Department of Physics and Astronomy  MSc Physics
Topic outline






MSc Physics: Theoretical Physics
SEMESTER 1 (SEM1)
Module CodeModule NamePeriodLevelCreditRelativistic Waves and Quantum FieldsSEM1715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA5304, SPA6325 & SPA5218
Corequisite: SPA7027U
Prerequisite of: SPA7032U/PDescription: This module provides a first introduction into the unification of last century's groundshaking revolutions in physics: Special Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Relativistic wave equations for particles of various spins are derived and studied, and the physical interpretations of their solutions are analyzed. Students will learn about the fundamental concepts of quantum field theory, starting with classical field theory, quantisation of the free KleinGordon and Dirac field and the derivation of the Feynman propagator. Then interactions are introduced and a systematic procedure to calculate scattering amplitudes using Feynman diagrams is derived. Finally, the quantisation of the electromagnetic field is discussed and the relativistic cross sections for various physically relevant examples are calculated.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework
Level: 7
Relativity and GravitationSEM1715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: This module offers an explanation of the fundamental principles of General Relativity. This involves the analysis of particles in a given gravitational field and the propagation of electromagnetic waves in a gravitational field. The derivation of Einstein's field equations from basic principles is included. The derivation of the Schwarzchild solution and the analysis of the Kerr solution inform discussion of physical aspects of strong gravitational fields around black holes. The generation, propagation and detection of gravitational waves is mathematically analysed and a discussion of weak general relativistic effects in the Solar System and binary pulsars is included as a discussion of the experimental tests of General Relativity.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework
Level: 7
Functional Methods in Quantum Field TheorySEM1715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: The module will introduce Feynman's path integral formulation of Quantum Mechanics and apply it to study of Quantum Field Theory (QFT). Emphasis will be given to the role of symmetries (Ward identities), the renormalisation group and the idea of effective action. The concept of Wilson's effective action and the different nature of (ir)relevant/marginal terms will be discussed. Simple scalar theories will provide the example where to apply the concepts and the techniques introduced. The course will also touch on some more advanced topics, such as quantum anomalies and conformal field theories.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework
Level: 7
Differential Geometry in Theoretical PhysicsSEM1715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA6324; SPA6308 or equivalent
Corequisite: SPA7018UDescription: The aim of this course is to complement the core Relativistic Waves and Quantum Fields (RWQF) module by providing the student with some advanced tools essential for research in modern Theoretical Physics. Using the same starting point as RWQF, Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism, we will focus on the Lagrangian formulation of the two most prominent theories of our time: YangMills (gauge) theory and gravity. The alternative notation of differential forms will be explored and the geometric aspects of gauge theory emphasised. Building on this, and introducing elements from group theory and fibre bundles we will introduce classical solitons as localised, finite energy solutions to the classical field equations in various dimensions (kinks in 2d, vortices in 3d, monopoles in 4d, instantons in Euclidean 4d) and discuss their properties, including the existence of zeromodes, associated collective coordinates and moduli spaces.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework
Level: 7
Plus 3 Approved ModulesSEM1715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: Plus 3 further modules from the list of approved modules
Assessment: See Module
Level: 7

SEMESTER 2 (SEM2)
Module CodeModule NamePeriodLevelCreditAdvanced Quantum Field TheorySEM2715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: This module gives a broad exposition of the modern frame work for the unification of special relativity and quantum theory  relativistic quantum field theory (QFT). Lagrangian formulation and canonical quantisation of free fields with spin = 0, 1/2, 1 are revised. The construction of interacting quantum field theories is devoloped with special focus on phi^4theory and quantum electrodynamics (QED). Perturbation theory in terms of Feynman diagrams is developed systematically, and important concepts such as regularisation and renormalisation are introduced. These tools are applied to the calculation of simple treelevel and oneloop Smatrix elements and crosssections in phi^4 theory and QED, corrections to the electron magnetic moment and the running coupling. The course will also touch on more advanced topics such as anomalies, nonAbelian gauge theories, and modern methods for the calculation of Smatrix elements.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework
Level: 7
Supersymmetric Methods in Theoretical PhysicsSEM2715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA6413, SPA6423
Corequisite: SPA7018UDescription: This course introduces core concepts in supersymmetry that can be applied to quantitatively understand a broad variety of physical systems and is a complement to the AQFT and FMQFT modules. Starting with supersymmetric quantum mechanics as a toy model, the course covers the supersymmetry algebra, its representations, the Witten Index, and the resulting constraints on quantum dynamics. We then move on to introduce supersymmetric field theories in three spacetime dimensions consisting of scalars and fermions while giving a basic introduction to symmetry currents, the classical and quantum Wilsonian renormalization group flow, moduli spaces, spurions, and nonrenormalization arguments. The course culminates in a study of simple dualities in threedimensional supersymmetric abelian gauge theories. We conclude with a discussion of supersymmetry in four spacetime dimensions and, time permitting, the embedding of our constructions in string theory.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework
Level: 7
Plus 3 Approved ModulesSEM1715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: Plus 3 further modules from the list of approved modules
Assessment: See Module
Level: 7

SEMESTER 3 (SEM3)
Module CodeModule NamePeriodLevelCreditMSc Physics Research ProjectFULL YEAR760
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: The MSc research Project is at the heart of the MSc programme. It is an independent project undertaken by the student within a working research group in the School. The project runs over three semesters in order to allow for the student to both design their project (using available literature etc.), be trained in the relevant techniques and carry out a reasonably substantial piece of research based on an actual (real) research problem. The presentation of the student findings is based both on a formal, technical written report (75 page maximum length) and on an oral presentation (e.g. powerpoint talk) and examination.
