FYS3120 - Classical mechanics and electrodynamics

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Analytical mechanics, Lagrange and Hamilton formalism. Special theory of relativity and electromagnetism. Maxwells equations.

Learning outcome

The student should learn to use a set of fundamental methods in classical theoretical physics. These include analytical mechanics in the formulations of Lagrange and Hamilton, with the use of generalized coordinates and conjugate momenta, and the method of variations. Within relativity physics the student should learn  to use four-vectors, with application to relativistic kinematics and dynamics. In electrodynamics, the student should learn to solve Maxwells equations, with special focus on electromagnetic radiation.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

In addition to fulfilling the Higher Education Entrance Qualification, applicants have to meet the following special admission requirements:

One of these:

  • Mathematics R1
  • Mathematics (S1+S2)

And and in addition one of these:

  • Mathematics (R1+R2)
  • Physics (1+2)
  • Chemistry (1+2)
  • Biology (1+2)
  • Information technology (1+2)
  • Geosciences (1+2)
  • Technology and theories of research (1+2)

The special admission requirements may also be covered by equivalent studies from Norwegian upper secondary school or by other equivalent studies. Read more about special admission requirements (in Norwegian).

Recommended previous knowledge

Knowledge corresponding to the following courses at the University of Oslo: MAT1100 - Calculus, MAT1110 - Calculus and linear algebra, MAT1120 - Linear algebra, FYS-MEK1110 - Mechanics and FYS1120 - Electromagnetism.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap against FYS202, which was offered for the last time in spring semester 2003.


The course extends over a full semester with 4 hours of lectures and 2 hours of problem solving per week. There are about 12 weekly problem sets, and for at least 6 of them written solutions must be submitted, and graded pass, in order to attend the final exam.




At least 6 of 12 written solutions must be submitted, and graded pass, in order to attend the final exam. Written home assignment with 25 % weight. A 4-hour written final exam with 75% weight (primo June). Both written home assignment and final exam must be passed in order to pass the course in total.



Examination support material

Approved calculator. Øgrim and Lian or Angell and Lian: "Fysiske størrelser og enheter". Rottman: "Matematisk formelsamling". Compendium with formulas for the course.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed examination at the beginning of the next semester.

Re-scheduled examinations are not offered to students who withdraw during, or did not pass the original examination.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)