School of Electrical and Information Engineering


Course Brief and Outline—2024

Printable pdf version

Academic Staff:

Professor Alan Robert Clark (course co-ordinator)
Room 369
(011) 717-7223

1 Course Background

Electromagnetics pervades almost every aspect of our everyday lives, WiFi, 5G, LTE, Bluetooth, GPS, Microwave Ovens, Radar, Remote Sensing, Medical Electronics, Roving Mars Robots, Pictures of Pluto…

All these interact with one another and with humans, but this is unseen: Hence the need for knowledge in this area to minimise nonsense!

In many ways, Electromagnetics can be viewed as a superset of circuit theory, with the power flow through the mysterious “ether” as opposed to a physical circuit. Thus the student is exposed to a broader and more general context than before.

2 Course Objectives

Electromagnetics lays the foundation for the High Frequency course, where antenna design is important for the eventual implementation of any wireless communication system. Any high-speed (Analogue or Digital) electronic circuit cannot be understood without these techniques.

3 Course Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, the student is capable of:

  1. understanding electromagnetics terminology;
  2. understanding the circuit limitations at high frequency;
  3. designing simple transmission line systems, including matching circuits;
  4. understanding antenna and radiation fundamentals; and
  5. understanding electromagnetic compatibility issues.

4 Course Content

Transmission Lines
Introduction, infinite transmission line, terminated transmission line, input impedance, standing and travelling waves, VSWR, power flow
Smith Chart
Development, use, matching—single and double stub. Scattering parameters
Static Fields
Basic revision of electric fields, flux, duality, field plotting
Maxwell’s Equations
For plane waves; boundary conditions—conductors and dielectrics; Depth of penetration (skin depth)
Basic radiation fundamentals, launching and receiving radiating waves.
EMC, Shielding effectiveness, remote sensing, waveguides

5 Prior Knowledge Assumed

Thorough knowledge of basic physics, especially the field components, and a thorough grasp of mathematics, especially vector calculus.

6 Assessment

All submissions must be in strict accordance with the guidelines contained in the School’s Blue Book and the rules contained in the School’s Red Book. No exceptions will be considered.

6.1 Formative Assessment


6.2 Summative Assessment

AssessmentDurationComponentMethod &CalculatorPermitted Supporting


7.10 Sub-minimum rule
Unless specified otherwise in a course outline, a student will not be allowed to obtain credit for a course unless s/he achieves:
a) a final mark of at least 50 percent for that course; and
b) a sub-minimum of 35 percent in each of the components of that course as well as in the summative assessment for that course.
Such a sub-minimum criterion applies only to components which contribute 25 percent or more towards a course, unless specified otherwise in the course outline.
Summative assessment in this instance is assessment that regulates the progression of students by awarding marks at the conclusion of a course.

The examination will cover all material covered in the course, and especially discussion topics in lectures and tutorials.

6.3 Assessment Criteria

The student’s understanding of the fundamental aspects of the course will be probed. Exam questions etc will need to be answered in order to answer the question: “WHY?” as opposed to the simplistic “HOW”. I am not attempting to assess a simple methodology, I will assess fundamental understanding of concepts.

Note that the onus is upon the student to convey this understanding in an examination. A terse, correct “answer” may not necessarily attract marks! Please refer to my exam writing skills notes at

7 Satisfactory Performance (SP) Requirements

For the purpose of Rule G.13, satisfactory performance in the work of the class means attendance and completion of prescribed laboratory activities, attendance at tutorials designated as compulsory in this CB&O, submission of assignments, writing of scheduled tests unless excused in terms of due procedure.

8 Teaching and Learning Process

8.1 Teaching and Learning Approach

Covid-19 is not Covid-23: and thus we are fully back to Face-to-Face, not even Mask-to-Mask. But the (Hastily Assembled) material is still available on Ulwazi. Interaction is thus via lectures for those that wish to engage with real input. For those that eschew that, Ulwazi can work, but good luck to you :-)

A form of interaction is the Ulwazi Discussions which does support Mathematics (via MathJax). The advantage is that the Discussion is open to all in the class, and can be accessed at any time. I will thus also be using the Discussion asynchronously, checking in several times per week. Please stick to using the Pinned Generalised ChatRoom Facility.

Please do not email me questions, as the rest of the class will not benefit: use Discussions.

8.2 Information to Support the Course

No text perfectly covers the course material: all books have flaws. The Prescribed Text is:

There are no notes handed out for this course.

In addition, there is a 122 page “Study Guide”, by some obscure bloke:

available from the Course Home Page. (See below).

There are some excellent eTexts available, see Course Home Page…

If it can be obtained the Third Edition of “Electromagnetics” by J.D. Kraus (McGraw-Hill) is definitive. The Fourth Edition is OK, the Fifth Edition, co-authored by Fleisch, is completely useless.

8.3 Learning Activities and Arrangements


There will be three "lectures" and one "tut" per week, all of which are Q&A sessions. Students are expected to attend the Q&A sessions in Discussions and/or BigBlueButton and be participative.

I keep strictly to South African Standard Time (SAST). I respect your time, and will not drag on my lectures, and I expect you to respect my time, and that of your colleagues, by arriving on time, so that latecomer disruption is avoided.


As above.


There is no project associated with this course.


There will be a laboratory associated with this course normally held in the Basic Laboratory, but will no doubt be Covidly appropriate, covering topics taught in the course, as well as topics not formally dealt with in lectures.

Students who have not done the lab preparations will be asked to leave the laboratory.

School Policy states that there are no lab exemptions.


Via Ulwazi Discussions.

9 Course Home Page

For other information related to the course, please refer to the Course Home page at

The online version is

All 6 sides may be used

This document was translated from LATEX by HEVEA.