Theoretical Physics (F3217)

15 credits, Level 5

Spring teaching

Topics covered include:

  • electrostatics – electrostatic potentials and electric fields, methods of images, Laplace and Poisson equations, introduction to Green's functions, and Gauss' and Stokes' theorems
  • magnetostatics – vector potential
  • elementary considerations of Function Theory – complex numbers, Cauchy-Riemann differential equations, line-integrals, Cauchy's theorem, Power series, Laurent series, residue theorem, applications in electrostatics
  • vector calculus in space-time – four-vectors and tensors, metric tensor, energy-momentum four-vector relativistic electrodynamics, charges seen by different observers, four-vector potential, Maxwell's equations using four-vectors
  • calculus of variations, Fermat's principle, Euler-Lagrange equation, definition of action, applications to mechanics and electromagnetism.


75%: Lecture
25%: Practical (Workshop)


20%: Coursework (Problem Set)
80%: Examination (Unseen examination)

Contact hours and workload

This module is 150 hours of work. This breaks down into 44 hours of contact time and 106 hours of independent study.

This module is running in the academic year 2019/20. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. It may become unavailable due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of such changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.