FYS2160 - Thermodynamics and statistical physics

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

Thermodynamics and its statistical interpretation. The first and second law of thermodynamics. Ideal gas, systems of paramagnets and solid lattices as simple model systems. Basic principles of heat engines and refrigerators. General thermodynamic relations and chemical potential. Phase transitions of pure substances, the law of mass action applied to simple chemical reactions and ionisation. Boltzmann statistics and quantum statistics. Fermi- and Bose gases, including Bose-Einstein condensation.

Learning outcome

To explain a variety of physical phenomena and processes observed in nature we have to invoke physical laws on the microscopic (atomic) level. Guided by a basic knowledge of statistical physics the students are expected to fully understand and make proper analyses of physical problems related to temperature and energy.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

In addition to fulfilling the Higher Education Entrance Qualification, applicants have to meet the following special admission requirements:

One of these:

  • Mathematics R1
  • Mathematics (S1+S2)

And and in addition one of these:

  • Mathematics (R1+R2)
  • Physics (1+2)
  • Chemistry (1+2)
  • Biology (1+2)
  • Information technology (1+2)
  • Geosciences (1+2)
  • Technology and theories of research (1+2)

The special admission requirements may also be covered by equivalent studies from Norwegian upper secondary school or by other equivalent studies. Read more about special admission requirements (in Norwegian).

The following courses must be taken earlier than the first mandatory laboratory in FYS2160:

For students taking FYS2160 Autumn 2015 or later, to have FYS2160 included in your degree you must first pass the following HSE courses:

For further information see website for transitional arrangements between old and new HSE courses

Recommended previous knowledge

MAT1100 - Calculus, MAT1110 - Calculus and linear algebra, MAT1120 - Linear algebra, FYS-MEK1110 - Mechanics, FYS1120 - Electromagnetism and FYS2140 - Quantum physics.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap against FYS114.


The first lecture is mandatory. If you are unable to attend, the Department of Physics has to be informed no later than the same day (e-mail studieinfo@fys.uio.no), or else you will lose your place in the course.

The course is given in the fall term and contains 4 hours of lectures in addition to problem solving and computer lab. There will also be compulsory problems for evaluation where 2/3 must be "passed" in order to qualify for the final exam.

To attend mandatory laboratory classes it is required that the following courses must be taken earlier than the first compulsory laboratory in FYS2160:


You will need to provide documentation that you have passed HMS0503 and HMS0505 when you attend the first mandatory lab.

As the teaching involves laboratory and/or field work, you should consider taking out a separate travel and personal risk insurance. Read about your insurance cover as a student.


Final written 4-hour exam (beginning of December) with 100% weight.

Examination support material

Allowed aids: Øgrim og Lian "Fysiske størrelser og enheter". Rottman: "Matematisk formelsamling". Approved calculator. Two A4 sheets with notes.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

This course offers both postponed and resit of examination. Read more:

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language