Syllabus for Classical Electrodynamics

Klassisk elektrodynamik


  • 10 credits
  • Course code: 1FA257
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Physics A1F

    Explanation of codes

    The code indicates the education cycle and in-depth level of the course in relation to other courses within the same main field of study according to the requirements for general degrees:

    First cycle
    G1N: has only upper-secondary level entry requirements
    G1F: has less than 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    G1E: contains specially designed degree project for Higher Education Diploma
    G2F: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    G2E: has at least 60 credits in first-cycle course/s as entry requirements, contains degree project for Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science
    GXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified.

    Second cycle
    A1N: has only first-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    A1F: has second-cycle course/s as entry requirements
    A1E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (60 credits)
    A2E: contains degree project for Master of Arts/Master of Science (120 credits)
    AXX: in-depth level of the course cannot be classified.

  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
  • Established: 2011-03-10
  • Established by:
  • Revised: 2020-02-10
  • Revised by: The Faculty Board of Science and Technology
  • Applies from: week 28, 2020
  • Entry requirements: 120 credits with Mechanics III. Transform methods. Electromagnetic Field Theory. English language proficiency that corresponds to English studies at upper secondary (high school) level in Sweden ("English 6").
  • Responsible department: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, the student shall be able to:

  • interpret the deeper meaning of the Maxwell field equations and account for their symmetry and transformation properties, domain of validity, and limitations,
  • formulate and solve electromagnetic problems with the help of electrodynamic potentials, and make a detailed account for gauge transformations and their use,
  • master the techniques to determine the electromagnetic fields from general charge and current distributions,
  • calculate the electromagnetic radiation from radiating systems,
  • derive the electromagnetic radiation from localised charges which move arbitrarily in time and space, taking into account retardation effects, accounting for the underlying approximations and assumptions,
  • formulate and solve electrodynamic problems in relativistically covariant form in four-dimensional space-time.


Maxwell's equations. Energy and momentum formula in Maxwell's theory. Maxwell's stress tensor, radiation pressure. Telegraph equation. EM waves in vacuum and in media. Phase and group velocity, dispersion. The inhomogeneous wave equation. Gauge transformations, gauge invariance. Retarded potentials. Fields from random distributions of currents and charges. Electric and magnetic multipole radiation. Relativistic kinematics. Covariant formulation of electrodynamics. Liénard-Wiechert's potentials. Fields from a charged particle at random motion, cyclotron and synchrotron radiation. Scattering from an individual charged particle. Absorption of radiation in an oscillator. Rayleigh scattering. Dispersion relations. Relativistic Lagrange and Hamilton formalism for charged particles in a field. Lagrange and Hamilton covariant equations for classical EM fields and interaction with charged particles.


Lectures, lessons and demonstration of computer simulations, project.


Written examination at the end of the course. Project. Passed assignments may give bonus in the exam. 
If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: week 30, 2020

  • Jackson, John David Classical electrodynamics

    3. ed.: New York: Wiley, cop. 1999

    Find in the library