Electricity and Magnetism II (PHYS*2340)

Code and section: PHYS*2340*01

Term: Winter 2023

Instructor: Eric Poisson


General information

Course description

This course is a continuation of PHYS*2330. Topics include magnetic forces and fields, the Biot-Savart equation, Ampere's Law, magnetic induction, LRC transients, AC circuits and magnetic materials.

Class schedule and location

Tuesday and Thursday, 11:30am to 12:50am, in MacKinnon (MCKN) 229 


There might an occasional tutorial over Zoom; this will be announced in CourseLink

Midterm exam 

Tuesday February 28, from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. The location will be posted in due course.

Final examination

Thursday April 20, from 2:30pm to 4:30pm. The location will be posted in due course. 

Final exam weighting 

35% (Scheme A) or 45% (Scheme B). See below. 

Instructor information 


Name Email Office Ext.
Eric Poisson epoisson@uoguelph.ca MacNaughton 452 x53653

Office hours

Tuesdays from 9am to 11am, and from 2pm to 3pm. Please schedule an appointment if you have trouble finding me. 

Eric is very much an informal guy, and he prefers to be addressed simply as “Eric”. He does not appreciate being subjected to such pompous titles as Doctor, Professor, or His Gracious. Eric’s field of research is general relativity, including black holes and gravitational waves. For additional details, please consult his research web page.

Graduate Teaching Assistant information

The TA for the course is Michael Lahaye (mlahaye@uoguelph.ca). Michel will mark homework assignments and exams, and will have limited office hours. 

Course content

Specific learning outcomes

After taking this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a mastery of the Biot-Savard law for the magnetic field, and apply it to calculate the field due to various distributions of current. 
  2. Demonstrate a working understanding of the Lorentz force, and its action on moving charges. 
  3. Apply Ampere’s law to obtain the magnetic field of various current distributions.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the vector potential and its relation to the magnetic field. 
  5. Demonstrate a rudimentary understanding of magnetic moments and their role in the magnetic response of materials. 
  6. Demonstrate a working knowledge of the electromotive force in electric circuits. 
  7. Apply Faraday’s law to calculate the magnetic field produced by a time-changing electric field. 
  8. Demonstrate a working understanding of inductors. 
  9. Formulate all the laws of electromagnetism in the form of Maxwell’s equations. 
  10. Demonstrate an understanding of electromagnetic waves as a consequence of Maxwell’s equations. 
  11. Appreciate some of the connections between electromagnetism and special relativity. 

Lecture, tutorial, and assignment schedule

The following table provides a rough guide of the material covered during each week of the semester, as well as key information regarding tutorials and assignment due dates. All dates are tentative; check Courselink regularly to get the most updated information. Regular attendance at lectures and tutorials is the best way to ensure that you are up to date on the relevant course material.

Week Material Covered Assignments/Midterm
1: Jan 10, 12 Introduction; current; charge conservation No tutorial
2: Jan 17, 19 Currents in matter; Biot-Savard law  
3: Jan 24, 26 Biot-Savard law; Lorentz force  
4: Jan 31, Feb 2 Ampere’s law; applications Assignment #1 due
5: Feb 7, 9 Applications of Ampere’s law; vector potential Comp. Supp. #1 due
6: Feb 14, 16 Magnetic moment; force and torque on current loop Assignment #2 due
7: Feb 28, March 2 Magnetic fields in matter; electromotive force Midterm exam
Tuesday Feb 28, evening
8: March 7, 9 Faraday’s law; inductance  Comp. Supp. #2 due
9: March 14, 16 Inductance; Maxwell’s equations Assignment #3 due
10: March 21, 23 Electromagnetic waves  
11: March 28, 30 Electromagnetic waves; potential formulation of Maxwell’s equations Assignment #4 due
12: April 4, 6 Relativistic aspects of electromagnetism Comp. Supp. #3 due


There are no labs for this course. 


There might an occasional tutorial over Zoom; this will be announced in CourseLink. 

Course evaluation

The final mark for the course will be the highest of the two marks calculated under the following two schemes. No other marking schemes will be considered. A final mark of at least 50% is required to pass the course. 

