Master Course Description

No: EE 361


Credits: 5

UW Course Catalog Description

Coordinators: Evan Goldstein, Affiliate Professor of Electrical Engineering

John Sahr, Professor of Electrical Engineering

Goals: To develop a fundamental understanding of electromagnetic forces and fields and of the manner in which they propagate through materials, devices, and systems. Emphasis is placed applications, focusing on the manner in which electromagnetic forces propel charge through the devices and systems that reside at the heart of the broad discipline of electrical engineering.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Compute wavelength, frequency, wavenumber, phase velocity, and characteristic impedance for waves in free space and two-conductor waveguides.
  2. Analyze reflections and impedance transformations in transmission line circuits under steady-state excitation.
  3. Design impedance matching circuits using quarter wave transformers and shunt admittances.
  4. Analyze simple circuit transients using bounce diagrams.
  5. Analyze more complex transmission line transient problems using SPICE
  6. Identify the polarization properties of an electromagnetic plane wave.
  7. Compute the propagation constants, power density, penetrations depth, and reflection coefficients for plane waves incident on planar boundaries.

Textbook: Fawwaz T. Ulaby et al., Fundamentals of Applied Electromagnetics, Prentice Hall, 6th edition, 2010.

Reference Texts: J. W. Nilsson and S. A. Riedel, Introduction to PSPICE.

Prerequisites by Topic:

  1. Fundamental physics (PHYS 123), including concepts of power, energy, force, electric current, electric fields and waves.
  2. Fundamental mathematics (MATH 126), trigonometric and (complex) exponential functions, introductory differential and integral calculus, first and second order linear differential equations.
  3. Vector Calculus (MATH 324) (May be taken concurrently with EE 361).
  4. Fundamental electrical engineering circuit analysis (EE 215, EE233).


  1. Notation, units, dimensions, the meanings of the fields, the intuitive concept of permittivity and the polarization of charge [0.5 week]
  2. Review of phasors, fundamental properties of traveling waves [0.25 week]
  3. Transmission lines with sinusoidal excitation [2.5 weeks]
  4. Transmission lines with transient excitation [1.0 week]
  5. Intuitive vector calculus, review of vector differential operators (div, grad, curl) and vector integration. Intuitive view of the fundamental theorems of vector calculus. [1.25 weeks]
  6. What Maxwell's equations say about how the fields look [0.25 weeks]
  7. Electrostatics, electrostatic potential [1.0 week]
  8. Maxwell's equations and the foundations of circuit theory [0.5 weeks]
  9. Maxwell's Equations: plane wave-solutions in free space [1.5 week]
  10. Plane waves in lossy media [0.5 weeks]
  11. Reflections of plane waves from planar interfaces with dielectrics and conductors [1.0 week]

Course Structure: The class meets for four 50-minute lectures per week. In addition, four laboratory exercises are conducted over the course of the quarter during an additional 3-hour meeting time each week. Homework is assigned weekly. Either one or two midterm exams are given, at the instructor's discretion, together with a comprehensive final exam.

Computer Resources: Computers capable of running PSPICE are required.

Laboratory Resources: Laboratories require computers capable of PSPICE.

Grading: Suggested weights are: homework (20%), exam-1 (20%), exam-2 (20%), final exam (30%), laboratory (10%). These may be modified at the instructor's discretion.

Outcome Coverage:

(a) An ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science, and engineering. The homework and exams require direct application of mathematics, scientific, and engineering knowledge to successfully complete the course. This requires performing various transmission-line and electromagnetic-field analyses in a formal manner, chiefly using vector calculus and differential equations, while supplying numerous supporting calculations and intuitive interpretations of results. (H)

(b) An ability to design and conduct experiments, as well as to analyze and interpret data. The behavior of waves and fields propagating through guided and unguided media is explored through a sequence of numerical experiments in the course's laboratory segment. To complete these numerical investigations requires the design and construction of numerous experiments, whose resulting data are compared with theoretical calculations and subjected to interpretation. (L)

(e) An ability to identify, formulate, and solve engineering problems. The course is primarily oriented toward basic analysis in electromagnetics but includes examples of applications in data communications, radio communications, and areas such as remote sensing. Students must be able to identify the relevant underlying electromagnetics problem in order to effect a solution or an understanding of the system. (M)

(f) An understanding of professional and ethical responsibilities. This is a standard part of the lectures (L)

(g) An ability to communicate effectively. Lab assignments require write-ups.(L)

(h) The broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental, and societal context. Transmission lines and propagating electromagnetic waves have now closed what is virtually a monopoly on high-capacity, long-distance communication among humans. Students taking the course will thus readily recognize the broad applicability of transmission lines and electromagnetic waves in applications to problems of sweeping global, economic, and societal impact. (L)

(k) An ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice. The behavior of voltage and current waves propagating in systems exhibiting distributed inductance and capacitance is examined at length in part through use of an industry-standard circuit-simulator (PSPICE). (H)


Prepared By: Evan Goldstein

Last revised: December 5, 2012