Course Title: Mechanics and Thermodynamics

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Mechanics and Thermodynamics

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


135H Applied Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 2 2023

Course Coordinator: Jackson Smith

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Assumed Knowledge

You will need to either have completed or, at the same time, be enrolled in a first-year undergraduate course in calculus (or equivalent). Contact your course coordinator for more information.

Course Description

Mechanics and thermodynamnics are two branches of classical physics that provide a mathematical framework for understanding how the universe works at length scales familiar from everyday life. However, the applicability of these frameworks also extend beyond our personal experience, from atomic theory to space science. This first-year course establishes the necessary foundations for your future studies in physics. In it you will be introduced to physical quantities, conservation laws, and laws of motion and thermodynamics that form the basis of models for the natural world. You will learn about the importance of these frameworks as well as their limitations, and apply the knowledge you’ve gained to test each framework’s validity through experimentation.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Program Learning Outcomes

This course contributes to the program learning outcomes for the following programs: 

BP350, BP330

For more information on the program learning outcomes for your program, please see the program guide.  

Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to:

  1. Explain basic concepts from classical mechanics and thermodynamics.
  2. Apply knowledge from classical mechanics and thermodynamics to describe the behaviour of physical systems.
  3. Apply knowledge from classical mechanics and thermodynamics to solve elementary problems in these fields.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to communicate scientific facts effectively using appropriate mathematical notation and scientific conventions. 
  5. Demonstrate the ability to perform experiments, collect and analyse data, and report scientific results as the member of a team.

Overview of Learning Activities

You will be actively engaged in a range of learning activities such as lectorials, tutorials, and practicals. The delivery of these activities may be face to face, online, or a mixture of both.

You are encouraged to be proactive and self-directed in your learning, asking questions of your lecturer and/or peers and seeking out information as required, especially from the numerous sources available through the RMIT library, and through links and material specific to this course that is available through myRMIT Studies Course Site.

You will learn in this course through:

  • Lectures/lectorials, where concepts will be introduced and explained through discussions, worked examples, and/or demonstrations;
  • Private study, such as reading the prescribed textbook and solving problems;
  • Participation in tutorials designed to give you further practice in the application of important concepts, as well as feedback on your progress;
  • Completing assignments that require an integrated understanding of the subject matter;
  • Performing experiments and the writing of laboratory reports.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through myRMIT Studies Course Site. Extensive use will be made of the prescribed text and its associated learning materials. Other notes may also be provided. You will have access to laboratory facilities on campus.

There are services available to support your learning through the University Library. The Library provides guides on academic referencing and subject specialist help as well as a range of study support services. For further information, please visit the Library page on the RMIT University website and the myRMIT student portal.

Overview of Assessment

Some of the assessment in this course is formative and therefore done continuously, throughout semester. This practice will encourage you to learn the course material as it is presented and provide you with timely feedback. Assessments include assignments and quizzes that may contain either conceptual or numerical problems, as well as tutorials which will test your ability to recall concepts and apply them to solve problems. Laboratory skills are assessed through the conduct of experiments and report writing, which develops your ability to communicate scientific ideas. Finally, your understanding of the course material will be assessed in written tests.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment item 1: Written assignments (2)

Weighting 15%

This assessment task supports  CLO 1-4.

Assessment item 2: Weekly problem solving activities ( 12 )

Weighing 10%

This assessment supports CLOs 2, 3 & 4

Assessment item 3: Laboratory reports (3)

Weighting 25%

This assessment supports CLOs 2-5.

Assessment item 4: Invigilated tests (2)

Weighting 50%

This assessment supports CLO 1-4.

If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program coordinator or Equitable Learning Services if you would like to find out more.