Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


The content of this unit includes the underlying physical principles of (1) thermodynamics—exact and inexact differentials, quasistatic processes, thermodynamic potentials as the drivers of change; (2) statistical mechanics—the microcanonical ensemble, the canonical ensemble, the ideal gas and real gases, Einstein's solid, the grand canonical ensemble, Bose and Fermi distributions and gases; (3) condensed matter physics— crystal structures, reciprocal space, Brillouin zones, X-ray diffraction, the classical and quantum descriptions of crystal dynamics, quasi-particles, neutron scattering. The content is explored with reference to a range of applications and physical contexts, and developed and applied through a series of laboratory tasks. Skills in problem identification, mathematical exploration and solution are fostered through practice problems and tutorial activities.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face

Students are able to (1) analyse the concepts and physical principles underlying thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and condensed matter physics; (2) communicate ideas, both orally and written, relating to thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and condensed matter physics, and performed experiments; (3) solve problems in a range of realistic situations relating to thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, and condensed matter physics; (4) execute an experiment relevant to physics; and (5) evaluate the results of an experiment relevant to physics.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) laboratory; (2) tests; and (3) final examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

To pass this unit, a student must: (a) achieve an overall mark of 50 per cent or higher for the unit; and (b) achieve the requisite requirements(s) or a mark of 50 per cent or greater, whichever is higher and specified in the unit outline, for the laboratory component.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Darren Grasso
Unit rules
PHYS1001 Physics for Scientists and Engineers
or PHYX1001 Physics for Scientists and Engineers
or PHYS1100 Classical and Frontier Physics
PHYS1002 Modern Physics
or PHYS1200 Modern and Frontier Physics
MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
or MATX1011 Multivariable Calculus
or MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods
or MATX1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods
Contact hours
Lectures: average 3 hours per week
Practical Classes: 1 hour per week
Project/Laboratory Work: 18 hours per semester (6 x 3 hours)
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.