Electricity and Magnetism I (PHYS*2330)

Code and section: PHYS*2330*01

Term: Fall 2021

Instructor: Joanne O'Meara


Course Information



Joanne O’Meara

Teaching Assistant

Michael Lahaye        

Lectures and Tutorials    


Tuesday, Thursday 10:00 to 11:20 am        
CRSC 116


Wednesdays 7:00 to 8:50 pm
RICH 2529    

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 Text

Custom courseware available from TopHat (ISBN: 978-1-77494-270-3)


  • 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%

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 15
  2. Electric potential, dipoles, flux, Gauss’s Law (Lectures 10 to 17) – Due Friday Nov 19
  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 13

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)

(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.


The tutorial time (Wednesday 7 to 8:50 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 in Lecture Tutorials/Assignments
1 Sept 6 – 10
(Lecture 1)
Introduction No tutorial or assignment
2 Sept 13 – 17
(Lectures 2 & 3)
Coulomb’s law, work done by electric force, electric potential energy Tutorials begin – Wed Sept 16
3 Sept 20 – 24
(Lectures 4 & 5)
Electric potential energy, line integrals, gradients Assn #1 due (Fri Sept 24)
Tutorial – Wed Sept 23
4 Sept 27 – Oct 1
(Lectures 6 & 7)
Coordinate systems, electric field calculations (point charges) Assn #2 due (Fri Oct 1)
Tutorial – Wed Sept 30
Comp. tutorial – Wed Sept 30
5 Oct 4 – 8
(Lectures 8 & 9)
Electric field calculations (charge distributions), electric potential, calculations Tutorial – Wed Oct 7
6 Oct 11 – 15
(Lecture 10)
Relationship between electric field and electric potential, effect of electric field on charges Final Assessment Part 1 – Due Friday Oct 15
Tutorial – Wed Oct 14
7 Oct 18 – 22
(Lectures 11 & 12)
Electric dipoles, force and torque on dipoles in different fields Assn #3 due (Fri Oct 22)
Tutorial – Wed Oct 21
8 Oct 25 – 29
(Lectures 13 & 14)
flux, introduction to Gauss’s law (integral form) Assn #4 due (Fri Oct 29)
Tutorial – Wed Oct 28
9 Nov 1 – 5 
(Lectures 15 & 16)
Gauss’s law, applications Assn #5 due (Fri Nov 5)
Tutorial – Wed Nov 4
10 Nov 8 – 12
(Lectures 17 & 18) 
divergence, curl Tutorial – Wed Nov 11
11 Nov 15 – 19
(Lectures 19 & 20)
Laplace’s equation, Poisson’s equation, solving Laplace in 1D and 2D Final Assessment Part 2 – Due Friday Nov 19
Tutorial – Wed Nov 18
12 Nov 22 – 26
(Lectures 21 & 22)
capacitance, polarization  Assn #6 due (Fri Nov 26)
Tutorial – Wed Nov 25
13 Nov 29 – Dec 3
(Lectures 23 & 24)
Review Assn #7 due (Fri Dec 3)
No tutorial

Final Assessment Part 3 Due Monday December 13th

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. 

Given the current situation with COVID19, this will be a semester that will be highly changeable. We will be working entirely online at the beginning, with the hope of being able to switch to face-to-face before the end of the semester, depending on the situation. My plan is to have small, frequent assessments to keep us all on track and communicating, as this will be more challenging without face-to-face interactions. I will not be requiring you to do a midterm or final exam in a proctored fashion. My guiding principles throughout this unusual semester are:

  1. Stay connected
  2. Be flexible
  3. Be kind

Course 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).

Remote Learning Etiquette

Inappropriate online behaviour will not be tolerated. Examples of inappropriate online behaviour include (but are not limited to):

  • Posting inflammatory messages about your instructor or fellow students
  • Using obscene or offensive language online
  • Copying or presenting someone else's work as your own
  • Adapting information from the Internet without using proper citations or references
  • Buying or selling term papers or assignments
  • Posting or selling course materials to course notes websites
  • Having someone else complete your quiz or completing a quiz for/with another student
  • Stating false claims about lost quiz answers or other assignment submissions
  • Threatening or harassing a student or instructor online
  • Discriminating against fellow students, instructors and/or TAs
  • Using the course website to promote profit-driven products or services
  • Attempting to compromise the security/functionality of the learning management system
  • Sharing your user name and password
  • Recording lectures without the permission of the instructor

Privacy During Lecture Recordings

By enrolling in this course, unless explicitly stated and brought forward to the instructor, it is assumed that students agree to the possibility of being recorded during lecture, seminar or other “live” course activities, whether delivery is in-class or online/remote.

If you prefer not to be distinguishable during a recording, you may:

  1. turn off your camera
  2. mute your microphone 
  3. edit your name (e.g., initials only) upon entry to each session
  4. use the chat function to pose questions.  

Students who express that they, or a reference to their name or person, do not wish to be recorded, possible alternatives or accommodations will be discussed with the instructor.


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. 

For more information, contact SAS at 519-824-4120 ext. 56208 or visit the SAS website

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 Assessment

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 possible areas of improvement. In addition, annual student assessment of teaching provides part of the information used by the Department Tenure and Promotion Committee in evaluating the faculty member's contribution in the area of teaching.

The Department's teaching evaluation questionnaire invites student response both through numerically quantifiable data and written student comments. In conformity with University of Guelph Faculty Policy, the Department Tenure and Promotions Committee only considers comments signed by students (choosing "I agree" in question 14). Your instructor will see all signed and unsigned comments after final grades are submitted. Written student comments may also be used in support of a nomination for internal and external teaching awards.

NOTE: No information will be passed on to the instructor until after the final grades have been submitted.


Please note that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may necessitate a revision of the format of course offerings and academic schedules. Any such changes will be announced via CourseLink and/or class email. All University-wide decisions will be posted on the COVID-19 website and circulated by email.  


The University will not normally require verification of illness (doctor's notes) for fall 2021 or winter 2022 semester courses.  However, requests for Academic Consideration may still require medical documentation as appropriate.