525.623.81 - Principles of RF and Microwave Circuits

Electrical and Computer Engineering
Spring 2024


This course addresses foundational microwave circuit concepts and engineering fundamentals. Topics include electromagnetics leading to wave propagation and generation, the transmission line, and impedance/admittance transformation and matching. Mapping and transformation are presented in the development of the Smith Chart. The Smith Chart is used to perform passive microwave circuit design. Microwave networks and s-matrix are presented; Mason’s rules is introduced. Circuits are physically designed using microstrip concepts, taking into consideration materials properties, connectors, and other components.


Course Structure

The course materials are divided into modules which can be accessed by clicking Course Modules on the left menu. A module willhave several sections including the overview, content, readings, discussions, and assignments. You are encouraged to preview all sections of the module before starting. Most modules run for a period of seven (7) days, starting on Tuesday of each week and ending the following Monday; exceptions are noted on the Course Outline page. You should regularly check the Calendar andAnnouncements for assignment due dates. Homework will be due Mondays at midnight.

Course Topics

Course Goals

This course will introduce students to high frequency (microwave) circuits. The intent is to give students the theoretical and practical foundations of understanding and designing microwave circuits. Students will learn the necessary software tools to build practicalmicrowave circuits. Topics include transmission line theory, impedance matching, S-parameters, Smith chart, network analysis, noise analysis, and amplifier design.

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)


Pozar, D. M. (2011). Microwave Engineering (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons. 

ISBN-10: 0470631554
ISBN-13: 978-0470631553

Textbook information for this course is available online through the appropriate bookstore website: For online courses, search the MBSwebsite at http://ep.jhu.edu/bookstore.

Required Software

Microwave Office

In this class, we will use the Microwave Office ® software by National Instruments. Students can download it online and obtain a license, for one semester, by requesting access at the following link: https://awrcorp.com/register/customer.aspx?univ

Students must use their "...@jhu.edu" email address when they register (not @jh.edu). Using the software is required.  Note that if you have a "..@jh.edu" account, then you also have a "...@jhu.edu" account.  You can try send yourself an email and verify that it works.

Student Coursework Requirements

It is expected that each module will take approximately 10–16 hours per week to complete. Here is an approximate breakdown: reading the assigned sections of the texts (approximately 3–4 hours per week) as well as some outside reading, listening to the audio annotated slide presentations (approximately 2–3 hours per week), and homework assignments (approximately 5–6 hours per week).

This course will consist of four basic student requirements:

Preparation and Participation (Module Discussions) (15% of Final Grade Calculation)

You are responsible for carefully reading all assigned material and being prepared for discussion. The majority of readings are from the course text. Additional reading may be assigned to supplement text readings.

Post your initial response to the discussion questions before the next module starts. Posting a response to the discussion question is part one of your grade for module discussions (i.e., Timeliness).

I will monitor module discussions and will respond to some of the discussions as discussions are posted. Evaluation of preparation and participation is based on contribution to discussions.

Preparation and participation is evaluated by the following grading elements:

  1. Timeliness (50%)
  2. Critical Thinking (50%)

Preparation and participation is graded as follows:

100–90 = A—Timeliness [regular participation]; Critical Thinking [thoughtful contributions].

89–80 = B—Timeliness [frequent participation]; Critical Thinking [substantial information; thought, insight, and analysis has taken place].

79–70 = C—Timeliness [infrequent participation]; Critical Thinking [generally competent; information is thin and commonplace].

<70 = F—Timeliness [rare participation]; Critical Thinking [rudimentary and superficial; no analysis or insight is displayed].

All of the discussion exercises carry equal weight. The instructor will drop the lowest 2 discussion grades.

Assignments (65% of Final Grade Calculation)

Assignments will include a mix of quantitative problem sets and software simulations. Please put the class assignment number and your name on each assignment file - even though it will be submitted electronically. Bear in mind that you are being graded on the process of getting to the correct result. As such, detailed work is expected for each question. It is perfectly fine to send in scanned versions of hand written work. Please keep the combined answers to all the questions in one document. For software simulations, please submit a working project file. Please do not use zip file with all the files included.

Students are allowed to work together on assignments. However, each student shall submit his/her assignment individually. If there is a question on how a particular problem was graded, make a note next to the problem and return it to the instructor. The instructor will look it over and return within one week with any adjustments. All assignments are due according to the dates in the Calendar. Assignments submitted after the solutions are passed out will not be accepted. If there are extenuating circumstances which make it impossible for you to get the assignment submitted ontime, it is up to you to tell the instructor before the due date, so that an arrangement can be worked out.

All the assignments will have equal weight and the instructor will drop the lowest assignment grade.

Assignments are graded out of 100 points each.

