FYS9620 – An Introduction to Plasma Physics

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

The course covers basic principles on plasmas, waves in plasma, stability analysis of the equilibrium solutions of the equations. Examples are taken from the phenomena in the Earth’s ionosphere and magnetosphere.

Learning outcome

After completing the course you will:

  • understand and use the basic mathematical formalism needed for describing the dynamics of continuous media.
  • have a very good knowledge on mathematical models for plasma and will be able to distinguish the dynamics of plasmas and neutral fluid media.
  • have a very good knowledge on formulating and modifying the basic dynamic fluid equations to account for the dynamics of plasma media at different levels: from MHD to kinetic scales.
  • be able to describe the propagation of waves in plasmas, and derive the dispersion relation for these waves.
  • have good insight into plasma instabilities and turbulence.
  • be able to make a simplified model for the Earth's magnetosphere, and obtain analytical expressions for some characteristic quantities.


PhD candidates from the University of Oslo should apply for classes and register for examinations through Studentweb.

If a course has limited intake capacity, priority will be given to PhD candidates who follow an individual education plan where this particular course is included. Some national researchers’ schools may have specific rules for ranking applicants for courses with limited intake capacity.

PhD candidates who have been admitted to another higher education institution must apply for a position as a visiting student within a given deadline.


Recommended previous knowledge

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap against FYS360.

10 credits with Error: java.lang.NullPointerException


The course extends over a full semester with 3-4 hours of teaching per week (lectures and colloquia).

An obligatory exercise needs to be submitted by the student (more demanding than for FYS4620).

In case of a few students registered, the course might be given as a self-study with limited supervision, i.e., without ordinary lectrues.


The assessment includes an oral examination in the first half of the semester, a written assignment and the final oral examination. The assignment must be passed in order to qualify for the final exam. These three components individually, count about 20,15 and 65%, of the final grade.

Language of examination

If the course is taught in English, the exam question paper will only be offered in English.

You can answer the exam in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a pass/fail scale. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

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

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

If the course is offered, a minimum of four students is required for ordinary lectures to take place. If less than four students participate, an exam will be given, but one should not expect ordinary teaching.


Every spring

Exam will be arranged when the course is given.

Teaching language