DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU

Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Electricity and Magnetism
Module Code PS104
School School of Physical Sciences
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Paul Van Kampen
Semester 2: Paul Van Kampen
Autumn: Paul Van Kampen
Module TeachersPaul Van Kampen
Eilish McLoughlin
Robert O'Connor
Jennifer Gaughran
Karsten Fleischer
Shane O'Sullivan
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Repeat examination

The module gives students a broad, rigorous introduction to electricity and magnetism treated as distinct phenomena in the statics approximation.

Learning Outcomes

1. Explain the basic electric and magnetic interactions due to charged particles and currents
2. Describe electric and magnetic interactions between point charges in terms of force, field, and potential
3. Predict the motion of charged particles in electric and magnetic fields
4. Explain the basic physics of capacitors, inductors, and resistors
5. Predict the behaviour of direct current circuits with capacitors and resistors using macroscopic and microscopic descriptions
6. Communicate occurrences of electricity and magnetism in technology or biology

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture36Class based instruction, a mix of lecture and small-group tutorials as required
Assignment Completion20Research on chosen topic
Independent Study69Homework, exam preparation
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Learning Activities
The online platform provided by Pearson is used to have students prepare for each topic/textbook chapter by answering pre-lecture questions. All lectures combine some dissemination of knowledge, small-group discussions on conceptual and selected symbolic and numerical problems, and anonymous polling. At the end of each chapter, students are assigned a Dynamic Study Assignment and about 90 minutes of homework problems and exercises.

Electric charge and Electric field
Electric charge, Structure of matter, conservation of charge, conductors, insulators, induced charge. Coulomb's law, electric field and forces. Electric field calculations. Field lines. Electric dipoles. Introduction to Gauss' Law.

Electric Potential
Electric potential energy: Electric potential energy in uniform fields and point charges. Electric Potential: Calculation of potential, potential as an integral of E. Equipotentials and field lines.

Capacitance, Capacitors and dielectrics
Capacitance in vacuum, capacitors in series and parallel, capacitors network. Link with electric field and electric potential. Energy storage in capacitors. Dielectrics: Induced charge and polarisation

Direct Current Circuits
Current, current flow and drift velocity. Ideal and non-ideal batteries. Surface charges and equipotential lines in dc circuits. Resistivity: Resistance, temperature dependence, I-V plot. Electromotive force of a battery and electric circuits. Energy and power in electric circuits. Resistors in series and parallel. Kirchhoff's rules and analysis of complex circuits. Measuring instruments. RC circuits.

Magnetic Field and Magnetic Forces
Magnetism and magnetic field, magnetic forces on moving charges, magnetic field lines. Motion of charged particles in magnetic field: mass spectrometers. Magnetic force on current carrying conductor, force and torque on a current loop. Mutual and self inductance.

Sources of Magnetic field
Lorentz force. Magnetic force and field. Magnetic field of a moving charge, current element, Biot and Savart law. Magnetic force on a moving charge and a current-carrying loop. Magnetic moment. Current-carrying wire as a source of magnetic field.

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment40% Examination Weight60%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Group assignmentStudents discuss their research on a topic they are interested in that is related to electricity and magnetism in an interactive oral.15%Sem 2 End
AssignmentHomework assignments15%Every Week
In Class TestIn-term exam in the same style as the end-of-term exam10%Week 4
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Young and Freedman: 0, University Physics, 15th Edition, Chapters 21,23,24,25,26,27, parts of 28, Pearson,
  • Jewett/Serway: 2008, Physics for Scientists and Engineers, 7th Edition, chapters 23 - 30, Thomson Brooks COle,
  • Griffith: 2007, The Physics of Everyday Phenomena - A conceptual introduction to Physics, 5th Edition, Unit Three Electricity and Magnetism, McGraw-Hill,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
BSSAStudy Abroad (DCU Business School)
BSSAOStudy Abroad (DCU Business School)
HMSAStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
HMSAOStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
IESAStudy Abroad (Institute of Education)
IESAOStudy Abroad (Institute of Education)
PGEPhysics General Entry
SEBSc Science Education
SHSAStudy Abroad (Science & Health)
SHSAOStudy Abroad (Science & Health)
Date of Last Revision21-APR-10

My DCU | Loop | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement