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Durham University

Postgraduate Module Handbook 2021/2022

Archive Module Description

This page is for the academic year 2021-22. The current handbook year is 2022-23
No such Code for pgprog: F3K209 Particles, Strings and Cosmology

Department: Mathematical Sciences

MATH51260: Elementary Particle Theory II

Type Tied Level 5 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2021/22
Tied to F3K209 Particles, Strings and Cosmology


  • Elementary Particle Theory I (PHYS51160)


  • None

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • To impart an understanding of the ideas, the mathematical methods and the experimental underpinnings of modern theoretical particle physics through several topics taught at MSc level. In respect of the particular areas, to acquire ability in applying the theory and practice of this knowledge to standard and novel problems or in explaining fundamental aspects of the theory.


  • Strong interaction physics
  • Non-perturbative physics
  • Cosmology
  • Supersymmetry
  • Anomalies
  • Superstrings and D-branes
  • Euclidean field theory
  • Flavour physics and effective field theory
  • Neutrino and astroparticle physics

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will have an understanding of the fundamental concepts in advanced topics of theoretical particle physics. They will master a coherent body of knowledge from the following topics: Strong Interactions, Non-Perturbative Physics, Cosmology and Supersymmetry, and from at least two of the following topics: Anomalies, String theory, Euclidean Field Theory, Flavour Physics and Neutrino and Astroparticle Physics.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will develop highly specialised and advanced mathematical skills in the areas studied.
  • They will be able to solve complex, novel and specialised problems, draw conclusions and deploy physical intuition, with minimal guidance.
  • They will develop their mathematical self-sufficiency and be able to read and understand advanced theoretical physics independently.
Key Skills:
  • (1) Problem solving, written presentation of an argument.
  • (2) The ability to learn actively and reflectively and to develop intuition, the ability to tackle material which is given both unfamiliar and complex.
  • (3) Self-organisation, self-discipline and self-knowledge.

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

  • Lectures indicate what is required to be learned and the application of the theory to examples.
  • Formatively assessed assignments provide practice in the application of high level of rigour and sophisticated techniques of mathematical physics as well as feedback for the students and the lecturer on students' progress.
  • The examinations assess the knowledge acquired and the ability to solve both standard and novel problems.
  • The ability to solve problems will show that the key skills have been developed. (Group (1) is tested directly in the problem solving and group (2) either directly or indirectly by the testing of the knowledge acquired. For group (3), a student who has acquired the knowledge and skills to succeed in this module will necessarily have had to develop the ability to organise and execute a programme of work and will discover aspects of and limits to his/her ability.)

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 136 17 per week 1 hour 136
Preparation and Reading 448
Total 600

Summative Assessment

Component: Continuous Assessment Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Continous Assessment 100% no
Component: Exam Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Exam 3 hours 50% yes
Exam 3 hours 50% yes

Formative Assessment:

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