Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Recitations: 1 session / week; 1 hour / session


Graduate level Quantum Mechanics such as 8.321 (Quantum Theory I)


8.323, Relativistic Quantum Field Theory I, is a one-term self-contained subject in quantum field theory.

Topics include: Classical field theory, symmetries, and Noether's theorem. Quantization of scalar fields, spin ½ fields, and Gauge bosons. Feynman graphs, analytic properties of amplitudes and unitarity of the S-matrix. Calculations in quantum electrodynamics (QED). Introduction to renormalization.

Required Textbook

Buy at Amazon Peskin, Michael E., and Daniel V. Schroeder. An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1995. ISBN: 9780201503975.

See the Related Resources section for a list of recommended online resources and books.


The final grade for the course will be based entirely on the homework.

Homework Policy

There will normally be one problem set each week, due one week later in lecture. After attempting each problem by yourself, we encourage you to discuss the problems with the teaching staff and with each other — this is an excellent way to learn physics! However, you must write up your solutions by yourself.


The Klein-Gordon Field

  • Noether's theorem
  • The energy-momentum tensor
  • Particle creation by a classical source
  • The Casimir effect
  • Fields as operator-valued distributions

The Dirac Field

  • Dirac matrices
  • Dirac bilinear operators
  • Lorentz transformations for spin-½ particles and fields
  • Discrete symmetries of the Dirac field

Interacting Fields

  • Time-dependent perturbation theory
  • Wick's theorem
  • Feynman diagrams
  • Cross sections and decay rates
  • Wigner's representation theorem