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Electricity and Magnetism: Electrostatics

Learn how charges interact with each other and create electric fields and electric potential landscapes in this introductory-level physics course.

Electricity and Magnetism: Electrostatics
This course is archived
Future dates to be announced
Estimated 10 weeks
11–13 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

About this course

Skip About this course

Electricity and Magnetism dominate much of the world around us – from the most fundamental processes in nature to cutting edge electronic devices. Electric and magnet fields arise from charged particles. Charged particles also feel forces in electric and magnetic fields. Maxwell’s equations, in addition to describing this behavior, also describe electromagnetic radiation.

In this course, we focus on Electrostatics. We examine the forces between charges, electric fields, and electric potential, looking at different ways of calculating each. We also look at dipoles and the difference between conductors and insulators. The course ends by explaining capacitors and dielectrics.

This is the firstmodule in a series of three that are based on the MIT course: 8.02, Electricity and Magnetism, a required introductory physics class for all MIT undergraduates, which is being offered as an XSeries.Please visit to learn Introductory Electricity and Magnetism XSeries Program Pagefor more information and to enroll in all three modules.

This course will require the use of calculus.

At a glance

  • Institution: MITx
  • Subject: Physics
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Prerequisites:
    • Knowledge of Classical Mechanics (at the level of 8.01x Mechanics Series) will be necessary.
    • Multivariable Calculus

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • How Electric Fields form and how to measure them
  • What are Dipoles
  • Gauss’s Law and why it is important
  • What is Electric Potential
  • How Conductors, Insulators, and Capacitors work

About the instructors

Who can take this course?

Unfortunately, learners residing in one or more of the following countries or regions will not be able to register for this course: Iran, Cuba and the Crimea region of Ukraine. While edX has sought licenses from the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to offer our courses to learners in these countries and regions, the licenses we have received are not broad enough to allow us to offer this course in all locations. edX truly regrets that U.S. sanctions prevent us from offering all of our courses to everyone, no matter where they live.

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