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WPHY1520 – Physics for Electrical and Electronics Engineering

2020 – MUIC term 1, Weekday attendance, North Ryde

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, any references to assessment tasks and on-campus delivery may no longer be up-to-date on this page.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts staff and students

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Teacher
Dr Matthew Palmer
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Macquarie University International College
Contact staff member
Daniel Blay
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Macquarie University International College
Contact staff member
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
WPHY1510 or WPHY140
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

Following on from WPHY1510, this unit completes the overview of electric and magnetic physics required for further study in electrical and electronic engineering disciplines. This unit covers the theory of electromagnetism and investigates fields, potentials, the origin and effects of magnetic fields and electromagnetic induction, all described by Maxwell's equations. It links these physics concepts and theories to the fundamental quantities used in circuit theory, such as emf, voltage, current, resistance, capacitance, and inductance. Students are given the opportunity to develop the language and toolkit used to design and analyse simple circuits, including circuit theorems and circuit analysis. The unit also includes an introduction to electromagnetic radiation (light). Laboratory sessions provide a practical context for students to consolidate key concepts by conducting experiments and carrying out open-ended exploration of basic circuits.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Explain foundational concepts in electricity and magnetism, and describe them in terms of concise mathematical models.
  • ULO2: Analyse linear electrical circuits through the use of appropriate models including circuit simplifications, mesh and node analysis, and equivalent circuits.
  • ULO3: Perform and report on laboratory experiments using a broad range of equipment, with an increased sophistication in treatment of errors.
  • ULO4: Build and model simple electrical circuits and measure circuit properties with a digital multi-meter.
  • ULO5: Clearly explain physics concepts learned and illustrate these to peers.
  • ULO6: Communicate disciplinary knowledge using appropriate academic discourses.

Assessment Tasks

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Assessment details are no longer provided here as a result of changes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts staff and students

Delivery and Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19.

Please check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

Term Dates & College Calendar

Details of key dates during the term can be found on the Important Dates calendar.

Enrolment and Timetables

General timetable information is available via Macquarie University's Timetable page. 

Students will be able to enrol in units and register for classes via eStudent and also view their personal timetable. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that classes they have registered for do not clash.

Students are only permitted to attend classes in which they have registered via eStudent, unless they have written approval from the Student Services Manager. To seek approval, students must email muic-elc.admin@mq.edu.au or speak to a member of the Student Administration and Services Team at The College Student Desk (Ground floor, 8 Sir Christopher Ondaatje Avenue). Approval will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

The last day to enrol, add or change units is Tuesday of Week 1. Changing groups is not possible after the enrolment period has concluded.

Guest Lecturer Presentations and Workshops

One or two Guest Lecturer presentations and/or workshops may be scheduled during the term. These sessions will take place outside of regular class time, usually in a lecture theatre on campus. In the session, a speaker (an expert or well-known academic in the field) will give a presentation on a particular topic related to the unit or field.

While attendance at guest lectures is not compulsory, and content covered is not examinable unless covered in regular classes, students are strongly encouraged to attend these sessions as they will:

  • help them to engage with and broaden their understanding of the discipline;
  • contextualise content covered in class by providing insights into recent research and workplace developments in the field;
  • provide opportunities for networking; and
  • provide experience of what lectures are like.

Specific details including time and venue for Guest Lecturer presentations and workshops will be posted in iLearn announcements and provided in class.

Recordings of these sessions may also be made available to students via iLearn.

Attendance Requirements – All Students

All students are expected to attend 100% of scheduled class time.

Attendance will be monitored in each lesson & students will be able to see their current attendance percentage to date and potential attendance percentage for each unit they have enrolled in via iLearn.

  • Current Attendance Percentage will reflect the percentage of classes a student has attended so far (based only on the lessons held to date).
  • Potential Attendance Percentage will reflect the percentage of classes a student can potentially attend by the end of the term, taking into consideration lessons attended and assuming the student also attends all future lessons scheduled (based only on the total number of lessons in the Term).

When a student is present for a part of a lesson (for example arrives late, leaves early, leaves the class frequently, particularly for lengthy periods), the teacher reserves the right to mark a student absent for that part of the lesson.

