A concise overview is given of the principles of inertial and magnetic fusion, with an emphasis on the latter in view of the aim of this summer school. The basis of magnetic confinement in mirror and toroidal geometry is discussed and applied to the tokamak concept. A brief discussion of the reactor prospects of this configuration identifies which future developments are crucial and where alternative concepts might help in optimising the reactor design. The text also aims at introducing the main concepts encountered in tokamak research that will be studied and used in the subsequent lectures.