PHYM211 Advanced Statistical Physics 2017-18
Staff of Foreign Host Institution
Delivery Weeks: As agreed
Level: 7 (NQF)
Credits: 15 NICATS / 7.5 ECTS
Enrolment: 2 students (approx)



This module builds upon PHY2023 the Thermal Physics module taken by students at Stage 2. It emphasises four aspects of statistical physics by applying them to a number of physical systems in equilibrium. Firstly, it is shown that a knowledge of the thermodynamic state depends upon an enumeration of the accessible quantum states of a physical system; secondly, that statistical quantities such as the partition function can be found directly from these states; thirdly, that thermodynamic observables can be related to the partition function, and fourthly, that the theoretical results relate to experimental observations.

This is a Physics Core module taken at a study-abroad host institutions. The module(s) at the host institution that contribute to this module must be approved by the Stage 3 Study Abroad Co-ordinator.

Module Aims

This module aims to give students an understanding of how the time-symmetric laws of quantum mechanics obeyed by all systems can be linked, through a chain of statistical and thermodynamic reasoning, to the (apparently time-asymmetric) natural processes occurring in macroscopic systems. It also furnishes the theoretical background in statistical mechanics that can be drawn on in other modules e.g. Condensed Matter II (PHYM003).

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

A student who has passed this module should be able to:

Syllabus Plan

The syllabus should match, as far as reasonably practical, the contents of PHYM001 (Statistical Physics) and must satisfy Institute of Physics Accreditation requirements and must not duplicate modules that have already been taken, or will be taken in the future, as part of the degree.

  1. Review of thermodynamics and the statistical description of equilibrium
  2. Thermal interaction
  3. Microscopic theory and macroscopic measurements
  4. Canonical distribution
  5. Thermodynamic interaction, phase transitions
  6. Elementary kinetic theory of transport
  7. Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein distributions; black-body photon radiation

Learning and Teaching

Learning Activities and Teaching Methods

Description Study time KIS type
Study in accordance with the conventions of the host institution 150 hours PLS


Weight Form Size When ILOS assessed Feedback
33% Homework (see note) Weekly 4-hour sets Week T1:10 1-5 Written
67% Final exam (see note) 2 hours Week T1:10 1-5 Written

Notes: Assessment assignment patterns follow the conventions of the host institution. The above entries are only indicative of typical arrangements. Grades awarded by overseas institutions are converted to Exeter grades using the conversion procedures described in the Physics Handbook


The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of information that students are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Instructor(s).

Core text:

Supplementary texts:


Further Information

Prior Knowledge Requirements

Pre-requisite Modules N/A
Co-requisite Modules N/A


Re-assessment is not available except when required by referral or deferral.

Original form of assessment Form of re-assessment ILOs re-assessed Time scale for re-assessment

Notes: Re-assessment arrangements follow the conventions of the host institution

KIS Data Summary

Learning activities and teaching methods
SLT - scheduled learning & teaching activities 0 hrs
GIS - guided independent study 0 hrs
PLS - placement/study abroad 150 hrs
Total 150 hrs
Summative assessment
Coursework 33%
Written exams 67%
Practical exams 0%
Total 100%


IoP Accreditation Checklist
  • Not applicable to this module.
Availability Physics programmes with study abroad only
Distance learning NO
Keywords Physics; Core; Host institution; Study Abroad.
Created 01-Oct-10
Revised 07-Nov-16