FYS3140 – Mathematical Methods in Physics

Changes in the course due to coronavirus

Autumn 2020 the exams of most courses at the MN Faculty will be conducted as digital home exams or oral exams, using the normal grading scale. The semester page for your course will be updated with any changes in the form of examination.

See general guidelines for examination at the MN Faculty autumn 2020.

Course content

This course addresses a number of important mathematical methods often used in physics. Central topics are: basic complex analysis, differential equations, Fourier series and -transforms, tensor calculus, variational calculus, orthogonal functions, Laplace transformations.

Learning outcome

After completing this course you will:

  • have a good grasp of the basic elements of complex anaysis, including the important integral theorems. You will be able to determine the residues of a complex function and use the residue theorem to compute certain types of integrals.
  • be able to solve ordinary second order differential equations important in the physical sciences; solve physically relevant partial differential equations using standard methods like separation of variables, series expansion (Fourier-type series) and integral transforms.
  • have learned how to expand a function in a Fourier series, and under what conditions such an expansion is valid. You will be aware of the connection between this and integral transforms (Fourier and Laplace) and be able to use the latter to solve mathematical problems relevant to the physical sciences.
  • have received basic training in tensor calculus. You will be familiar with examples of how to formulate certain physical laws in terms of tensors, and how to simplify them using coordinate transformations (example: principal axes of inertia).
  • be able to solve basic classical variational problems.
  • have received training in clear argumentation, reasoning and presentation, and how to present your results in a tidy way.
  • have practiced cooperation, formulating good questions and explaining to others.

Admission to the course

Studenter må hvert semester søke og få plass på undervisningen og melde seg til eksamen i Studentweb.

Dersom du ikke allerede har studieplass ved UiO, kan du søke opptak til våre studieprogrammer, eller søke om å bli enkeltemnestudent.

Special admission requirements

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).

Overlapping courses


This course lasts a full semester with eight classroom hours per week (four hours of lectures, four hours of problem solving sessions). Twelve problem sets for handing in, where at least 6 has to be approved to quilify for the final exam.

Regulations for mandatory assignments can be found here.


To be eligible for the final exam, a minimum six out of twelve mandatory problem sets must be passed.

An exam in the form of a written assignment, weighted approximately 25% of the final grade.

A final written exam (4 hours), weighted approximately 75%.

You must pass the final exam in order to receive a passing grade in the course.

Examination support material

  • Approved calculator
  • Rottman: "Matematisk formelsamling"
  • Øgrim and Lian or Angell and Lian: "Fysiske størrelser og enheter"
  • Two A4 sheets with notes (you can write in both sides of the sheet)

Language of examination

The examination text is given in Norwegian. If the course is taught in English, the examination text will only be given in English. You may answer 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.

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, use of sources, explanations and appeals

See more about examinations at UiO

Last updated from FS (Common Student System) Nov. 29, 2020 5:11:38 PM

Facts about this course

Teaching language
Norwegian (English on request)