Public Holidays and Make-up Lessons

If any scheduled class falls on a public holiday, a make-up lesson will be scheduled, either online or face to face. Please check the iLearn announcements and your emails for details of the make-up lessons.

In Term 1, there will be no public holidays.

Technology Used and Required

  • Access to internet (available on Campus using Macquarie OneNet and in designated 8SCO Self-Access Computer Laboratories);
  • iLab - iLab is Macquarie University's personal computer laboratory on the Internet. It enables students to use the Microsoft Windows applications they require to do their university work from anywhere, anytime, on any device;
  • Access to Macquarie University Library catalogue (MultiSearch); and
  • Access to Microsoft Office Suite (available in 8SCO Self-Access Computer Laboratories and via iLab) software downloads page for full instructions.

Bringing Your Own Device (BYOD)

Macquarie University is BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) friendly and encourages students to bring their Windows or Mac devices to use on campus and during classes.

In some classes in this unit, you will need to have access to a mobile device, Office applications (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) and an Internet Browser of your choice. If you do not have your own device and computer access is required in a particular lesson, you may be able to borrow a laptop to use for the duration of the lesson.

As a Macquarie University student, you are entitled to free access to the Microsoft Office Suite, which you can access through iLab. If you have problems with this, please contact OneHelp.

If you do bring your own device, you will need to ensure that it is sufficiently charged as access to power points may not be available in the classrooms.


iLearn is Macquarie's online learning management system and a principal teaching and learning resource which will be used throughout the term. Students must log in to iLearn at least 3 times per week to access important information including: 

  • Announcements and News Forums - Teaching staff will communicate to the class using iLearn announcements. Announcements may also be emailed to students’ Macquarie University email address, but students should also check the News Forum regularly;
  • Attendance – current and potential attendance percentage for the Term;
  • Unit Guide and staff contact details;
  • Set unit readings available through MultiSearch (library);
  • Lesson materials and recordings where available;
  • Learning and teaching activities and resources, questions and solutions;
  • Assessment instructions, questions, marking criteria and sample tasks;
  • Assessment submission links such as Turnitin;
  • Links to support materials and services available at the University; and
  • Evaluation Surveys for the unit.

For any resource related iLearn questions contact your teacher. For any technical or support issues using iLearn, please contact the IT helpdesk (Ph. 02 9850 4357) or lodge a ticket using OneHelp

Useful Study Resources

StudyWise is an iLearn resource created by the Learning Skills Unit. This resource is specifically designed to help you to manage your studies, strengthen your study techniques, write effective assignments and improve your English language proficiency. Once you enrol in StudyWise, you can access it from your iLearn course list under the category "Student Support".

InfoWise will help you improve your research skills by teaching you how to use MultiSearch, decode citations, identify key search terms and use advanced search techniques.

Lib Guides provide students with links to electronic sources and websites that are good starting points for research in different fields or disciplines.

MultiSearch will connect you to Macquarie University Library and allow you to search library resources, databases, unit readings and past exam papers.

Macquarie University Library has released a mobile device app called libMQ. The app allows students to easily access MyLibrary (be notified about loans, renewals, holds and fees owing), book a computer, Library floor maps, see new books lists and search MultiSearch.

It can be downloaded from either Google Play or the App store.

Academic Language and Learning Workshops are designed to help you with Study Skills, Assignment Writing, Referencing and Academic Language.

Research resources provide information about:

Numeracy Support is provided by the Numeracy Centre. Students can attend these support classes on a drop-in basis as required.

Studiosity is a one-to-one personal study support service which may be made available via your iLearn unit. If available, you may use this service to get online study help and/or feedback on your assignment usually within 24 hours. If you are unsure whether this service is available in your unit or how to use this service, please check with your teacher. Please note that this is an external service and feedback provided is generic in nature (for example comments on grammar and cohesion) and may not be specific to the requirements of the task. If you require specific feedback on how your work aligns with the expectations of the unit or marking criteria, you should consult your teacher.

Unit Schedule

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The unit schedule/topics and any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19. Please consult iLearn for latest details, and check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status


Course Material

Textbook Chapters and Assessment Due Dates

Laboratory/Practical Lesson Schedule


Introduction to mechanics of waves

Sound and hearing.

