Introductory Electricity and Magnetism (PHYS*1010)

Code and section: PHYS*1010*01

Term: Winter 2023

Instructor: Sameer Al-Abdul-Wahid, James Ball


Section 1: Instructional Support

Section 1.1: Course Instructors

Instructor Office Location Email
Sameer Al-Abdul-Wahid
(weeks 1-6)
Science Complex 1246
James Ball
(weeks 7-12)
MacN 316

Section 2: Learning Resources

Section 2.1: Course Website

Course material, news, announcements, and grades will be regularly posted to the PHYS*1010 Courselink site:

You are responsible for checking the site regularly. Please ensure that your grades are recorded correctly and notify the course instructor of any discrepancies.

Section 2.2: Required Resources

Textbook (Required)

  • R. Hawkes, J. Iqbal, F. Mansour, M. Milner-Bolotin, P. Williams, Physics for Scientists and Engineers 2nd edition, Nelson 2018

If you previously purchased access to the eBook via Top Hat in a previous semester (e.g. PHYS*1130), you should have “lifetime access” – please see here for more details from Top Hat.

Courselink Website

Pre-lecture readings will be assigned for almost all lectures and posted on Courselink. The equation sheets for exams will be posted on Courselink and students are encouraged to use them as they work through the problems throughout the semester.

iOLab Version 2.0 with Electricity & Magnetism accessory pack

You may already have this from PHYS*1130. Can be purchased from the bookstore or rented from MacMillan Learning:

Section 2.3: Communication and E-Mail Policy

Lectures and tutorial sessions are your primary opportunity to ask questions about the course. The Course Instructor will be available to provide help in his office – regular office hours will be announced during the first week of class. If you wish to obtain help from your instructor at another time, please email to make an appointment or see him before or after lectures to arrange a mutually convenient time. Short questions can often be handled in the lecture room just before or after lectures.

Section 3: Assessment

Section 3.1: Grade Breakdown

Assessment Tool Weighting
Tutorial Quizzes (5) 25%
Laboratory experiments (5) 20%
Midterm test (closed book, covers weeks 1-6) 25%
Final exam (closed book, covers the course) 30%

Midterm Exam Details

The midterm examination is tentatively scheduled for Friday, March 3, at 6:30 PM, in Rozanski Hall 104. Please notify the instructor of any scheduling conflicts well in advance. There will be no makeup midterm exam. If you miss the midterm exam due to illness or compassionate reasons, you need to provide the instructor with documentation (see your Program Counselor if you require assistance).

Final Exam Details

The final examination is scheduled for Monday, April 17, 11:30am – 1:30 pm (location TBA). If you miss the final examination, see your Program Counselor. Refer to “General Information for Academic Consideration and Appeals” in your Undergraduate Calendar.

Section 3.2: Course Grading Policies

Missed Assessments

If you miss a tutorial, email both your TA AND the TA for a different timeslot later in the week, asking if you can switch your tutorial section for that week. It is important to email both TA’s so your quiz grade does not get lost.

If you are unable to attend an alternate tutorial section or are unable to meet a course requirement due to medical or compassionate reasons, please email details of your situation to as soon as possible.

See the undergraduate calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Consideration.

Accommodation of Religious Obligations

If you are unable to meet an in-course requirement due to religious obligations, please email the course instructor within two weeks of the start of the semester to make alternate arrangements. See the undergraduate calendar for information on regulations and procedures for Academic Accommodation of Religious Obligations.

Mark Adjustments

If you have questions about any grade, please inquire promptly after the material has been returned to you.

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.

Section 4: Aims and Course Objectives

Section 4.1: 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.

Section 4.2: 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.

Section 4.3: 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.

Section 4.4: 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, and clickers and classroom discussions will be extensively used to help students achieve their learning goals.

