PHY 331 - Principles of Modern Electromagnetism

Fall 2008

Instructor: Dr. Igor A. Shovkovy


Monday, Wednesday, Friday


12:55 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.


Academic Center 140 (Polytechnic)

Description: A study of the unified description of electromagnetic phenomena provided by Maxwell’s equations in differential and integral form. The planned list of topics includes Maxwell’s equations,  electrostatic fields, Laplace’s and Poisson’s equations, dielectrics, magnetic fields and materials, electromagnetic induction and Faraday’s law, displacement current and Ampere’s law, electromagnetic waves, and, if time permits, the photon theory of light.

Objectives: Students develop a sound theoretical understanding of electromagnetism

Prerequisites: APM 270 (Mathematics of Change I), MAT 274 (Elementary Differential Equations) or MAT 275 (Modern Differential Equations). Students should have practical knowledge of using differential equations to solve physics problems.

Textbook: Introduction to Electrodynamics (3rd edition) by David J. Griffiths.   griffiths.png

Attendance policy: Attendance is required. Students are responsible for all material presented in class, all homework, and for all changes to the schedule or plans announced in class.

My office is Wanner Hall 101L (Polytechnic campus)

My office telephone number is 480-727-1953

My e-mail address is

Office hours: Monday and Wednesday from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m, and by appointment.

Grading policy:


35 points

Midterm exams

30 points


10 points

Final exam

25 points


100 points


The grades will be determined as follows:

A (88-100 points),   B (75-87.9 points),   C (62-74.9 points),   D (50-61.9 points),   F (<50 points)

Homework. Homework is truly one of the most important components in this course. This is because doing homework is the only way to really learn the material and build a good intuition for physics. Solving physics problems effectively is a skill that students must develop. The only known way to achieve this is by practicing. The lectures will only cover the key concepts. The text will elaborate on these concepts and provide further explanation of their meaning and on how one uses them to solve problems. There is no way to do well in this course if you do not give the homework assignments the effort they require. (Allow about 6 hours per week for homework assignments.)

Your homework assignment should be neatly and clearly written. The front page should list your name, the date and the homework assignment number. Each problem should be clearly labeled. The problem solutions should contain detailed explanations. Late homework will not be accepted. However, your lowest single homework score will be dropped.

Midterm exams. There will be two midterm exams on the dates shown below in the tentative schedule. Each midterm exam covers the chapters covered since the beginning of the course, or since the last midterm exam. Textbooks and notes will not be permitted during the exams.

Quizzes. There will be 2 or 3 short quizzes during the semester. Books and notes will not be permitted during quizzes. The tentative dates of quizzes are given in the schedule below, but the actual dates will be announced in class. Quizzes will cover issues from the homework assignments, from the lecture, or from the textbook.

Final Exam. A comprehensive final exam is scheduled for December 12, 2008 (Friday) at 9:50 a.m. Textbooks and notes will not be permitted during the final exam.

Electronic devices. The use of cell phones, pagers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), iPods, laptops, and other similar electronic devices is not permitted during lectures, exams and quizzes.

Tentative schedule

The exact schedule for lectures, quizzes and examinations will depend on how long it takes to cover the material. The following is my best guess as of now (August 2008). 



Tentative schedule

August 25

First class

September 1

Labor Day – No class

September 26

1st quiz

October 6

1st mid-term exam

October 31

2nd quiz

November 19

2nd mid-term exam

November 28

Thanksgiving Holiday – No class

December 5

3rd quiz

December 8

Last class

Dec 12, 2008

FINAL EXAM (9:50 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.)


Selected course materials, handouts, and grades can be obtained from ASU Blackboard.

The course name is PHY331-Principles of Modern Electromagnetism (Fall 2008).

For student rights and responsibilities see the ASU web page:

ADA policy: ASU provides equal opportunity to qualified employees and students, and to members of the general public who have a disability and provides reasonable accommodation as appropriate in employment, the application for employment, services, programs, and activities. Individuals with a disability are those who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity, have a record of such impairment, or are regarded as having such impairment. ADA coordinator must be contacted for assistance in all matters pertaining to compliance with this policy. The Disability Resource Center contact numbers are 480-965-1234 (Voice), 480-965-9000 (TTY).

Last modified August 20, 2008