Assessment: 50% Dissertation and 50% Practical
Level: 7
MSc Physics: Condensed Matter Physics
SEMESTER 1 (SEM1)
Module CodeModule NamePeriodLevelCreditPlus 3 Approved ModulesSEM1715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: Plus 3 further modules from the list of approved modules
Assessment: See Module
Level: 7
SEMESTER 2 (SEM2)
Module CodeModule NamePeriodLevelCreditElectronic Structure MethodsSEM2715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: Electronic structure methods  that is, computational algorithms to solve the Schrodinger equation  play a very important role in physics, chemistry and materials science. These methods are increasingly treated on a equal footing with experiment in a number of areas of research, a sign of their growing predictive power and increasing ease of use. This course will cover the fundamental theoretical ideas behind these methods. Topics will include HartreeFock, correlated methods like MollerPlesset perturbation theory, configuration interaction, coupledcluster as well as densityfunctional theory. The theoretical ideas will be complemented with a handson computational laboratory using stateoftheart programs with the aim of providing our students with a basic understanding of the technical implementations and strengths and shortcomings of these methods.
Assessment: 60% Examination and 40% Coursework
Level: 7
Plus 3 Approved ModulesSEM1715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: Plus 3 further modules from the list of approved modules
Assessment: See Module
Level: 7
SEMESTER 3 (SEM3)
Module CodeModule NamePeriodLevelCreditMSc Physics Research ProjectFULL YEAR760
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: The MSc research Project is at the heart of the MSc programme. It is an independent project undertaken by the student within a working research group in the School. The project runs over three semesters in order to allow for the student to both design their project (using available literature etc.), be trained in the relevant techniques and carry out a reasonably substantial piece of research based on an actual (real) research problem. The presentation of the student findings is based both on a formal, technical written report (75 page maximum length) and on an oral presentation (e.g. powerpoint talk) and examination.
Assessment: 50% Dissertation and 50% Practical
Level: 7
MSc Physics: Particle Physics
SEMESTER 1 (SEM1)
Module CodeModule NamePeriodLevelCreditRelativistic Waves and Quantum FieldsSEM1715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA5304, SPA6325 & SPA5218
Corequisite: SPA7027U
Prerequisite of: SPA7032U/PDescription: This module provides a first introduction into the unification of last century's groundshaking revolutions in physics: Special Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Relativistic wave equations for particles of various spins are derived and studied, and the physical interpretations of their solutions are analyzed. Students will learn about the fundamental concepts of quantum field theory, starting with classical field theory, quantisation of the free KleinGordon and Dirac field and the derivation of the Feynman propagator. Then interactions are introduced and a systematic procedure to calculate scattering amplitudes using Feynman diagrams is derived. Finally, the quantisation of the electromagnetic field is discussed and the relativistic cross sections for various physically relevant examples are calculated.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework
Level: 7
Plus 3 Approved ModulesSEM1715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: Plus 3 further modules from the list of approved modules
Assessment: See Module
Level: 7
Module CodeModule NamePeriodLevelCreditAdvanced Quantum Field TheorySEM2715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: This module gives a broad exposition of the modern frame work for the unification of special relativity and quantum theory  relativistic quantum field theory (QFT). Lagrangian formulation and canonical quantisation of free fields with spin = 0, 1/2, 1 are revised. The construction of interacting quantum field theories is devoloped with special focus on phi^4theory and quantum electrodynamics (QED). Perturbation theory in terms of Feynman diagrams is developed systematically, and important concepts such as regularisation and renormalisation are introduced. These tools are applied to the calculation of simple treelevel and oneloop Smatrix elements and crosssections in phi^4 theory and QED, corrections to the electron magnetic moment and the running coupling. The course will also touch on more advanced topics such as anomalies, nonAbelian gauge theories, and modern methods for the calculation of Smatrix elements.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework
Level: 7
Plus 3 Approved ModulesSEM1715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: Plus 3 further modules from the list of approved modules
Assessment: See Module
Level: 7
Module CodeModule NamePeriodLevelCreditMSc Physics Research ProjectFULL YEAR760
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: The MSc research Project is at the heart of the MSc programme. It is an independent project undertaken by the student within a working research group in the School. The project runs over three semesters in order to allow for the student to both design their project (using available literature etc.), be trained in the relevant techniques and carry out a reasonably substantial piece of research based on an actual (real) research problem. The presentation of the student findings is based both on a formal, technical written report (75 page maximum length) and on an oral presentation (e.g. powerpoint talk) and examination.