Chapters 16.1 to 16.13, and 17.1 to 17.6


Introductory lesson

Intro Lab session

Lab 1: Experiment





Sound and hearing continue.

Nature and propagation of light

Pre-census Feedback

Chapters 17.1 to 17.6, 17.8 to 17.10, 33.1 to 33.5, and 33.7 to 33.9

Test 1 (Friday during lesson time)

Problem Set 1 due on Sunday, 11.55 pm (submit PDF Copy to Turnitin)

Lab 2: Experiment

Lab 3: Experiment




Geometrical optics and optical instruments


Chapters 34.1 to 34.9, and 35.1 to 35.8

Problem Set 1 hard copy to be submitted in class on Monday. 

Problem Set 2 due on Sunday, 11.55 pm (submit PDF Copy to Turnitin)

Lab 4: Experiment

Lab 5: Experiment



Temperature, heat, thermal properties of matter, and heat capacities

Chapters 36.1 to 36.5, 36.7, and 18.1 to 18.9

Problem Set 2 hard copy to be submitted in class on Monday. 

Test 2 (Friday, during lesson time)

Problem Set 3 due on Sunday, 11.55 pm (submit PDF Copy to Turnitin)

Lab 6: Experiment

Lab 7: Experiment



First law of thermodynamics, and heat capacities of ideal gases



Chapters 18.10 to 18.12, 19.1 to 19.11, and 37.1 to 37.9

Problem Set 3 hard copy to be submitted in class on Monday.

Problem Set 4 due on Sunday, 11.55 pm (submit PDF Copy to Turnitin)

Lab 8: Experiment

Lab 9: Experiment


Photons, electrons, atoms, the wave nature of particles, and nuclear physics

Chapters 38.1 to 38.6, 38.8, 39.8, 42.1 to 42.6, and 43.1 to 43.6

Problem Set 4 hard copy to be submitted in class on Monday.

Test 3 (Friday, during lesson time)

Video presentation with documentation and Problem Set 5 due on Sunday, 11.55 pm (submit video presentation, the PDF copies of Problem Set 5 and documentation for video presentation to Turnitin)


Make-up labs for students with approved Special Considerations





Revision session (to be confirmed).

Problem Set  5 hard copy to be submitted during the revision lesson.

The final examination period 


Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Academic Integrity

Using the work or ideas of another person, whether intentionally or not, and presenting them as your own without clear acknowledgement of the source is called Plagiarism

Macquarie University promotes awareness of information ethics through its Academic Integrity Policy. This means that:

  • all academic work claimed as original must be the work of the person making the claim;
  • all academic collaborations of any kind must be acknowledged;
  • academic work must not be falsified in any way; and
  • when the ideas of others are used, these ideas must be acknowledged appropriately.

All breaches of the Academic Integrity Policy are serious and penalties apply. Students should be aware that they may fail an assessment task, a unit or even be excluded from the University for breaching the Academic Integrity Policy.


Assessment Policy

Students should familiarise themselves with their responsibilities under the Assessment Policy, and notably Schedule 4 (Final Examination Requirements).

Final Examination Script Viewings

A student may request to view their final examination script once results have been released but scripts remain the property of Macquarie University.

Students should view their final examination paper prior to submitting a grade appeal, if this is relevant to their case. The viewing will be conducted in a secure location under supervision.

To request a final examination script viewing, please email muic-elc.admin@mq.edu.au and write ‘script viewing’ in the subject heading.

Scripts may be reviewed for up to 6 months following the results release date for the relevant Term.

Grade Appeals

A student who has been awarded a final grade for a unit has the right to appeal that grade as outlined in the Grade Appeal Policy. Grade appeals apply to the final mark and the grade a student receives for a unit of study. They do not apply to results received for individual assessment tasks.

Grade appeals must be submitted via ask.mq.edu.au within 20 working days from the published result date for the relevant unit. Before submitting a Grade Appeal, please ensure that you read the Grade Appeal Policy and note valid grounds for appeals.

Students are expected to seek feedback on individual assessment tasks prior to the award of a final grade. Students also have the right to request generic feedback from the teaching staff on their overall performance in the unit, including in a final examination. This can be done at any time in the six month period starting from the day on which the final grade of the relevant unit is published.

