Introductory Electricity and Magnetism (PHYS*1010)

Code and section: PHYS*1010*01

Term: Winter 2021

Instructor: Maher Bakri-Kassem


Course Information

Important: Please retain this material and consult it regularly during the semester. This information will be important to you as the course progresses.

Course Prerequisite: 
Credit Weighting: 0.50 credits


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.  
Aims and Course Objectives

Calendar Description

This is a course for engineering and physical science students on the phenomena of electromagnetism and introductory DC circuit analysis. Topics include electric charges and fields, electric potential and current, electric resistance, capacitance, inductance, magnetic fields, electric circuits, Ohm's Law, and application of Kirchhoff's Laws to node and mesh analysis of DC circuits. The course will conclude with an introduction to AC circuits.

Course Aims

Due to the ubiquitous nature of electric charge in nature and technological applications, the theoretical framework describing electromagnetic interactions is necessary in fields as diverse as engineering, physics, biology, and chemistry.  This course serves as a survey of classical electromagnetic theory, starting with Coulomb’s law governing interactions of charged systems and culminating with the experimental evidence that led to the development of modern quantum theory.  The main goals of this course are (1) to teach students the fundamental concepts in electricity, magnetism and elementary circuit theory, (2) to teach students how to collect and analyze experimental data including rigorous error analysis and (3) to prepare students for intermediate and advanced science courses that build on electricity and magnetism.

Learning Objectives

At the successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge of technical problem solving and critical thinking skills.
  • obtain high quality experimental data and assign appropriate experimental uncertainty to measured values.
  • analyze experimental data using rigorous error analysis and correct accuracy, precision, digits and dimensional homogeneity to verify physical theories.
  • clearly articulate and differentiate the vector (electric fields, Coulomb’s law) and scalar (electric potential, electric potential energy) formalisms of electrostatics.
  • use the superposition principle to derive the electric field and electric potential arising from collections of point charges using summation or integration.
  • articulate knowledge of electric current, resistance and capacitance in terms of electric field and electric potential.
  • use Ohm’s law and Kirchhoff’s rules to analyze direct current (DC) circuits consisting of parallel and/or series combinations of voltage sources and resistors.
  • describe the magnetic field produced by magnetic dipoles and electric currents.
  • use Faraday-Lenz and Faraday-Maxwell laws to articulate the relationship between electric and magnetic fields and how magnetic fields can be exploited to generate electricity.

Instructor’s Role and Responsibility to Students

The instructor’s role is to develop and deliver course material in ways that facilitate learning for students with differing learning aptitudes.  Lecture notes will be provided on Courselink after lectures for students who struggle to get everything copied in lecture, but these notes are not intended to replace the lecture experience.  Discussions resulting from student questions, for example, are of particular importance for students.

During lectures, the instructor will expand and explain the content of the assigned course reading, and example problems will be discussed.  Due to time constraints, these problems cannot simulate the difficulty of problems students can expect on the exams or quizzes but are instead intended to reinforce concepts discussed in lecture.  Lecture demonstrations will be provided where appropriate.

Students’ Learning Responsibility

Students are expected to take advantage of the learning opportunities provided during lectures and laboratory periods.  Students having difficulty with the course content are advised to consult with the course instructor when they encounter concepts:  do not wait until the week before an exam or (worse) after an exam to approach the instructor…this is too late!

Students who do (or may) fall behind due to illness, work, or extra-curricular activities (including varsity sports, student leadership activities, etc.) are advised to keep the instructor informed such that extra resources or accommodation can be provided if appropriate.

Students are expected to attend lectures and are expected to do the practice the suggested problems in the weekly guide.  Do not leave practicing problem solving until the week before the midterm and/or final exams as this historically puts students at a much higher risk of failing the course.

Relationship with Other Courses & Labs

Prerequisite Courses

Students must have completed one of IPS*1500, MATH*1080, or MATH*1200.  Students must also have completed one of 4U Physics, Grade 12 Physics, or PHYS*1020.


Students that have already completed IPS*1510 cannot receive credit for PHYS*1010.

