• Lab, Lab Book and Lab Reports: 60%
  • Final Project: 15%
  • Home-work, quizzes 15%
  • Instructor evaluation of your effort and engagement 10%
Please check with your instructor if you have questions about the grading scale.


We will have homework and quizzes on an as-needed base. The quizzes will take between 15 and 30min and will usually (but not necessarily always) be given at the beginning of the class. These quizzes will be on material that you should have internalized by the day of the quiz from the reading assignments and previous lectures. The textbook and the student manual have many practical examples which be might modified for quiz questions.

Lab and Lab Book

One of the most important aspects of this course is to learn how to work in a lab, how to take notes and maintain a notebook and how to write good reports. We will be with you in the lab and will constantly evaluate your performance and we will also check your notebooks on a regular basis. See How to keep a lab notebook for further instructions.

Lab Reports

Lab reports are to be submitted as a pdf file e-mailed to the instructor before 11:59 pm on the dates listed on the schedule. Late lab reports will incur a severe penalty of up to 15% off per day late. After 4 days late the maximum grade for the assignment (assuming perfect work) will be 50%. You should use 'latex' to write your lab report. We will follow the same format that is used in Phy4803L. See their website for instructions. Similar to 4803L, we also expect you to compile the tex file as your first lab report for chapter 1. More instructions will be provided in class.

Assignment due dates will be strictly followed.
While you will work in teams of two for building the circuits and recording data, the lab reports are to be individual efforts. Discussion with and help from your peers is encouraged, but copying of work is not. Both members in each team should participate in taking data and in the analyses. Exclusively dividing the lab work is strongly discouraged. Lab partners will typically be rotated with each new chapter of the Lab Manual.

Final Project

Rather than a final exam this course has final "skunk works"* projects to be worked on in teams of two in the weeks leading up to the end of the semester (see schedule). Partners are self selected by mutual agreement as the time approaches, so make note of with whom you worked well in doing the labs. Each project will be to build a circuit, having a complexity going well beyond those in the lab manual, meant to perform some stated function. The circuit/function can be devised by the team from scratch, or it can be a circuit identified from the literature or some combination of these. In either case it must be approved by the instructor before detailed work begins (see schedule). The completed circuit will be demonstrated for the class as part of a final PowerPoint-like presentation (during finals week) that details how the elements of the circuit come together to perform its function. Considered in the grading will be circuit’s complexity (with designed circuits ranking higher than found circuits), the quality of the circuit's descriptions in the presentations (appropriately using principles learned throughout the course) and finally execution (did the circuit work, doing what was intended). You are responsible for ordering and purchasing any parts needed for your project that are not already in the lab. Electronic components are fortunately not expensive but overnight shipping can greatly add to the cost. If you plan well in advance you should not need to resort to overnight shipping.  If you want to keep your project you will need to order breadboards and parts that overtax our stock to take with you.

Once all presentations are complete, you must clean up your project and bench area. Anyone not doing so will receive a failing grade in the course until the area is cleaned up by the perpetrator(s).

Laboratory Access

If you have to put in more time, the laboratory (Room 1249) is accessible during off-hours. A combination locked box on the door contains the key to the room. You will be given the combination in class. Be sure that the box with the key and the room are locked when you leave. This access is intended for make-up and for when simply more time is needed. For safety reasons, no student should be working in the lab alone at any time. If you are found working alone in the lab you will be given an automatic failure for that week's lab. In general that person should be your lab partner. However, life happens and sometimes only one of the students is falling behind due to sickness or other events. In that case, you can bring someone else who has to be mature enough to call an emergency number if needed.


* Skunk works was the official pseudonym for Lockheed's Advanced Development Programs (ADP) responsible for e.g. the SR 71 Blackbird. It has come to symbolize advanced projects worked on by small, specialized teams.