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Particles, Strings and Cosmology (MSc)


Course Description

This is a one year advanced taught course. The aim of this course is to bring students in twelve months to the frontier of elementary particle theory. This course is intended for students who have already obtained a good first degree in either physics or mathematics, including in the latter case courses in quantum mechanics and relativity.

The course consists of three modules: the first two are the Michaelmas and Epiphany graduate lecture courses, which are assessed by examinations in January and March. The third module is a dissertation on a topic of current research, prepared under the guidance of a supervisor with expertise in the area. We offer a wide variety of possible dissertation topics. The dissertation must be submitted by September 15th, the end of the twelve month course period.

Course Structure

The main group of lectures are given in the first two terms of the academic year (Michaelmas and Epiphany). This part of the lecture course is assessed by examinations. In each term there are two teaching periods of four weeks, with a week's break in the middle of the term in which students will be able to revise the material. Most courses are either eight lectures or 16 lectures in length. There are 14 lectures/week in the Michaelmas term and 14 lectures/week in Epiphany term.

Core Modules

-Introductory Field Theory
-Group Theory
-Standard Model
-General Relativity
-Quantum Electrodynamics
-Quantum Field Theory
-Conformal Field Theory
-Supersymmetry
-Anomalies
-Strong Interaction Physics
-Cosmology
-Superstrings and D-branes
-Non-Perturbative Physics
-Euclidean Field Theory
-Flavour Physics and Effective Field Theory
-Neutrinos and Astroparticle Physics
-2d Quantum Field Theory

Optional Modules available in previous years included:

-Differential Geometry for Physicists
-Boundaries and Defects in Integrable Field Theory
-Computing for Physicists

Learning and Teaching

This is a full-year degree course, starting early October and finishing in the middle of the subsequent September. The aim of the course is to bring students to the frontier of research in elementary particle theory. The course consists of three modules: the first two are the Michaelmas and Epiphany graduate lecture courses. The third module is a dissertation on a topic of current research, prepared under the guidance of a supervisor with expertise in the area. We offer a wide variety of possible dissertation topics.

The lectures begin with a general survey of particle physics and introductory courses on quantum field theory and group theory. These lead on to more specialised topics, amongst others in string theory, cosmology, supersymmetry and more detailed aspects of the standard model.

The main group of lectures is given in the first two terms of the academic year (Michaelmas and Epiphany). This part of the lecture course is assessed by examinations. In each term there are two teaching periods of 4 weeks, with a week's break in the middle of the term in which students will be able to revise the material. Most courses are either 8 lectures or 16 lectures in length. There are 14 lectures/week in the Michaelmas term and 14 lectures/week in Epiphany term they are supported by weekly tutorials. In addition lecturers also set a number of homework assignments which give the student a chance to test his or her understanding of the material.

There are additional optional lectures in the third term. These introduce advanced topics and are intended as preparation for research in these areas.

The dissertation must be submitted by mid-September, the end of the twelve month course period.

Visit the Particles, Strings and Cosmology (MSc) page on the Durham University website for more details!

Entry Requirements

A good second class honours degree (2.1 Honours) or international equivalent in either Physics or Mathematics.

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