Quantum Field Theory

Subject PHYC90008 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 29-Feb-2016 to 29-May-2016
Assessment Period End 24-Jun-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 11-Mar-2016
Census Date 31-Mar-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 06-May-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours comprising 3 one-hour lectures/week
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


A third-year subject in quantum mechanics equivalent to

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1

A third-year subject in electrodynamics equivalent to

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1

(usually to be taken concurrently)

Study Period Commencement:
Credit Points:
Semester 1
Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/disability


Assoc Prof Jeffrey Mccallum


Email: msc@physics.unimelb.edu.au

Subject Overview:

This subject introduces quantum field theory, the combination of quantum mechanics and relativity that explains the fundamental structure of matter and the physics of the early universe. The course has an emphasis on quantum electrodynamics. Specific topics will include an introduction to classical field theory, the Euler-Lagrange equations and Noether’s theorem; the Dirac and Klein-Gordon equations; the quantisation of free scalar, Dirac and vector fields; covariant perturbation theory, the Smatrix and Feynman diagrams; the computation of elementary processes in quantum electrodynamics.

Learning Outcomes:

The objectives of this subject are:

  • to introduce the basic ideas of quantum field theory;
  • to understand how quantum mechanics and special relativity combine to produce realistic theories of particle creation and annihilation;
  • to develop calculational techniques to at least the level of tree-level Feynman diagrams for quantum electrodynamics;
  • to provide the foundation for more advanced studies in quantum field theory.

Two assignments totalling up to 36 pages of written work (20%), one due early-semester and the other late-semester, plus a 4-hour end-of-semester written examination (80%).

Prescribed Texts:


Recommended Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

At the completion of this subject, students should have gained the ability to:

  • analyse a problem by applying fundamental laws in a sophisticated context;
  • apply abstract concepts to real-world situations;
  • solve relatively complicated problems using approximations;
  • participate as an effective member of a group in discussions and collaborative assignments;
  • manage time effectively in order to be prepared for group discussions and undertake the assignments and exam.
Related Course(s): Master of Science (Physics)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Approved Masters level subjects from other departments

Download PDF version.