Section 4.5: Students’ Learning Responsibility

Students are expected to take advantage of the learning opportunities provided during lectures, tutorials and drop-in help 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 tutorials and are expected to complete the assigned homework in a timely fashion. Do not leave homework until the week before the midterm and/or final exams as this historically puts students at a much higher risk of failing the course.

Section 4.6: 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 4U Physics, Grade 12 Physics, or equivalent.


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

Section 5: Teaching and Learning Activities

Section 5.1: Timetable


Section Day Time Location
1xx Monday, Wednesday, Friday 12:30 – 13:20 MACN 105
2xx Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:30 – 10:20 THRN 1200

Tutorials (see the weekly schedule, as tutorials do not run every week)

Section Day Time Room TA (Email)
102 Monday 4:00-5:20 PM MACN 301 TBD
103 Wednesday 1:30-2:50 PM MACN 301 TBD
104 Wednesday 4:00-5:20 PM MACN 301 TBD
105 Friday 1:30-2:50 PM MACN 301 TBD
106 Thursday 7:00-8:20 PM MACN 301 TBD
107 Thursday 2:30-3:50 PM MACN 301 TBD
108 Thursday 4:00-5:20 PM MACN 301 TBD
109 Monday 10:30-11:50 AM MACN 301 TBD
110 Monday 1:30-2:50 PM MACN 301 TBD
202 Monday 4:00-5:20 PM MACN 415 TBD
203 Wednesday 1:30-2:50 PM MACN 415 TBD
204 Wednesday 4:00-5:20 PM MACN 415 TBD
205 Friday 1:30-2:50 PM MACN 415 TBD
206 Thursday 7:00-8:20 PM MACN 415 TBD
207 Thursday 2:30-3:50 PM MACN 415 TBD
208 Thursday 4:00-5:20 PM MACN 415 TBD
209 Monday 10:30-11:50 AM MACN 415 TBD
210 Monday 1:30-2:50 PM MACN 415 TBD

Students are responsible for all information presented in lectures, tutorials, and the lab assignments. Active participation by students in the tutorials and lectures is highly encouraged! Unless alternative arrangements have been made in advance, students must attend their scheduled tutorial period and room, as all sections are full.

Every student has the right to participate and contribute in lectures and tutorials. If a student feels that there is something preventing their full contribution, they must notify the course instructor or tutorial instructor as soon as possible. We cannot fix problems that we are not aware of! The learning environment must be free from harassment and offensive or inappropriate (homophobic, racist, sexist, etc.) comments are strictly prohibited.

Lab Due Dates (see also weekly schedule)

Lab Title Due Date
1 Equipotential and Electric Field Lines Tuesday January 31, 10:00 PM
2 Ohm’s law and Diodes Tuesday February 14, 10:00 PM
3 Kirchhoff’s laws Tuesday March 7, 10:00 PM
4 Magnetism Tuesday March 21, 10:00 PM
5 RC & RL Circuits Tuesday April 4, 10:00 PM

Drop-in Help Sessions

Drop-in help sessions are only offered on the weeks that there are no tutorials. A tentative schedule for drop-in help is shown below. Based on student needs these times may be modified (e.g., additional times added for midterm/exam help). Any changes will be communicated in lecture and in the Courselink Announcements section

Day Topic Time Room
Monday Lab help session 11:30 AM – 12:50 PM MacN 304
Tuesday Lab help session 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM MacN 304
Thursday General help session 11:30 AM – 1:20 PM MacN 304

Section 5.2: Other Important Dates

Monday April 10 is the final class day, the last day to drop one semester courses.

