Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism
Academic Year
Semester 2
Mutually Exclusive
Not available to students on 3 year BSc (Hons) or 4 year MPhys schemes
GCSE Mathematics and Science, or equivalent
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 11 x 2 Hour Lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Continuous Assessment - Tests in weeks 6 and 11  20%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   written end of semester examination  80%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   written examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

After taking this module students should be able to:

  • Calculate the force on a charged particle in electric and magnetic fields.
  • Describe the motion of a charged particle in a uniform electric or magnetic field.
  • Calculate the potential of a system of charged particles.
  • Describe the structure and function of resistors, and capacitors.
  • Carry out calculations on capacitors involving stored energy, charging and discharging.
  • Calculate internal resistance, energy and power in DC circuits.
  • Calculate DC currents and voltages in resistor networks using Kirchoff's rules.
  • Calculate reactance and impedance in AC circuits.
  • Use phasor diagrams, vector methods and complex numbers to analyse AC circuits.
  • Apply conditions for resonance in RCL circuits.

Brief description

The concept of electric charge is introduced and electric force, field and potential are explained in terms of Coulomb's Law with illustrative examples. The flow of charge is considered and this leads to Ohm's Law and the concept of resistance. Capacitors and resistors are examined and examples are given of their use in electric circuits. A brief introduction to magnetism.


Electric Charge:

Positive and negative charge.
Conductors, insulators and semiconductors.
Coulomb's Law.
Electric field, potential and equipotentials.
Force on and motion of charged particle in a uniform electric field.
Charge and discharge of capacitors, time constant and half life decay.
Capacitors - construction, series and parallel combinations, stored energy.

DC Electricity:

Current and resistance;resistance, Ohm's Law, resistivity, ammeters, voltmeters.
DC circuits - resistors in series and parallel, internal resistance, energy, power.
Potential dicider circuits.
Kirchoff's rules.

AC Electricity:

AC currents in resistive, capacitive and inductive circuits; reactance and impedence.
Analysis of AC circuits using phasor diagrams, vector methods and complex numbers.
Power and phase angle.
RCL circuits in series and parallel, conditions for resonance.


Force on Particle.


This module is at CQFW Level 3