Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Mathematical Sciences


Type Open Level 4 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • (Quantum Mechanics III (MATH3111) OR Foundations of Physics 3a (PHYS3621)) AND Geometry of Mathematical Physics III (MATH3471).


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • Particle Theory (PHYS4181).


  • The module is intended as a first course in Quantum Field Theory, bringing together concepts from Lagrangian and Hamiltonian mechanics, Classical Field Theory and Special Relativity.
  • To introduce the basic building blocks of particle physics models including scalar, fermionic and gauge fields and how to extract predictions from them.


  • Relativistic Classical Field Theory.
  • Quantisation of free scalar fields.
  • Interacting quantum fields.
  • Path integrals.
  • Fermionic fields and their quantisation.
  • Gauge fields and their quantisation.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Having studied the module students will know the basic principles of quantum field theory and its relevance in modern elementary particle physics.
  • To be able to use the techniques introduced to extract physical predictions from models of particle physics.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will be able to apply a variety of advanced techniques in the area of theoretical elementary particle physics.
  • Students will be able to appreciate the requirements of realistic models of elementary particle physics.
Key Skills:
  • The students will have developed the ability to operate in complex and specialised contexts close to the cutting edge of current research.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • Lectures demonstrate what is required to be learned and the application of the theory to practical examples.
  • Formatively assessed assignments provide practice in the application of logic and high level of rigour as well as feedback for the students and the lecturer on students' progress.
  • The end-of-year examination assesses the knowledge acquired and the ability to solve predictable and unpredictable problems.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 42 2 per week in Michaelmas and Epiphany; 2 in Easter 1 Hour 42
Problems Classes 8 Fortnightly in Michaelmas and Epiphany 1 Hour 8
Preparation and Reading 150
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written examination 3 Hours 100%

Formative Assessment:

Eight written assignments to be assessed and returned. Other assignments are set for self-study and complete solutions are made available to students.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University