Text & Other Materials


  1. Textbook:
    a) PHYSICS FOR SCIENTISTS AND ENGINEERS, AN INTERACTIVE APPROACH, 2ND EDITION 2019, Hawkes, Iqbal, Mansour, Milner-Bolotin, Williams. Available in the Campus Bookstore (1st floor MacNaughton) or the Co-op Bookstore (Johnston Hall).
  2. This Course Outline: includes important dates and deadlines, lecture schedule, evaluation information.

Course Access

Students in this course are required to access Courselink to complete all course evaluations. As soon as possible, you should log-in to Courselink and establish a course profile:

Course Related Information and Contact

1st Main Course Contact

Quiz Room Supervisor Office Extension Email
Cindy Wells Off campus N/A

Please contact the Quiz Room Supervisor with all course related inquiries and immediately email to report any illness or errors in your Courselink record.


Lecturer Office Extension Email
Maher Bakri-Kassem Off campus N/A

Lecture Sections

Section Day Time
01 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12:30pm - 1:20pm
02 Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:30 am - 11:20 am

Tentative Lecture Schedule

Week Dates Topic(s) Monday
4:30 - 5:30 pm
Labs Weekly
1 Jan 11-15 -    Electric charges, materials (conductors/insulators)
-    Coulomb’s law
-    Electric fields
N/A N/A 1
2 Jan 18-22 -    Electric fields (more)
-    Motion of charges in fields
-    Continuous charge distributions
N/A N/A 2
3 Jan 25-29 -    Work done by an electric field Electric 
-    potential energy
-    Electric potential
Quiz 1 N/A 3
4 Feb 1-5 -    Field lines and equipotential surfaces 
-    Electric Flux & Gauss’ Law 
-    The electric dipole
Quiz 2 N/A 4
5 Feb 8-12 -    Capacitance 
-    Capacitors and dielectrics
-    The flow of charges, resistance and  electromotive force
-    Introduce Ohm’s Law
Quiz 3  Lab1
Whole Week
  Feb 15-19 Winter Break N/A N/A N/A
6 Feb 22-26 -    Ohm’s Law, Power
-    Kirchhoff’s laws**
Quiz 4 N/A 6
7 Mar 1-5 -    Kirchhoff’s laws**
-    RC circuits
Quiz 5 N/A 7
8 Mar 8-12 -    Magnetism
-    Force due to magnetic field
-    Motion of charges in magnetic field
-    Magnetic dipoles
Midterm exam
Lab 2
Whole Week
9 Mar 15-19 -    Sources of magnetic field
-    Ampere’s Law
-    Motional emf
Quiz 6 N/A 9
10 Mar 22-26 -    Magnetic flux
-    Faraday-Lenz Law
-    Inductance
Quiz 7 N/A 10
11 Mar 29-Apr 1 -    Inductors
-    RC and RL circuits
-    Maxwell’s Eqns -> EM waves
Quiz 8 Lab 3
Whole Week
12 Apr 5-9 -    Review N/A N/A N/A

** last topic on midterm exam

Note: The information in the “Lecture Topic” column is provided as a rough guide for the term. Future announcements about changes to the table or of any kind will be made in class and posted on Courselink; these announcements take precedence over the original course outline!

Course Assessment

Assessment Weight
Quizzes (7 x 4%)
(see below for information on quiz deadlines and notes)
Labs (3 x 4%)  12 %
Midterm 20%
Final Exam  40%


Quizzes will be administered via Courselink and take place during your scheduled weekly seminar time (Mondays at 4:30 pm).  You must access the quiz within the first 14 minutes of your scheduled quiz period.  

Quizzes will consist of multiple choice and calculation-based questions in which only the final answer is submitted plus 1 problem worth 4 marks, that students will complete work on paper, then upload a picture of their work into the Courselink quiz. This question will be hand marked by the graduate teaching assistants.

There are 8 quizzes and your best 7 grades make up the quiz evaluation portion of your final grade.  Quizzes are marked out of 10 points and you awarded a mark out of 10.  Each quiz attributes 4% of your final grade ie 7 x 4% = 28%


There are 3 experiments to be done. These experiments are done using IO carts. Students will meet with TAs virtually before the lab is due. Students will work in zoom groups to prepare for the labs. The labs will be submitted via Courselink by the indicated dates.  

