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How different is electromagnetics in grad school?

  1. Dec 30, 2013 #1
    I have been studying electromagnetics ever since I can remember. In school we did algebra electromagnetism. In 1st year college we did electromagnetism but with basic calculus. Then electromagnetics with vector calculus which in my opinion was far more involving than the previous 2.
    I used a book called : Engineering Electromagnetics by Nathan Ida which in my opinion is an awesome book. I used the book for two semesters. Here's a preview : http://books.google.com/books?id=2CbvXE4o5swC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0

    I heard that there's also electromagnetics in grad school so I am curious how different it will be in my case given that I studied from the book mentioned above. Apart from relativistic electromagnetics what is there to expect ?

    BTW I'm an electrical engineer !
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 30, 2013 #2


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    Graduate engineering electromagnetics courses can vary somewhat from school to school. Google is your friend, you should be able to find web sites for such courses where you can find the syllabus, textbook, homework, etc. Most EE departments will offer at least one course and those with active researchers will offer many more than one (see Ohio State, for example).

    Many (most?) EE courses will not cover relativistic electromagnetics, although some will. That is a topic that is more typical in Physics departments (both undergrad and grad). From my own google search it looks like many schools use "advanced engineering electromagnetics" by Balanis for a first graduate course, which reviews waves, covers many useful theorems and concepts (induction theorem, reciprocity, equivalence theorem, etc), waves and radiation and scattering in Cartesian, cylindrical, and spherical coordinates, Green's functions, introduction to numerical methods, etc. Don't expect to learn new physics - but do expect to learn more advanced mathematical and numerical techniques for exactly and approximately solving more interesting problems than you have looked at so far. The approximation techniques (perturbation theory, variational approaches, asymptotic expansion, and numerical methods of course) are particularly powerful.

  4. Dec 30, 2013 #3
    It may include more in-depth treatments of topics like relativity, multipole expansion, microwave circuits, waveguides and fibers, diffraction, antenna theory, and complicated dynamics problems involving maxwell's equations and moving objects
  5. Dec 30, 2013 #4


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    One example: Remember that problem where you have a circular line charge, and then the question asks you to solve for the E-field along the axis perpendicular to the plane of the circle? At the graduate level, you'll have the same circular line charge, but now, you will be asked to solve for the E-field everywhere and not just along the axis of symmetry. This will no longer be trivial, since the solution at such a field point may be an infinite series.

  6. Dec 30, 2013 #5

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    As pointed out, it varies. But having looked at what pages of Ida are available online, I would expect it to go in much more mathematical depth. Every page of Ida I have seen uses algebra instead of calculus - that doesn't mean there's no calculus in the book, but it suggests that there isn't much: for example, he may use calculus to derive the algebraic equations used later. This technique runs out of steam with more complex problems, such as those with reduced symmetry (Zz's example).
  7. Dec 30, 2013 #6
    Here's an example from personal experience. In undergrad electromagnetism you are asked a problem with a conducting sphere inside a uniform electric field, to find the electric field everywhere and the surface charge distribution on the sphere. In graduate electromagnetism, the sphere is now spinning. This creates a magnetic field. The question is now in addition to find the magnetic field everywhere as a function of the angular frequency of the sphere's rotation.
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