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.

Teaching and assessment

We’re currently reviewing teaching and assessment of our modules in light of the COVID-19 situation. We’ll publish the latest information as soon as possible.

Contact hours and workload

This module is approximately 150 hours of work. This breaks down into about 44 hours of contact time and about 106 hours of independent study. The University may make minor variations to the contact hours for operational reasons, including timetabling requirements.

This module is running in the academic year 2021/22. We also plan to offer it in future academic years. However, there may be changes to this module in response to COVID-19, or due to staff availability, student demand or updates to our curriculum. We’ll make sure to let our applicants know of material changes to modules at the earliest opportunity.

It may not be possible to take some module combinations due to timetabling constraints. The structure of some courses means that the modules you choose first may determine whether later modules are core or optional.


This module is offered on the following courses: