Specific information about this course and its requirements can be found below. For more general information about taking Saylor Academy courses, including information about Community and Academic Codes of Conduct, please read the Student Handbook.
Examine waves and oscillations in extended objects, discover the sources and laws that govern static electricity and magnetism, and study Maxwell's equations, optics, and Einstein's theory of special relativity.
In this course, we will first learn about waves and oscillations in extended objects using the classical mechanics that we learned about in PHYS101. We will also establish the sources and laws that govern static electricity and magnetism. A brief look at electrical measurements and circuits will help us understand how electromagnetic effects are observed, measured, and applied. We will then see how Maxwell's equations unify electric and magnetic effects and how the solutions to Maxwell's equations describe electromagnetic radiation, which will serve as the basis for understanding all electromagnetic radiation, from very low frequency, long-wavelength radio waves to the most powerful astrophysical gamma rays. We will briefly study optics, using practical models largely consistent with the predictions of Maxwell's equations but that are easier to use. Finally, this course provides a brief overview of Einstein's theory of special relativity. We will assume that you have a basic knowledge of calculus.
This course will require you to complete a number of problems. Unlike mechanics, most of the phenomena encountered in the field of electromagnetism are not found in everyday experience – at least, not in a form that makes the actual nature of the phenomena clear. As a result, learning electromagnetism involves developing intuition about a rather unintuitive area of physics. In the end, developing physical intuition is less about getting the right answer than it is about getting a wrong answer and then understanding why it is wrong. In an ideal situation, this course would require you to work out problems concerning the phenomena and observe various important phenomena in the laboratory. However, because this is an online course, we do not have the luxury of lab sessions. We have included a number of interactive demonstrations to compensate for this. When you approach a problem, try to work out the size of those quantities that clarify the basic nature of the question proposed. Thinking of these numbers as data from an ideal laboratory will help you develop a sense of how electromagnetism works – a sense that most people do not get from the mathematical description of the physics.
This course includes the following units:
Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
Throughout this course, you will also see learning outcomes in each unit. You can use those learning outcomes to help organize your studies and gauge your progress.
The primary learning materials for this course are articles, lectures, and videos.
All course materials are free to access and can be found in each unit of the course. Pay close attention to the notes that accompany these course materials, as they will tell you what to focus on in each resource, and will help you to understand how the learning materials fit into the course as a whole. You can also see a list of all the learning materials in this course by clicking on Resources in the navigation bar.
Only the final exam is considered when awarding you a grade for this course. In order to pass this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you may take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt. Once you have successfully passed the final exam you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate.
There are also end-of-unit assessments in this course. These are designed to help you study, and do not factor into your final course grade. You can take these as many times as you want until you understand the concepts and material covered. You can see all of these assessments by clicking on Quizzes in the course's navigation bar.
This course is eligible for college credit via Saylor Academy's Direct Credit Program. If you want to earn college credit, you must take and pass the Direct Credit final exam. That exam will be password protected and requires a proctor. If you pass the Direct Credit exam, you will receive a Proctor Verified Course Certificate and be eligible to earn an official transcript. For more information about applying for college credit, review the guide to college credit opportunities. Be sure to check the section on proctoring for details like fees and technical requirements.
There is a 14-day waiting period between attempts of the Direct Credit final exam. There is no waiting period between attempts for the not-for-credit exam and the Direct Credit exam. You may only attempt each Direct Credit final exam a maximum of 3 times. Be sure to study in between each attempt!
PHYS102: Introduction to Electromagnetism is a self-paced course, which means that you can decide when you will start and when you will complete the course. There is no instructor or an assigned schedule to follow. We estimate that the "average" student will take 97 hours to complete this course. We recommend that you work through the course at a pace that is comfortable for you and allows you to make regular progress. It's a good idea to also schedule your study time in advance and try as best as you can to stick to that schedule.
Learning new material can be challenging, so we've compiled a few study strategies to help you succeed:
In order to take this course, you should:
This course is delivered entirely online. You will be required to have access to a computer or web-capable mobile device and have consistent access to the internet to either view or download the necessary course resources and to attempt any auto-graded course assessments and the final exam.
For additional guidance, check out Saylor Academy's FAQ.
This course is entirely free to enroll in and to access. Everything linked in the course, including textbooks, videos, webpages, and activities, is available for no charge. This course also contains a free final exam and course completion certificate.
This course also has an optional final exam that can give you an opportunity to earn college credit. This exam requires the use of a proctoring service for identity verification purposes. The cost for proctoring for this optional exam is $25 per session.