Quantum and Thermal Physics

University of Otago

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Quantum and Thermal Physics

  • Host University

    University of Otago

  • Location

    Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    One of PHSI 131, PHSI 132, PHSI 191, PHSI 110 and (MATH 160 or MATH 170). Students without the Mathematics background recommended for PHSI 231 may still be admitted to the paper. To do this, apply for Special Permission at the Review and Submit stage of your application.

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Introduction to the fundamental microscopic and macroscopic theories of matter. Quantum physics: wave-particle duality, the uncertainty principle, the measurement problem. Thermodynamics; principles of statistical mechanics. Classical mechanics.

    This paper covers three major topics in physics. The Classical Mechanics section presents a mathematically rigorous account of Newton's laws, mechanics and harmonic oscillators. The Quantum Mechanics section introduces the wave function, Schrodinger's equations and applications. The Thermal Physics section introduces the laws of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics for isolated systems and systems connected to a thermal reservoir.

    Learning Outcomes
    After completing this paper students will be able to:

    • State the basic principles of three key topics in physics: Newtonian classical mechanics, introductory wave-function-based quantum mechanics and thermal physics (thermodynamics, microcanonical and canonical statistical mechanics)
    • Apply these principles, in conjunction with mathematical and statistical techniques, to solve problems in these three topic areas
    • Present a solution to a physics problem in a clear and logical written form and be able to assess whether a solution is physically reasonable
    • Locate and use additional sources of information, such as text books and discussion with peers, to facilitate problem solving

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.