8.022 | Fall 2004 | Undergraduate

Physics II: Electricity and Magnetism


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Recitations: 2 sessions / week, 1 hour / session

Labs: 3 sessions / week, 3 hours / session


Purcell, E. M. Electricity and Magnetism. Berkeley Physics Course. Vol. 2. 2nd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Science/Engineering/Math, August 1, 1984. ISBN: 9780070049086.


Griffiths, D. J. Introduction to Electrodynamics. 3rd ed. Upper Saddler River, NJ: Prentice Hall, December 30, 1998. ISBN: 9780138053260.

Comments: Griffiths is slightly more advanced than Purcell, more math oriented, less words and more concepts: a really good book if you can handle it! In addition, some reading material will be provided in paper or electronic form (see handouts).


Two Quizzes (20% each) 40%
Homework and Recitation 25%
Laboratory (2 out of 3 needed to pass) not graded*
Final Exam 35%

*You may not pass the course without completing the laboratory requirements (see below).


  1. Two in-class exams during normal class hours:

    • Quiz #1 in session 9
    • Quiz #2 in session 19
  2. Final exam
    NB: all exams are closed books and closed notes. A missed exam will receive zero grade unless students contact their instructors in advance to make other arrangements.


There will be 12 homework assignments. You will have at least one week’s time to work on each problem set (except for pset 0).

No late homework will be accepted without prior approval by an instructor. If you know you are going to be late for any good reason (e.g., religious observance, family obligation, illness), make arrangements with your section professor to hand in your assignment late.


In order to pass the course you are required to complete successfully two out of the three offered laboratory exercises (you are welcome to complete all three, but no extra credit will be given for the third one). Each laboratory exercise takes about 1 hour to complete. Laboratory topics are:

  • Electrostatics
  • RCL Circuits
  • Microwaves and Radios

Thoughts and Recommendations

Electromagnetism is a vast and fascinating topic. Electromagnetic interactions are responsible for a wide variety of processes: they move the electric charges in the electric circuits, they hold together electrons and nucleons in atoms, they determine the properties of materials… Even the light itself is nothing but electromagnetic radiation!

In 8.022 you will learn the basics of Electricity and Magnetism (E&M) that will carry you far in an understanding of the universe around you. This is a fun course, both to take and to teach, but be aware that it is very demanding! A lot of new concepts and new math are introduced in 8.022. Calculus is assumed from the start; moreover, it is assumed you have taken or are enrolled in a course in multi-variable calculus (18.02 or 18.022).

8.022 is geared towards students who are looking for a thorough and challenging introduction to electricity and magnetism. Doing well takes a lot of work. If you are not ready for the challenge, 8.02T may be a better choice for you. The first exam is scheduled in session 9, so you will have enough time to move to 8.02T if you discover that this is not the right course for you.

What Do We Expect From You?


Lectures and Recitations are fundamental. This is where you will understand the concepts, will interact with your instructors and fellow students, will bring up any of your questions.


Doing problems is essential to learning this material. If you cannot do the homework on your own, you will not be able to pass the exam, and it’s highly recommended to switch to a less demanding course. It’s OK to discuss problems in a study group, or with a friend. However, in the end you are expected to write up the solution to a problem from scratch on your own.


There will be 3 laboratory assignments scheduled in the evenings over the semester. You must complete 2 of these 3 in order to pass the course; failure to complete 2 will result in an incomplete. Each should take about 1 hour.


There will be 2 exams mainly covering the most recent material that will test your understanding of concepts. A table with most frequently used formulas will be given to you together with the exam.


There will also be a final exam covering the whole course material.

Though demanding, this should be a fun course: I hope you will enjoy it!

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2004
Learning Resource Types
Problem Sets
Lecture Notes