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Electromagnetism, Optics, Modern Physics

Course Code: PHYS 1210
Faculty: Science & Technology
Department: Physics
Credits: 5.0
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Lab, Partially Online
Typically Offered: Winter, Summer
course overview

This is an integral calculus-based course intended for students pursuing a career in Engineering or Physics. Topics include electrostatics; capacitance; direct current circuits; magnetic force and field; electromagnetic induction; ac circuits; circuit simulation; computer design of circuits; wave nature of light; geometric optics; wave optics, elements of quantum, atomic and nuclear physics.

Course Content

  1. Electricity and Magnetism:
    • Electrostatic force and field
    • Electric potential
    • Capacitance
    • Direct current circuits
    • Magnetic force
    • Biot-Savart law and Ampere’s law
    • Electromagnetic induction
    • Magnetic properties of materials
    • Alternating current (ac) circuits
    • Circuit simulation using a computer program such as LTSpice
    • Computer design of circuits using a computer program such as Eagle
  2. Optics
    • Wave nature of light
    • Reflection and refraction
    • Geometric optics
    • Interference and diffraction
    • Polarization
  3. Modern Physics:
    • Photon concept
    • Photoelectric effect
    • Matter waves
    • Quantum numbers
    • Periodic table
    • Laser
    • Nuclear properties
    • Radioactivity

Laboratory Experiments:

  • Charged particles in an electric field
  • Resistance measurements using power supplies with set current limit and digital multimetres
  • Soldering electronic parts such as through hole and surface mount components
  • Circuit analysis / capacitance with power supplies and digital multimeters
  • Oscilloscope applications using power supplies and function and signal generators for measuring frequency response of electronic circuits
  • Moving charge in a magnetic field
  • Electromagnetic induction using frequency response measurements
  • Thin lenses
  • The spectrometer
  • Wave optics
  • Hydrogen spectrum
  • Radioactivity

Methods of Instruction

Classroom time will be divided between the presentation and discussion of concepts on the one hand and the application of these concepts in problem solving on the other. The laboratory program will involve weekly, three hour sessions during which students will perform a set number of experiments. Laboratory experiments may involve group work.

Means of Assessment

The final grade in the course will be determined in accordance with the Douglas College grading policy based on the following:

Final examination - minimum 30% / maximum 40%;

At least one test administered during the semester - minimum 20% / maximum 30%;

Submitted laboratory reports - 20%;

Quizzes / assignments - minimum 10% / maximum of 20%.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the course the student will be able to:

1.  Identify the following quantities and their appropriate units: electric charge; electric force; electric field, energy, potential, and potential difference; capacitance; permittivity; dielectric constant; electromotive force; current; resistance; resistivity; power; time constant; magnetic field; torque; magnetic flux; wavelength; frequency; index of refraction; focal length; radius of curvature; magnification; work function; disintegration constant; half-life.

2.  Demonstrate an understanding of the following concepts, procedures and principles through the solution of problems: Coulomb’s law; electric field; vector addition of electric forces and fields; electric potential energy, potential, and potential difference; charged particle motion in electric field; capacitance; electric current; Ohm’s law; resistance and resistivity; electric energy and power; resistor combinations; Kirchhoff’s rules; magnetic force on moving charge; magnetic force on current carrying conductor; torque on a current loop; Biot-Savart law; Ampere’s law; Faraday’s law; Lenz’s law; motional emf; alternating current (ac) circuits; circuit simulation such as LTSpice; computer design of circuits with a schematic entry computer program such as Eagle; electromagnetic waves; laws of reflection and refraction; polarization of light; image formation via mirrors and lenses; optical instruments; interference and diffraction of light; photoelectric effect; matter waves; periodic table; laser; radioactivity.

3.  Perform laboratory experiments and analyze the data obtained using appropriate graphing techniques, scientific notation, significant figures, and experimental uncertainty consideration.

4.  Write a formal laboratory report in the conventional format required for submissions to scientific journals.

course prerequisites

PHYS 1110 (or PHYS 1107 with at least B-) and MATH 1120


MATH 1220 

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.