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,
Sem 2 2021,
Sem 2 2022,
Sem 1 2023

Course Coordinator: Andrew Greentree

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

It is assumed that you have studied Mathematical Methods at Year 12 level. Familiarity with year 12 physics is advantageous.

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.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs):

PLO 1: Understanding science:
PLO 1.1: You will demonstrate an understanding of the scientific method and an ability to apply the scientific method in practice.
PLO 1.3: You will demonstrate an understanding of the role and importance of evidence in the continuous evolution of scientific knowledge.

PLO-2: Scientific knowledge
PLO 2.1: You will have broad knowledge in your chosen discipline, with deep knowledge in its core concepts.

PLO-3: Inquiry and Problem Solving
PLO 3.3: You will be able to choose appropriate tools and methods to solve scientific problems within your area of specialization.
PLO 3.4: You will demonstrate well-developed problem solving skills, applying your knowledge and using your ability to think analytically and creatively.

PLO-4: Communication
PLO 4.1: You will be able to communicate the solution to a problem or the results of a scientific investigation using effective oral, written and presentation skills.

PLO-5: Personal and professional responsibility
PLO 5.2: You will work responsibly, safely, legally and ethically.

After completing this course you will be able to:

  1. describe the quantities related to the thermal properties of materials;
  2. explain the first and second laws of thermodynamics and their consequences;
  3. describe the physical phenomena that result from electric and magnetic forces and discuss their origins, including the laws and equations of Gauss, Ampere, Faraday and Maxwell that underpin electromagnetism;
  4. apply these concepts to a number of real-life situations, enabling you to make relevant observations, measurements and calculations, to predict the behaviour of nature.

Overview of Learning Activities

You will learn in this course by:

  • online delivery of the content, supported by lectorials in which material will be presented and explained, and the subject will be illustrated with demonstrations and examples;
  • private study, working through the theory 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 textbook and associated online resources. You will have access to computer-aided learning and laboratory facilities.

Overview of Assessment

This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Tasks:

Assessment Task 1 – Theory assessments
Weighting 40%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1–4

Assessment Task 2 – Laboratory assessments
Weighting 20%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1-4

Assessment Task 3 – Skills and Capability Assessment 1: Electromagnetism
Weighting 20%
This assessment task supports CLOs 3–4

Assessment Task 4 – Skills and Capability Assessment 2: Thermodynamics
Weighting 20%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1, 2, and 4