time, please contact by email to arrange. 


Schedule for the Semester

Week Date Material Covered Tutorials/Assignments
01     Sept 4 – 8
(Lecture 1)
 Introduction  N/A
02 Sept 11 – 15
(Lectures 2 & 3)
Coulomb’s law, work done by electric force, electric potential energy Comp. tutorial – Thurs Sept 14
10 to 11:20 am
03 Sept 18 – 22
(Lectures 4 & 5)
Electric potential energy, line integrals, gradients  Assn #1 due (Fri Sept 22)
Comp. tutorial – Thurs Sept 21
10 to 11:20 am
04 Sept 25 – 29
(Lectures 6 & 7)
Coordinate systems, electric field calculations (point charges) Assn #2 due (Fri Sept 29)
05 Oct 2 – 6
(Lectures 8 & 9)
Electric field calculations (charge distributions), electric potential, calculations N/A
06 Oct 9 – 13
(Lecture 10)
Relationship between electric field and electric potential, effect of electric field on charges Final Assessment Part 1 – Due Friday Oct 13
07 Oct 16 – 20
(Lectures 11 & 12)
Electric dipoles, force and torque on dipoles in different fields Assn #3 due (Fri Oct 20)
Comp. tutorial – Thurs Oct 19
10 to 11:20 am
08 Oct 23 – 27
(Lectures 13 & 14)
Flux, introduction to Gauss’s law (integral form) Assn #4 due (Fri Oct 27)
09 Oct 30 – Nov 3 
(Lectures 15 & 16)
Gauss’s law, applications Assn #5 due (Fri Nov 3)
10 Nov 6 – 10
(Lectures 17 & 18)
Divergence, curl  N/A
11 Nov 13 – 17
(Lectures 19 & 20)
Laplace’s equation, Poisson’s equation, solving Laplace in 1D and 2D Final Assessment Part 2 – Due Friday Nov 17
Comp. tutorial – Thurs Nov 16
10 to 11:20 am
12 Nov 20 – 24
(Lectures 21 & 22)
Capacitance, polarization Assn #6 due (Fri Nov 24)
13  Nov 27 – Dec 1
(Lectures 23 & 24)
Review Assn #7 due (Fri Dec 1)
Exam Period December 11 N/A Final Assessment Part 3 Due Monday December 11th

The information in the table above is provided as a rough guide in terms of the schedule of material covered during the term.  The indicated weeks in which assignments will be due are also tentative.  Assignments will be posted on the course website, along with the associated due dates.  Check Courselink regularly to stay informed. 


Course Policies

(Not) Working With Other Students

All work submitted for grading in this course must be each individual student's own work.  While students are encouraged to share thoughts and ideas, it is not acceptable to share assignment solutions.  The “Check Your Understanding” questions, assignments, and personalized study guides are not group projects unless explicitly stated otherwise by the instructor.


University Policies

Academic Misconduct 

The University of Guelph is committed to upholding the highest standards of academic integrity and it is the responsibility of all members of the University community, faculty, staff, and students to be aware of what constitutes academic misconduct and to do as much as possible to prevent academic offences from occurring. 

University of Guelph students have the responsibility of abiding by the University's policy on academic misconduct regardless of their location of study; faculty, staff and students have the responsibility of supporting an environment that discourages misconduct. Students need to remain aware that instructors have access to and the right to use electronic and other means of detection. 

Please note: whether or not a student intended to commit academic misconduct is not relevant for a finding of guilt. Hurried or careless submission of assignments does not excuse students from responsibility for verifying the academic integrity of their work before submitting it. Students who are in any doubt as to whether an action on their part could be construed as an academic offence should consult with a faculty member or faculty advisor. 

The Academic Misconduct Policy is detailed in the Undergraduate Calendar. 
A helpful resource in understanding academic misconduct and plagiarism can be found at: plagiarism.org 

Copyright Protections of Intellectual Property

Presentations that are made in relation to course work—including lectures and tutorials —cannot be recorded or copied without the permission of the presenter, whether the instructor, a classmate or guest lecturer. Material recorded with permission is restricted to use for that course unless further permission is granted. 

Classroom teaching and learning activities, including lectures, discussions, presentations, etc., by both instructors and students, are copyright protected and remain the intellectual property of their respective author(s). All course materials, including PowerPoint presentations, outlines, lecture notes, reading quizzes, assignments, assessments and other materials, are also protected by copyright and remain the intellectual property of their respective author(s).

Students registered in the course may take notes and make copies of course materials for their own educational use only. Students are not permitted to reproduce or distribute lecture notes and course materials publicly for commercial or non-commercial purposes without express written consent from the copyright holder(s).


The University of Guelph is committed to creating a barrier-free environment. Providing services for students is a shared responsibility among students, faculty and administrators. This relationship is based on respect of individual rights, the dignity of the individual and the University community’s shared commitment to an open and supportive learning environment. Students requiring service or accommodation, whether due to an identified, ongoing disability or a short-term disability should contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) as soon as possible.

E-mail Communication 

As per university regulations, all students are required to check their uoguelph.ca e-mail account regularly. E-mail is the official route of communication between the University and its students.

Course Evaluation

The Department of Physics requires student assessment of all courses taught by the Department. These assessments provide essential feedback to faculty on their teaching by identifying both strengths and areas of improvement. In addition, student assessments provide part of the information used by the Department Tenure and Promotion Committee in evaluating the faculty member’s contributions in the area of teaching. You are therefore encouraged to take the evaluation procedures seriously, and to provide feedback about this course and its instructor.

Drop date

The last date to drop one-semester courses, without academic penalty, is 1 December 2023. For regulations and procedures for Dropping Courses, see the Undergraduate Calendar.