Final Project (20% for final project)

The final project will consist of design, analysis, and layout of a complete microwave circuit according to a set of specifications (e.g. gain, return loss, and stability requirements). It will be graded (out of 100 points) on:

Grading Policy

Assignments are due according to the dates posted in your Canvas course site. You may check these due dates in the Course Calendar or the Assignments in the corresponding modules. I will post grades approximately one week after assignment due dates.

Assignments are expected to be submitted using Canvas as indicated in the assignment instructions; it will be considered late if it is received after that time. Special circumstances (e.g., temporary lack of internet access) can be cheerfully accommodated if the student informs us in advance. Assignments that are unjustifiably late may be rejected or receive a 20% markdown.

I generally do not directly grade spelling and grammar. However, egregious violations of the rules of the English language will be noted without comment. Consistently poor performance in either spelling or grammar is taken as an indication of poor writtencommunication ability that may detract from your grade.

A grade of A indicates achievement of consistent excellence and distinction throughout the course—that is, conspicuous excellence in all aspects of assignments and discussion in every week.

A grade of B indicates work that meets all course requirements on a level appropriate for graduate academic work. These criteriaapply to both undergraduates and graduate students taking the course.

Final grades are based on the following scale:

Score RangeLetter Grade
100-98= A+
97-94= A
93-90= A−
89-87= B+
86-83= B
82-80= B−
79-70= C
<70= F

Final grades will be determined by the following weighting: 


% of Grade

Preparation and Participation (Module Discussions)




Final Project


Academic Policies

Deadlines for Adding, Dropping and Withdrawing from Courses

Students may add a course up to one week after the start of the term for that particular course. Students may drop courses according to the drop deadlines outlined in the EP academic calendar (https://ep.jhu.edu/student-services/academic-calendar/). Between the 6th week of the class and prior to the final withdrawal deadline, a student may withdraw from a course with a W on their academic record. A record of the course will remain on the academic record with a W appearing in the grade column to indicate that the student registered and withdrew from the course.

Academic Misconduct Policy

All students are required to read, know, and comply with the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences (KSAS) / Whiting School of Engineering (WSE) Procedures for Handling Allegations of Misconduct by Full-Time and Part-Time Graduate Students.

This policy prohibits academic misconduct, including but not limited to the following: cheating or facilitating cheating; plagiarism; reuse of assignments; unauthorized collaboration; alteration of graded assignments; and unfair competition. Course materials (old assignments, texts, or examinations, etc.) should not be shared unless authorized by the course instructor. Any questions related to this policy should be directed to EP’s academic integrity officer at ep-academic-integrity@jhu.edu.

Students with Disabilities - Accommodations and Accessibility

Johns Hopkins University values diversity and inclusion. We are committed to providing welcoming, equitable, and accessible educational experiences for all students. Students with disabilities (including those with psychological conditions, medical conditions and temporary disabilities) can request accommodations for this course by providing an Accommodation Letter issued by Student Disability Services (SDS). Please request accommodations for this course as early as possible to provide time for effective communication and arrangements.

For further information or to start the process of requesting accommodations, please contact Student Disability Services at Engineering for Professionals, ep-disability-svcs@jhu.edu.

Student Conduct Code

The fundamental purpose of the JHU regulation of student conduct is to promote and to protect the health, safety, welfare, property, and rights of all members of the University community as well as to promote the orderly operation of the University and to safeguard its property and facilities. As members of the University community, students accept certain responsibilities which support the educational mission and create an environment in which all students are afforded the same opportunity to succeed academically. 

For a full description of the code please visit the following website: https://studentaffairs.jhu.edu/policies-guidelines/student-code/

Classroom Climate

JHU is committed to creating a classroom environment that values the diversity of experiences and perspectives that all students bring. Everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Fostering an inclusive climate is important. Research and experience show that students who interact with peers who are different from themselves learn new things and experience tangible educational outcomes. At no time in this learning process should someone be singled out or treated unequally on the basis of any seen or unseen part of their identity. 
If you have concerns in this course about harassment, discrimination, or any unequal treatment, or if you seek accommodations or resources, please reach out to the course instructor directly. Reporting will never impact your course grade. You may also share concerns with your program chair, the Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion, or the Office of Institutional Equity. In handling reports, people will protect your privacy as much as possible, but faculty and staff are required to officially report information for some cases (e.g. sexual harassment).

Course Auditing

When a student enrolls in an EP course with “audit” status, the student must reach an understanding with the instructor as to what is required to earn the “audit.” If the student does not meet those expectations, the instructor must notify the EP Registration Team [EP-Registration@exchange.johnshopkins.edu] in order for the student to be retroactively dropped or withdrawn from the course (depending on when the "audit" was requested and in accordance with EP registration deadlines). All lecture content will remain accessible to auditing students, but access to all other course material is left to the discretion of the instructor.