PHYC20100 Thermo & Stat Physics

Academic Year 2024/2025

The concepts of thermodynamics and statistical physics see wide application across both physics and the sciences more generally. To elucidate this, the module will be split into two interconnected parts. The first part focuses on statistical mechanics, building up definitions of concepts such as temperature, entropy and heat from microscopic foundations. The second part focuses on thermodynamics, both as the macroscopic manifestation of statistical mechanics and as a stand-alone framework in its own right.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Understanding the fundamental concepts of thermodynamics and statistical physics, with the ability to understand, assess and solve problems in this important area of physics.

Indicative Module Content:

The first part of the module covers the basic topics of statistical mechanics, including the statistical definitions of temperature and entropy, the various ensembles, the partition function, Maxwell-Boltzmann, Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics and Planck's law.

The second part of the module discusses the key concepts of thermodynamics, including the laws of thermodynamics, the various thermodynamic processes, potentials and Maxwell's relations.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures; Reflective Learning; Enquiry & Problem-Based Learning 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
PHYC10250 - Thermal Physics and Materials, PHYC20030 - Thermal Physics and Materials

PHYC30010 - Thermo & Stat Physics

Additional Information:
The students must have taken a prior module in "Thermal Physics and Materials" , such as PHYC10250 or PHYC20030. Please see the module description for PHYC10250 (or the older) PHYC20030 for topics that are pre-requisites for PHYC20100.

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade

Not yet recorded.

Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Spring Yes - 2 Hour
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback is given on homework assignments. This prepares students for the final examination. Individual feedback can be provided to students directly from the lecturer if sought.