Scheme Quizzes Assignments Comp Supp Midterm Exam Final
A 5%  15% 10% 35% 35%
B 5%  15% 10% 25% 45%

Quizzes will be posted on Courselink, each quiz appearing several days prior to a specific lecture. Completion of these quizzes by the assigned deadline is mandatory, and the quizzes will be marked to provide 5% of the final mark. 

A set of four homework assignments will also be made available on Courselink, to be returned before class begins on the assigned due date. A penalty will be applied to late assignments, and no assignment will be accepted after the start of the evening’s tutorial. Assignments provide 15% of the course’s final mark. 

As in PHYS*2330, there is also a set of three computational supplements that must be completed. These also will be made available on Courselink, and they must also be submitted before the assigned due date. The computational supplements provide 10% of the course’s final mark.

In marking scheme A, the midterm and final exams account each for 35% of the final mark. In marking scheme B, the midterm and final exams account for 25% and 45% of the final mark, respectively.

Both midterm and final exams will be closed-book exams, meaning that you will not be allowed to consult your notes nor any other source of information. You will, however, be provided with relevant material such as a formula sheet. Calculators may be required; only non-

programmable pocket calculators are permitted. Personal communication or entertainment devices are not permitted during the exams. 

Course resources

Required text

  • David J. Griffiths, Introduction to Electrodynamics, Fourth edition (Pearson, 2013)

The book by Griffiths is the same book that is used in PHYS*2330 (Electricity and Magnetism I). My lectures will loosely follow the book, and reading assignments will be given each week to ensure that you keep up with the material. The quizzes will provide even more incentive to keep up with the reading. 

Course website

On Courselink

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 prior to writing up the solutions, it is not acceptable to share assignment solutions. The assignments are not group projects, and it is important that you do not show your final written solutions to other students.

Getting help

One of the best sources of help is the course’s TA and tutorial instructor. In addition, you can come to Eric’s office hours, or make an appointment for a special meeting at another time.

Grading policies

See the section on “Course evaluation”. 

Course policy on group work

See the section on “(Not) working with other students”. 

Course policy on electronic devices and recording of lectures

What you do with your laptop, smart phone, tablet, etc, during lectures is your own business, so long as it does not create a distraction for your classmates or the instructor. (The instructor is very easily distracted.) If such a distraction arises you will be asked to leave the classroom.

Electronic recording of classes is expressly forbidden without consent of the instructor.  When recordings are permitted they are solely for the use of the authorized student and may not be reproduced, or transmitted to others, without the express written consent of the instructor.

University Statements

Email Communication

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

When You Cannot Meet a Course Requirement

When you find yourself unable to meet an in-course requirement because of illness or compassionate reasons please advise the course instructor (or designated person, such as a teaching assistant) in writing, with your name, id#, and e-mail contact. The grounds for Academic Consideration are detailed in the Undergraduate and Graduate Calendars.

Drop Date

Students will have until the last day of classes to drop courses without academic penalty. The deadline to drop two-semester courses will be the last day of classes in the second semester. This applies to all students (undergraduate, graduate and diploma) except for Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Associate Diploma in Veterinary Technology (conventional and alternative delivery) students. The regulations and procedures for course registration are available in their respective Academic Calendars.

Copies of Out-of-class Assignments

Keep paper and/or other reliable back-up copies of all out-of-class assignments: you may be asked to resubmit work at any time.


The University promotes the full participation of students who experience disabilities in their academic programs. To that end, the provision of academic accommodation is a shared responsibility between the University and the student.

When accommodations are needed, the student is required to first register with Student Accessibility Services (SAS). Documentation to substantiate the existence of a disability is required; however, interim accommodations may be possible while that process is underway.

Accommodations are available for both permanent and temporary disabilities. It should be noted that common illnesses such as a cold or the flu do not constitute a disability.

Use of the SAS Exam Centre requires students to book their exams at least 7 days in advance and not later than the 40th Class Day.

For Guelph students, information can be found on the SAS website


Academic Integrity

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 encourages academic integrity. 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.

Recording of Materials

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


The Academic Calendars are the source of information about the University of Guelph’s procedures, policies, and regulations that apply to undergraduate, graduate, and diploma programs.

Academic Calendars