This book was written to enable physicists and engineers to learn, within a single course, some topics in variational calculus, theory of elasticity, molecular models, and surface properties of nematic materials. It prepares graduate students for studies that require a simple knowledge in the physics of nematic liquid crystals.With this consideration in mind, the authors have formulated the problems concerning the continuum theory of liquid crystals into a precise form. In working out the solutions, they have analyzed, systematically and naturally, the techniques and methods of variational calculus. Special attention is dedicated to the analysis of well-posed and ill-posed variational problems. The presence of sub-surface discontinuity in the nematic orientation is analyzed using different techniques. A full chapter is devoted to this aspect of the theory of elasticity of nematic media.