Course Progression

The College closely monitors students' academic progress as per the Progression Policy for Programs delivered by Macquarie University International College.

To maintain satisfactory academic progress, a student must successfully complete (pass) 50% or more of their enrolled units in a Term of study and meet any other requirements to pass listed in the Unit Guide.

Students who fail to make satisfactory academic progress will be classified as "at risk" and will be notified in writing. At-risk students may be required to undergo academic counselling, undertake certain initiatives or have conditions placed upon their enrolment to help them make satisfactory progress.

Students must also pass 50% or more of the units in two or more terms in order to meet Minimum Rate of Progress (MRP) requirements. A student is deemed not to be making Minimum Rate of Progress if they fail more than 50% of their enrolled units in two consecutive Terms of study, or if they have failed more than 50% of their units after studying two or more terms.

Any domestic student who has been identified as not meeting MRP requirements will be issued with a Notice of Intention to Exclude letter and may subsequently be excluded from the program.

Any international student who has been identified as not meeting MRP will be subject to exclusion from the program and be issued with a Notice of Intention to Report letter and may subsequently be reported to the Department of Home Affairs for not meeting visa requirements. International students must comply with the Progression Policy of the College in order to meet the conditions of their visa.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

If you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Changes from Previous Offering

In this offering, the topics covered in WPHY1520 is identical to the topics covered in WPHY143. However, in WPHY1520 many experiments that used to be in WPHY143 are replaced with experiments on electrical and electronic phenomena. In addition, WPHY1520 students are given the opportunity to design video presentations on topics of modern physics.

Laboratory Details

Laboratory Work

The first week of MUIC physics labs will consist of a an introduction to the labs and a work health and safety session. Although some students will have already completed this type of session as part of their WPHY140 studies, they will still need to participate in this session as a refresher. Therefore, this is compulsory for all students. No student will be allowed to start lab work until they have completed an introduction and work heath and safety lab session Students also need to check computer access in the physics lab during this time. 

Students will be given in total 9 experiments to complete in the laboratory. This assessment is a hurdle assessment task. In order to pass this unit, students must attend and successfully complete ALL 9 experiments. 

If students arrive late by more than 15 minutes, they will not be allowed to join into the lab activities. They will need to submit an application for Special Consideration and if successful, will need to attend the make up labs offered in week 6 or week 7. There will only be two make-up lab sessions.

To be deemed to have successfully completed an experiment, students  must obtain a mark of at least 40% for each of the laboratory sessions in order to pass the unit.

For a lab activity completion to be considered a serious attempt, the student must get a mark between 30 and 39%. A student whose work falls into this category will be given a second attempt at this lab activity later in the Term.

Students who do not meet this hurdle requirement will not pass the unit. Students are responsible for ensuring that they complete experiments as required during their registered laboratory sessions.

All laboratory work must be recorded directly into a laboratory notebook. More detailed instructions and advice will be provided in iLearn and in the laboratory. The laboratory notebook will be assessed by the teaching staff at the end of each lab session. The laboratory notebook stays with the laboratory throughout the semester.

For late submissions, please refer to late submissions section above.

Feedback will be provided in class.

Laboratory Requirements

The laboratory component is considered an essential component of learning and so counts for an appreciable fraction of the final assessment (25%).

The laboratory work is designed to introduce students to some of the basic skills and techniques that are used in experimental physical sciences. Laboratory experiments are designed to be carried out independently of the textbook material - although some of the topics will be discussed in class; therefore, some of the activities in the laboratory may not relate directly to the textbook material. This is because the laboratory activities are intended not only to illustrate physical concepts but also to introduce students to some techniques of measurement and laboratory skill work. In the laboratory, students will be aided by laboratory demonstrators and instructional material in the form of online Laboratory Notes and slides. All the information students need for each experiment is contained in the online material.

Before each lab session students must complete a pre-lab work exercise. The pre-lab work is an essential part of students’ laboratory assessment because it reviews some of the topics covered in experiments. Pre-lab work is due at the beginning of each lab session.

Location of the 100-level Physics Laboratory

The laboratory is located on the ground floor of building 14SCO, at the North East corner (Rooms 114 and/or 254).  Entry is from the courtyard at the opposite end to the main staircase. 