Assessment: 50% Dissertation and 50% Practical
Level: 7
MSc Physics: Condensed Matter Physics
SEMESTER 1 (SEM1)
Module CodeModule NamePeriodLevelCredit4 Approved ModulesSEM1715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: Plus 3 further modules from the list of approved modules
Assessment: See Module
Level: 7
SEMESTER 2 (SEM2)
Module CodeModule NamePeriodLevelCredit4 Approved ModulesSEM1715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: Plus 3 further modules from the list of approved modules
Assessment: See Module
Level: 7
SEMESTER 3 (SEM3)
Module CodeModule NamePeriodLevelCreditMSc Physics Research ProjectFULL YEAR760
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: The MSc research Project is at the heart of the MSc programme. It is an independent project undertaken by the student within a working research group in the School. The project runs over three semesters in order to allow for the student to both design their project (using available literature etc.), be trained in the relevant techniques and carry out a reasonably substantial piece of research based on an actual (real) research problem. The presentation of the student findings is based both on a formal, technical written report (75 page maximum length) and on an oral presentation (e.g. powerpoint talk) and examination.
Assessment: 50% Dissertation and 50% Practical
Level: 7
MSc Physics: Particle Physics
SEMESTER 1 (SEM1)
Module CodeModule NamePeriodLevelCreditRelativistic Waves and Quantum FieldsSEM1715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA5304, SPA6325 & SPA5218
Corequisite: SPA7027U
Prerequisite of: SPA7032U/PDescription: This module provides a first introduction into the unification of last century's groundshaking revolutions in physics: Special Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. Relativistic wave equations for particles of various spins are derived and studied, and the physical interpretations of their solutions are analyzed. Students will learn about the fundamental concepts of quantum field theory, starting with classical field theory, quantisation of the free KleinGordon and Dirac field and the derivation of the Feynman propagator. Then interactions are introduced and a systematic procedure to calculate scattering amplitudes using Feynman diagrams is derived. Finally, the quantisation of the electromagnetic field is discussed and the relativistic cross sections for various physically relevant examples are calculated.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework
Level: 7
Plus 3 Approved ModulesSEM1715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: Plus 3 further modules from the list of approved modules
Assessment: See Module
Level: 7
SEMESTER 2 (SEM2)
Module CodeModule NamePeriodLevelCreditAdvanced Quantum Field TheorySEM2715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: This module gives a broad exposition of the modern frame work for the unification of special relativity and quantum theory  relativistic quantum field theory (QFT). Lagrangian formulation and canonical quantisation of free fields with spin = 0, 1/2, 1 are revised. The construction of interacting quantum field theories is devoloped with special focus on phi^4theory and quantum electrodynamics (QED). Perturbation theory in terms of Feynman diagrams is developed systematically, and important concepts such as regularisation and renormalisation are introduced. These tools are applied to the calculation of simple treelevel and oneloop Smatrix elements and crosssections in phi^4 theory and QED, corrections to the electron magnetic moment and the running coupling. The course will also touch on more advanced topics such as anomalies, nonAbelian gauge theories, and modern methods for the calculation of Smatrix elements.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework
Level: 7
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: SPA5319, SPA6413 or Equivalent
Corequisite: SPA7018PDescription: The aim of this course is to develop and apply theoretical ideas relevant to collider physics experiments, such as the Large Hadron Collider and related facilities. The course begins by reviewing nonabelian gauge theories, which underly the Standard Model of Particle Physics, before focusing on Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), the theory of quarks and gluons. Detailed applications to experimental observables (e.g. crosssections) will be examined, as well as modern search methods for new physics signals.
Assessment: 90% Examination and 10% Coursework
Level: 7
Plus 3 Approved ModulesSEM1715
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: Plus 3 further modules from the list of approved modules
Assessment: See Module
Level: 7

SEMESTER 3 (SEM3)
Module CodeModule NamePeriodLevelCreditMSc Physics Research ProjectFULL YEAR760
Overlap: None
Prerequisite: None
Corequisite: NoneDescription: The MSc research Project is at the heart of the MSc programme. It is an independent project undertaken by the student within a working research group in the School. The project runs over three semesters in order to allow for the student to both design their project (using available literature etc.), be trained in the relevant techniques and carry out a reasonably substantial piece of research based on an actual (real) research problem. The presentation of the student findings is based both on a formal, technical written report (75 page maximum length) and on an oral presentation (e.g. powerpoint talk) and examination.
Assessment: 50% Dissertation and 50% Practical
Level: 7
