PHYC40800 Quantum Field Theory

Academic Year 2022/2023

This module provides an introduction to quantum field theory (aka 2nd quantisation), motivated by the limits of ordinary quantum mechanics (aka 1st quantisation) in describing the interactions of fundamental particles. The course sets the foundations and basic principles, analysing both free and interacting fields, Symmetries, invariances and conservation laws in QFT are discussed, as well as renormalisation and regularisation. A brief outlook is given on the QFTs for the electromagnetic, weak and strong interaction as studied in high-energy particle physics.

This module is suitable for 4th-year undergraduate and graduate students, of all areas in physics and astronomy.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of the course the student should understand the need for 2nd quantisation, understand the concept of fields and their excitations, and understand the tools of QFT used to calculate particle interactions as observed in high-energy particle physics.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Lectures, homework sets, final exam. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations
Learning Recommendations:

1) Classical Mechanics (Lagrangian, Hamiltonian)
2) Special Relativity (Lorentz Transformations, relativistic energy / momentum / mass, 4-vector notation 4-tensors)
3) Electromagnetism
4) Quantum Mechanics (Harmonic Oscillator, Angular Momentum, Ladder/Creation/Annihilation operators)
5) High Energy Particle Physics (can be taken in parallel)

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Continuous Assessment: Homework Throughout the Trimester n/a Not yet recorded No


Examination: Written exam 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Not yet recorded No


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Required book:
Quantum Field Theory for the gifted amateur,
Tom Lancaster & Stephen J. Blundell,
Oxford University Press.