77 6.632 Electromagnetic Wave Theory
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6.632 Electromagnetic Wave Theory (H)

EM Theory and Lord Maxwell
(3.3 0 7.2)

Lecturer: J. Kong
Lecturer's Rating: 6.4/7.0
Prerequisites: 6.630, 8.02, 8.03, 6.014, 18.03, trigonometry
Response rate: 21 out of 28
Difficulty: 4.6/7.0
Overall Rating: 6/7.0
Term Evaluated: Spring 2003

Lecturer's Comments:


6.632 is a follow-up class to its prerequisite, 6.630. The class covers electromagnetic wave theory and some applications. Waves in different media, plasmas tensors, Faraday rotation and antenna design were some of the topics covered.


  • Maxwell's story time
  • Lectures
  • TA
  • Examples
  • Detailed derivations on blackboard


  • 11 psets
  • Too theoretical

This class was taken mostly by graduate students, MEng students, and seniors. From those students, there was a mixture of majors represented, including Course I, III, VI, and VII. Students suggested that taking this class in order to really learn EM theory and to stay up to date with current work. For those not interested in the subject matter, Lecturer J.A. Kong was noted by students as being a sufficient reason for taking the course, as his lectures were very entertaining and engaging. Some graduate students took the course for their qualification exams and to meet a graduation requirement.

Lecturer J. Kong (6.4/7.0, 19 responses) was an excellent teacher with clear, exciting and engaging lectures. Several students commented on his ability to stimulate interest in the subject. He was very knowledgeable about EM theory and entertained the class with stories from Lord Maxwell's life. As previously stated, Professor Kong was reason enough to take this course.

TA X. Chen (6/7.0, 18 responses) was also very helpful in explaining concepts. He was also noted for knowing the material well and for answering questions clearly and concisely. TA Chen was helpful for the problem sets, gave good quiz reviews, and great class demonstrations.

There were numerous problem sets for this class, but they were helpful in understanding the material. Most students collaborated and found the group work helpful. Several of the problems were not covered in the book or in lecture, but with helpful hints from the TA, the problems were doable. Several students complained about the grungy math but were satisfied with the level of difficulty. The problem sets were also distributed promptly.

Lecturer Kong wrote the text and most students thought it was great. However, most students noted that lectures were more important to understanding the material than the textbook.

Grading was based on 11 problem sets (34%) and 2 quizzes (66%). Several students commented that the class was easy and good to take for a high grade.

You should have an interest in EM theory, have taken 6.630, and have a decent mathematical background to appreciate and get the most out of the class.

"If you want to really learn E&M, take this class [and] not a substitute."
"Socratic style of teaching makes class entertaining and concepts memorable."
"[Professor Kong is] clear, eloquent and engaging. Makes me want to learn more."

Dated: September 03, 2003
Eta Kappa Nu, MIT