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PHY2026 : Vector Calculus

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Toby Wood
  • Owning School: Mathematics, Statistics and Physics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


To present the basic mathematical techniques needed to formulate and describe physical and
mathematical problems involving vector and scalar fields in 3D space.

Module Summary
Describing geometric objects and fields in multiple dimensions requires some basic mathematical
tools. This course (together with MAS2802) introduces the tools that are needed to apply calculus to
problems in three dimensions.

This module explains how we can mathematically define curves and surfaces in three-dimensional
space, and how we can calculate their properties, such as tangent, length and area. We also
introduce the concepts of scalar fields (e.g. temperature, pressure, density) and vector fields (e.g.
velocity and electromagnetic fields). To describe these objects and quantities we must generalize
the principles of calculus to multi-dimensions. This course introduces the mathematical language
and concepts that are needed to study continuous media, fluids, and electromagnetism.

Outline Of Syllabus

Scalar and vector fields; double and triple integrals; parametric representations of curves and
surfaces; tangent vector and line integrals; normal vector and surface integrals; differential operators
(gradient, divergence, curl, and Laplacian);
suffix notation and the summation convention; operators in spherical and cylindrical coordinates;
Gauss', Stokes' and Green's theorems; Laplace and wave equations.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion113:0013:00Revision for unseen Exam
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Unseen Exam
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture251:0025:00Formal lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture11:001:00Class test
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion16:006:00Revision for class test
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00Revision lectures
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery61:006:00Problems classes and drop-ins
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery120:102:00Office hours
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study122:0022:00Studying, practising and gaining understanding of course material
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study33:009:00Review of coursework assignments and class test
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study26:0012:00Preparation for coursework assignments
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
MAS2801Vector Calculus
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are used for the delivery of theory and explanation of methods, illustrated with examples, and for giving general feedback on marked work. Problem Classes are used to help develop the students’ abilities at applying the theory to solving problems. Tutorials are used to identify and resolve specific queries raised by students and to allow students to receive individual feedback on marked work. In addition, office hours (two per week) will provide an opportunity for more direct contact between individual students and the lecturer. A typical student might spend a total of one or two hours over the course of the module, either individually or as part of a group.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1201A85unseen
Written Examination401M10Class test
Exam Pairings
Module Code Module Title Semester Comment
MAS2801Vector Calculus1N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prob solv exercises1M5Coursework assignments
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Prob solv exercises1MCBAs
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A substantial formal unseen examination is appropriate for the assessment of the material in this module. The coursework assignments will consist of two written assignment of approximately equal weight. The coursework assignments, the (in class, therefore 40 minute) coursework test and the formative CBAs allow the students to develop their problem solving techniques, to practise the methods learnt in the module, to assess their progress and to receive feedback; these assessments have a secondary formative purpose as well as their primary summative purpose.

Reading Lists