Classical Physics

Victoria University of Wellington

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Classical Physics

  • Host University

    Victoria University of Wellington

  • Location

    Wellington, New Zealand

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    MATH 142, 151, PHYS 114, 115;

  • 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

    PHYS 223 extends the treatment of kinetic theory, Boltzmann and Maxwell distributions, thermodynamics, potential fields (gravity, electric and magnetic) and classical mechanics.

    Course content

    • Classical mechanics (Dr. Governale)
    • Newtonian mechanics (refresher)
    • Calculus of variations
    • Constraints and generalised coordinates
    • Hamilton’s principle
    • Lagrangian and Lagrange’s equations
    • Conservation laws and symmetries
    • Coupled oscillators, normal modes
    • Motion in a central potential
    • Hamiltonian and Hamilton’s equations
    • Poisson brackets

    Thermodynamics and Kinetic Theory (Dr. Ingham)

    • State variables and equations of state
    • Zeroth law of thermodynamics
    • Work, heat
    • 1st law of thermodynamics
    • Heat capacities
    • Isothermal and adiabatic changes
    • 2nd law of thermodynamics, heat engines
    • Carnot's theorem
    • Clausius' theorem
    • Entropy
    • Thermodynamic potentials
    • Kinetic theory of gases

    Course learning objectives
    Students who pass this course should be able to:

    • Possess a solid knowledge of classical thermodynamics, Lagrangian mechanics and Hamiltonian mechanics.
    • Possess the ability to describe thermodynamical and mechanical systems by means of formal mathematical language and make quantitative predictions on their behavior;.
    • Possess the ability to perform practical measurements associated with thermal and mechanical phenomena.

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.