Course Title: Thermodynamics and Electromagnetism

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Thermodynamics and Electromagnetism

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


135H Applied Sciences


Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2014,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 2 2019,
Sem 2 2020

Course Coordinator: Professor James Macnae

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3401

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 14.06.09B

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

None. It is assumed that you have studied Mathematical Methods at Year 12 level. Familiarity with year 12 physics is an advantage.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the physical quantities and laws of thermodynamics and electromagnetism, and some of their important consequences.  If you want to proceed to study physics at second or third year level, you should take this course, because it establishes foundations for further studies in physics, particularly statistical mechanics, quantum mechanics and relativity.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

After completing this course you will be able to define and describe:
•    the quantities related to the thermal properties of materials;
•    the first and second laws of thermodynamics and their consequences
•    the electric and magnetic forces and their origins;
•    the Gauss, Ampere, Faraday and Maxwell laws to describe the principles of electromagnetism;
You will also gain experience in the application of these concepts to a number of real-life situations, enabling you to make relevant observations, measurements and calculations, to predict the behaviour of nature and to take control over some of its outcomes.

Overview of Learning Activities

You will learn in this course by:
• attendance at lectures where material will be presented and explained, and the subject will be illustrated with demonstrations and examples;
• private study, working through the theory as presented in lectures, texts and notes, and gaining practice at solving conceptual and numerical problems;
• completing tutorial questions designed to give you further practice in application of theory, and feedback on your progress and understanding;
• completing written and online assignments consisting of numerical and other problems requiring an integrated understanding of the subject matter;
• undertaking a number of laboratory experiments related to the theory topics, and preparing reports on their outcomes.

Overview of Learning Resources

Extensive use will be made of the prescribed text and associated on-line resources. You will have access to computer-aided learning and laboratory facilities.

Overview of Assessment


Assignments       20%

Laboratory          30%

Class Test          25%

Exam                  25%