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IF1613 Electromagnetism and Waves 7.5 credits

Course offering missing for current semester as well as for previous and coming semesters
Headings with content from the Course syllabus IF1613 (Autumn 2015–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

  • Electrostatics: Field strength and electrical potential, Gauss' law, metals and dielectrics, the capacitor, electrostatic energy. 
  • Magnetism: Origin, magnetic forces, magnetic materials, coils, magnetic energy.
  • Technical applications, magnetic induction. 
  • Maxwell's equations. 
  • Fundamental notions of waves. 
  • Electromagnetic waves: Generation, polarization, interference and diffraction, technical applications.

Intended learning outcomes

The course has two principal goals: To provide knowledge and understanding of basic electromagnetism, and to obtain dexterousness in engineering problem-solving. 

Electromagnetism: The history of electromagnetism spans several centuries. Therefore, its terms are a product of history and are not always very logical. After the course, you shall be familiar with the fundamental terms and know the definition of the most common of them. The goal is that you shall be able to speak to electrical engineers as a peer. Electrodynamics can, mathematically speaking, be condensed into Maxwell’s equations. You shall learn these and shall be able to use them to solve electromagnetic problems (see below). In order to harness electromagnetism to solve real-life problems, various components and systems relying on electromagnetic phenomena have been developed. You shall know basic components and phenomena to be able to suggest and explain how various problems can be solved by the means of them. You will become acquainted with optical components and optical measurements through the two sessions of laboratory work. Having completed these, you shall know how to plan and perform a systematic test of a hypothesis and you shall also know how to write a corresponding report in a professional manner. 

Problem solving: After having completed the course you shall be able to translate problems of electromagnetic origin into a mathematical form so that a qualitative or quantitative solution can be obtained. You will frequently find that mathematical models have complicated solutions (or they may lack solution in a closed form). Therefore, one often has to resort to approximations. After completing the course you shall be able to actively use different physical or mathematical approximations and also be able to judge whether or not they are relevant, i.e., if the so-obtained solution is valid. Sometimes not all needed data for the solution of a problem are available. Conversely, one sometimes has irrelevant or redundant data. After completing the course you shall be able to present and give solid argumentation for your solution. This means that you shall be able to motivate whatever assumptions or formulas you have used, and be able to explain why any data you chose to discard is of little or no importance for your solution. Finally, you will find that it is human to err. Simple mistakes and misunderstanding are two common sources. With the help of dimensional analysis of the solution one can detect most, and correct many, errors. After completing the course you shall have adopted the habit of always checking the dimension and magnitude of the result of your calculations to prevent presenting erroneous solutions.

Course disposition

No information inserted

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

  • SF1624 Algebra and Geometry 7,5 credits or equivalent course.
  • SF1625 Calculus in one variable 7,5 credits or equivalent course.
  • IE1206 Embedded Electronics 7,5 credits or equivalent course.

Recommended prerequisites

SF1626 Calculus in Several Variable is strongly recommended


No information inserted


For students studying the Swedish version of the course: "Elektromagnetism" av Lars Alfred Engström, Studentlitteratur, ISBN 91-44-01510.

For students studying the English version of the course: "Primary Theory of Electromagnetics" by Hyo J. Eom, Springer, ISBN 978-94-007-7142-0. Also available electronically from KTHB (ISBN 978-94-007-7143-7 as eBook).

Laboratory instructions that can be downloaded from the course web page.

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • LAB1 - Laboratory Work, 1.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Examination, 6.0 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Other requirements for final grade

Written, problem-based exam. The grading will be based on the exam score. To pass the course, two sessions of laboratory work need to be approved. These will only be offered during the period the course is scheduled.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

No information inserted


Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web IF1613

Offered by

Main field of study

Physics, Technology

Education cycle

First cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted


Urban Westergren

Supplementary information

The course is replaced by SK1118 as from autumn term 2017.