Lab outlines, deadlines and lab help sessions will be discussed in the first week of class.

No lab exemptions will be granted for labs completed in another semester.

Quiz and Lab Deadlines and Important Notes

Week Date Notes
3 Monday Jan 25
4:30- 5:30
Quiz 1 on Weekly Guide 1
4 Monday Feb 1 Quiz 2 on Weekly Guide 2
5 Monday Feb 11 Quiz 3 on Weekly Guide 3
5 Feb 8 – Feb 12 Lab1: Electrostatic Field mapping due Midnight
  Feb 15 – Feb 19 Winter Break
6 Monday Feb 22 Quiz 4 on Weekly Guide 4
7 Monday Mar 1 Quiz 5 on Weekly Guide 5
8 Monday Mar 8 Midterm Exam on Weekly Guides 1-6
8 Mar 8 – Mar 12 Lab 2: Kirchhoff’s law due Midnight
9 Monday Mar 15 Quiz 6 on Weekly Guide 7
10 Monday Mar 22  Quiz 7 on Weekly Guide 8
11 Monday Mar 29 Quiz 8 on Weekly Guide 9
11 Mar 29 – Apr 1 Lab 3: Magnetic field induction due Midnight

Midterm and Final Examinations

Midterm Exam Date: Monday March 8
Final Exam Date: (comprehensive) Thursday April 15, 7 pm

Obtaining Help in the Course

a)    Help may be obtained from the lecturer during weekly live meetings which are posted on Courselink.
b)    TA help support: (days and times TBA) 

Course and University Policies

Passing Grade

In order to pass the course, you must obtain a final grade of 50% or higher. There is no mandatory requirement that students pass specific elements of the course, such as the midterm and final exams.

Academic Misconduct

The University of Guelph takes a serious view of academic misconduct and will severely penalize students, faculty and staff who are found guilty of offences associated with misappropriation of others' work, misrepresentation of personal performance and fraud, improper access to scholarly resources, and obstructing others in pursuit of their academic endeavors.  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. Each student is assumed to be familiar with the regulations surrounding academic misconducts, as spelled out in the Undergraduate Calendar academic misconduct section.

Accuracy of Records

It is your responsibility to use Courselink to check that your marks are recorded correctly.  Please check your record often and report any discrepancies immediately to the Quiz Room Supervisor Cindy Wells ( As an aid, a ‘Personal Record Form’ is provided on Courselink. You should use this form to record your quiz attempts, etc., and from time to time check the computer record against your personal record.


"The University will not normally require verification of illness (doctor's notes) for fall 2020 or winter 2021 semester courses.  However, requests for Academic Consideration may still require medical documentation as appropriate".

If you miss the midterm or final examination because of illness or for other reasons, consult regulations in the current Undergraduate Calendar.

Course Notices

From time to time, notices pertaining to the course will be posted on Courselink as a news item, and/or given in lectures. It is your responsibility to keep yourself informed regarding these special announcements.

E-mail 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.

Drop Date

The last date to drop one-semester courses, without academic penalty, is Monday, April 12. For regulations and procedures for Dropping Courses, see the Undergraduate Calendar “Dropping Courses” section.


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 as soon as possible. SAS will email the Quiz Room Supervisor (Cindy Wells) with approved accommodations that will be documented in the quiz room. 

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

Recording of Materials

Presentations which are made in relation to course work—including lectures—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.

Use of Personal Information 

Personal information is used by University officials in order to carry out their authorized academic and administrative responsibilities and also to establish a relationship for alumni and development purposes. The University of Guelph’s policy on the Collection, Use and Disclosure of Personal Information can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Final Examination Conflicts

The University’s policy regarding examination conflicts, as stated in the Undergraduate Calendar, is as follows: “Students who drop and add courses are required to consult the examination timetable to avoid conflicts in examination times.  Written approval must be obtained from the dean or director and the instructor-in-charge of the course to register in courses that have conflicting examination times.”

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 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. 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.