What to Bring

Unless otherwise instructed, students are required to buy and use a standard A4 "science book" (with ruled and graph pages, not spiral bound).  ALL LABORATORY WORK MUST BE RECORDED DIRECTLY INTO THIS LABORATORY NOTEBOOK. Loose sheets of paper must not be used. If students feel that their notes are incomprehensible or untidy students may rewrite a more legible report in the same book and simply cross out the original notes.

Unless otherwise instructed, the laboratory notebook should be brought with students to the first lab session.

Laboratory Attendance Requirements

Students are expected to attend all scheduled laboratory lessons. Each time students attend the laboratory they must sign in and out (legibly) in the attendance book.

Because the laboratory work is a hurdle assessment, if a student misses a scheduled lab session without a valid reason, then he or she will not be considered to have satisfactorily completed the laboratory component of the unit.

If students miss a laboratory session, they must lodge a Special Consideration request. They can start this process at ask.mq.edu.au. If the Special Consideration is granted, the students will need to attend the supplementary lab sessions available during week 6 or 7; note that no more than two make-up labs will be offered each term.

How to use the Laboratory Notebook

The notebook should show students' collected data and the calculations and graphs resulting from the data. At the end of each section students must summarise the findings and answer any questions posed in the guiding notes. 

At the completion of each laboratory lesson students must show their books to the laboratory supervisor who will check them and collect them for marking. The marker, i.e., the laboratory demonstrator(s) will be checking their books to see whether students have kept a satisfactory record of what they have done and what they have concluded. The marked notebooks will be available at the start of the next scheduled laboratory. Students must check their books for comments from the markers as this will help them to refine the laboratory technique and increase the laboratory mark. The notebook will be kept in the laboratory and must not be removed from the laboratory at any time which is also valid for any previously filled notebook.

Laboratory Assessment

Details of the laboratory assessment will be outlined in the first lesson.

Laboratory Safety

Students are required to follow all safety guidelines given in the lab online manuals and slides, and as outlined by their lab supervisor. Food and drink cannot be taken into the laboratory and students without suitable covered footwear will be refused admission.

Laboratory Schedule

Introduction to laboratories start in the first week of the term. Students must attend the laboratory session in which they are enrolled. The schedule of labs is posted in the lab and on the WPHY1520 iLearn unit page. Students must attend their scheduled laboratory lessons on time. Students who arrive late will be denied entry to the lab.

Learning and Teaching Activities


Lessons will include a mixture of activities. New content and topics will be presented during lessons, and students will be given problems, practice questions and other interactive activities to apply the knowledge and the skills gained in the lesson. Students will be required to take notes, complete set tasks and engage in discussions and individual and group activities.

In class, specific time may be dedicated to work on assessment tasks and students will be given guidance and feedback to complete these. Certain lessons may be dedicated to independent research and reading related to the unit whether in the classroom or a computer lab.

Active Participation

Students will be required to not only attend but also actively participate in lessons.

Active participation entails:

  • active engagement in class activities;
  • contribution to class discussions by asking and answering questions;
  • coming to class prepared and having completed required pre-readings and activities;
  • completion of set class and homework activities;
  • collaboration with other students; and
  • adhering to Macquarie University’s Student Code of Conduct.

Unit Specific Texts and Materials

The following texts have been recommended for this unit.

Required Textbook:

Halliday, Resnick, and Walker, 2014, Fundamentals of Physics, extended 10th edition (with Wiley Plus). 

The content of the unit is based on the following chapters of the textbook:

• Waves: Chapters 16 and 17  

• Light: Chapters 33 to 36 

• Heat and Thermodynamics: Chapters 18 to 19  

• Relativity: Chapter 37 

• Atomic and Quantum Physics: Chapters 38 to 39 

• Nuclear Physics: Chapter 42 to 43 

Texts will be available for purchase from the Co-Op Bookshop located in the C7A MUSE Building - 18 Wally's Walk, Phone: 8986 4000.

All students should ensure that they have access to the recommended text(s) from the start of the Term as failure to do so could jeopardise their academic progress in this unit.

Other editions or formats of the above resource(s) may be acceptable, but students must consult teaching staff prior to purchasing these.

Required Resources

A copy of the WPHY1520 Laboratory Manual is available on iLearn.