KJM4310 – Physical Chemistry III - Statistical Thermodynamics for Chemistry

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The course provides a thorough introduction to statistical thermodynamics and its applications in chemistry, biochemistry and materials science. By deriving and discussing Boltzmann’s distribution law, the course will lead to the discovery of how the microscopic behavior determines the macroscopic properties of a system. The course will take concepts such as entropy, enthalpy and free energy from classical thermodynamics, this time deriving them starting from the microscopic states of the system and from the molecular interactions that govern them. We will use this to provide general insight and shed light on issues within a broad range of disciplines such as materials chemistry, biochemistry, polymer chemistry, solution chemistry and atmospheric chemistry. Important topics that will be covered will be molecular interactions, chemical kinetics, molecular transport and diffusion, cooperativity and phase transitions, protein folding, self-assembly of amphiphilic molecules, membrane and micelle formation and properties of macromolecules.

Learning outcome

After completing the course, you:

  • understand the connection between thermodynamic potentials (entropy, energy, Gibbs free energy and Helmholtz free energy) and the underlying statistical ensembles at the atomic and molecular level
  • can describe the basic physics of molecules and ensembles of molecules
  • can use statistical-mechanical methods to describe the thermodynamic behavior of gases, liquids, macromolecules and solids
  • possess a general approach based on statistical thermodynamics to address chemical transformations (reactions, phase transitions)
  • can describe collaborative processes in (bio) chemistry using statistical thermodynamics
  • have knowledge of some selected thematic topics: ligand binding, allostery, protein folding, processes at the interface between materials and solutions, or polymer dynamics

Admission to the course

Students admitted at UiO must apply for courses in Studentweb. Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

Nordic citizens and applicants residing in the Nordic countries may apply to take this course as a single course student.

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

KJM1130 – Physical Chemistry I - Thermodynamics and Kinetics and KJM2601 – Fysikalsk kjemi II - kvantekjemi og spektroskopi

Overlapping courses


The course runs the whole of the semester with 6 hours of classes each week, consisting of:

  • 4 hours of lectures
  • 2 hours of seminars

This course has mandatory weekly assignments. 80 % of the assignments must be submitted and approved before the final exam.

It is mandatory to attend the first lecture (including students on the waiting list). If you are unable to attend the first lecture, you must notify the Department of Chemistry before the start of the lecture/exercise. Otherwise, your course registration will be cancelled.


The final exam consists of a written report and an oral presentation which both counts 50 % towards the final grade.

The students will be given a practical assignment and write a report within a deadline of three weeks. There will be questions both from the report and the curriculum in the oral presentation.

When writing your exercises make sure to familiarize yourself with the rules for use of sources and citations. Breach of these rules may lead to suspicion of attempted cheating.

This course has mandatory exercises that must be handed in before you can sit the final exam.

It will also be counted as one of the three attempts to sit the exam for this course, if you sit the exam for one of the following courses: KJM3310 – Physical Chemistry III - Statistical Thermodynamics for Chemistry

Examination support material

All examination support material is allowed for the home exam.

Language of examination

Subjects taught in English will offer the exam paper in English. You may write your examination paper in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

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.

Resit an examination

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed examination at the beginning of the next semester.

Re-scheduled examinations are not offered to students who withdraw during, or did not pass the original examination.

Special examination arrangements, use of sources, explanations and appeals

See more about examinations at UiO

Last updated from FS (Common Student System) Aug. 16, 2022 6:30:00 AM

Facts about this course

Teaching language
Norwegian (English on request)