Section 5.3: Tentative Course Schedule

Week Date Material Covered in Lecture Tutorial or Drop-in Sessions Lab Due
01 Jan 9 Electric charges, materials
Coulomb’s law
Electric fields
No tutorial or drop-in sessions N/A
02 Jan 16 Electric fields (more)
Motion of charges in fields
Continuous charge distributions
Tutorial N/A
03 Jan 23 Work done by an electric field
Electric potential energy
Electric potential
Tutorial and Quiz N/A
04 Jan 30 Field lines and equipotential
surfaces Electric Flux & Gauss’ Law
The electric dipole
Drop-in sessions Lab 1: Equipotential and Electric Field Lines
Due Tuesday 10:00 PM
05 Feb 6 Capacitance
Capacitors and dielectrics
The flow of charges, resistance
and electromotive force
Introduce Ohm’s Law
Tutorial and Quiz N/A
06 Feb 13 Ohm’s Law, Power
Review for Midterm
Drop-in sessions Lab 2: Ohm’s law and Diodes
Due Tuesday 10:00 PM
N/A Feb 20 Winter Break – No classes or tutorials N/A N/A
07 Feb 27 Kirchhoff’s laws
RC circuits
Tutorial and Quiz N/A
08 Mar 6 Magnetism
Force due to magnetic field
Motion of charges in magnetic field
Magnetic dipoles
Drop-in sessions Lab 3: Kirchhoff’s Laws
Due Tuesday 10:00 PM
09 Mar 13 Sources of magnetic field
Ampere’s Law
Motional emf
Tutorial and Quiz N/A
10 Mar 20 Magnetic flux
Faraday-Lenz Law
Drop-in sessions Lab 4: Magnetism
Due Tuesday 10:00 PM
11 Mar 27 Inductors
RC and RL circuits
Maxwell’s Eqns -> EM waves
Tutorial and Quiz N/A
12 Apr 3 Review Drop-in sessions Lab 5: RC & RL Circuits
Due Tuesday 10:00 PM


The information in the table column title “Material Covered in Lecture” 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! You are responsible for what is said in class, whether or not you are in attendance.

Laboratory Experiments

The laboratory experiments are described in detail on the course website as PDF files. Experiments are to be completed remotely and reports handed in by Courselink prior to the deadlines in the table above.

Section 6: Medical and Compassionate Consideration

Section 6.1: Medical Consideration

Attendance at the tutorial/lab periods is, of course, very important. If you miss a laboratory experiment because of illness or for compassionate reasons, please see your laboratory/tutorial instructor for possible academic consideration. In general, you will not be required to submit a medical certificate if only one lab/quiz is missed in the semester.

If you miss the midterm exam, please inform your course professor as soon as possible.

If you miss the final exam, you must consult your Program Counsellor.

For more details regarding academic consideration, appeals and petitions, refer to your Undergraduate Calendar.

Section 7: Academic Misconduct and Collaboration

Section 7.1: Collaboration

Collaboration and communication are essential for progress and advancement; much of modern society is built upon them. However, mastering the problem-solving skills, including the development of the necessary mathematical techniques, involves independent study that is irreplaceable. Collaborative teamwork is useful after you have thoroughly studied the material and attempted the problems on your own. While students are encouraged to share ideas and help each other, all material submitted for grading must be each student's own work. Plagiarism is a form of academic misconduct and will not be tolerated.

A good guideline when it comes to crossing the line from collaboration to academic misconduct (see next section) is that a student must never look at another student’s solution. For the vast majority of students, they will be incapable at arriving at their own form of a solution after they have seen a complete solution. For students seeking help from their peers, ask conceptual questions as opposed to “How do you do Question 2?”. For student helping their peers, never give the answer explicitly, but explain your reasoning.

Section 7.2: 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.

Section 8: Accessibility

Section 8.1: Accessibility

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 the Student Accessibility Services as soon as possible.

For more information, contact SAS at 519-824-4120 ext. 52073 or email or see the SAS website.

Section 8.2: Electronic Recording of Classes

The electronic recording of classes is expressly forbidden without the prior consent of the instructor. This prohibition extends to all components of the course, including, but not limited to, lectures, tutorials, and lab instruction, whether conducted by the instructor or teaching assistant, or other designated person. 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.

Section 9: Course Evaluation

Section 9.1: 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’s 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’s 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.