The analysis of elastic instabilities in metal cylinders when subjected to electromagnetic fields (Littlefield, 1996a) is extended in this work to include elastic-plastic flow. The cylinder is assumed to be infinitely long and perfectly conducting. The Prandtl-Reuss elastic-plastic material model is the assumed constitutive law, with the von Mises yield criterion employed to limit the effective stress. An axial electric current, assumed to be conducting along the surface of the cylinder, generates a confining pressure, causing plastic flow that is initially assumed to be uniform throughout the cross section. The propagation of small axisymmetric disturbances to this uniform motion is studied by applying linear perturbation theory’. Solutions to these equations exhibit a wide range of instability modes, as was the case for the purely elastic results, and the frequency of the oscillating disturbances appears to be suppressed by electromagnetic effects. However, in contrast to the elastic result, no threshold magnetic field exists, and distending instabilities are possible for all levels of electric current. Physical mechanisms resulting in these distinctions are suggested. © 1996 ASME.