FYS5120 - Advanced quantum field theory

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

The main aim of this course is to achieve a modern understanding of quantum field theory, with special emphasis on the principles underlying the Standard model of particle physics. This includes the importance and interpretation of regularization and renormalization, the geometric structure of gauge theories and functional quantization. The structure of the ground state (the vacuum in particle physics), including its symmetry breaking and excitations (particles), are derived directly from the generating functional (partition function) by using “thermodynamic potentials” borrowed from statistical mechanics. The vacuum structure of abelian (QED) and non-abelian (QCD) gauge theories is analyzed using dimensional regularization. The energy, electrical permittivity and magnetic permeability of empty space explain why the coupling constants (charges) are not constant, and why the magnetic moment of the electron is not given by Dirac’s theory.

Other key words are: path integrals, correlation functions, Wick rotation, Feynman rules, Grassmann calculus, functional determinants, renormalization group, Callan-Symanzik equation, beta-functions, anomalous dimensions, asymptotic freedom, electroweak theory, Goldstone’s theorem, group theory, Higgs mechanism and mixing angles.

Learning outcome

The students will be introduced to advanced methods in quantum field theory. Theoretical aspects are more emphasised than applications.


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Formal prerequisite knowledge

In addition to fulfilling the minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway, you must either have 2MX/2MY/3MZ and 3MX/3FY/3KJ/3BI/(2KJ+3BT)/(2BI+3BT) from Norwegian upper secondary school, or have completed equivalent studies in mathematics as well as physics, or chemistry, or biology at upper secondary school or university level at another educational institution. Read more about fulfilling special requirements.

Recommended previous knowledge

FYS4170 - Relativistic quantum field theory. FYS4560 - Elementary particle physics might be advantageous.

Overlapping courses

10 credits overlap with FYS9120 - Advanced quantum field theory

10 credits overlap against FYS403.


The course extends over a full semester with 4 hours of teaching per week. Assignments will be given and discussed during lectures.


Oral exam in spring semester. Letter grades.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

This course offers both postponed and resit of examination. Read more:

Facts about this course






Every spring

If the course is offered, a minimum of four students is required for ordinary lectures to take place. If less than four students participate, an exam will be given, but one should not expect ordinary teaching.


Every spring

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)