FYS2130 – Oscillations and Waves

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Oscillations in mechanics and electric circuits. Resonance and Q-value. Waves in mechanical systems and in electromagnetism. Phase velocity and group velocity. Standing and travelling waves. Coherence. Diffraction and interference. Fourier and wavelet analysis. Reflection, refraction, dispersion. Skin depth. Wave guides. Simple geometrical optics, including the optics of the human eye.

Learning outcome

After completing this course you should:

  • be able to recognize and use a mathematical oscillator equation and wave equation, and derive these equations for certain systems, point out the limitations and be able to refer to very different solutions of identical oscillator equations due to different initial and boundary conditions.
  • explain how several waves or parts of waves interact, and be able to calculate and analyse diffraction and interference phenomena, and explain the conditions required for such phenomena to appear.
  • describe and calculate what happens when waves move from one medium to another, and be able to explain dispersion and group and phase velocity.
  • use geometric optics to describe and explain optical instruments, and by simple measurements estimate what strength glasses a person needs.
  • explain several phenomena we can observe in everyday life that can be explained as wave phenomena, and identify basic principles, such as the Fresnel principle, to explain various phenomena
  • use both analytical mathematics and numerical methods to explore the subjects mentioned above. In particular you should be able to analyse experimental oscillator or wave phenomena, such as sound, using suitable methods.
  • gather relevant information by yourself, and seek help from others to solve an extensive assignment where all necessary information is not supplied.
  • write a thorough project report describing the topic, the methods used, results and conclusions clearly.


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:

  • Mathematics R1 (or Mathematics S1 and S2) + R2

And in addition one of these:

  • 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 (in Norwegian).

Recommended previous knowledge


The first lecture is mandatory. If you are unable to attend, the Department has to be informed in advance (e-mail studieinfo@fys.uio.no), or else you will lose your place in the course.

The course extends over a full semester with 7 hours of teaching per week (3 hours of lectures, 2 hours of group sessions, 2 hours of problem solving).

The course includes 6 compulsory assignments and a project assignment. Participation in group sessions throughout the semester (at least 70%) can replace one compulsory assignment. The project assignment corresponds to one week's work.

Regulations for mandatory assignments can be found here.


To be eligeble for the final exam, 5 of 6 assignments must be approved (4 of 6 with a 70 % participation in groups). 

An exam in the form of a project assignment, weighted 25% of the grade.

A final written exam, weighted 75% of the grade.

You must pass both the project assignment and the final exam to pass the course.

Detailed information about examinations at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences can be found here

Examination support material

  • Approved calculator
  • Rottman: "Matematisk formelsamling"
  • Øgrim and Lian or Angell and Lian: "Fysiske størrelser og enheter"
  • One page with formulas (will be handed out together with the exam papers)

Language of examination

You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

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

This course offers both postponed and resit of examination. Read more:

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

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