Relativistic Quantum Mechanics and Field Theory

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content


The course is to give an understanding of the effects of special relativity in quantum mechanics and to give an introduction into quantum field theory.


The course covers relativistic quantum mechanics, expressed by the Dirac equation, including Lorentz covariance of the equation and the existence of antiparticles. The course also covers quantization of the Klein-Gordon field, the Dirac field and the photon field. The course forms the basis for more advanced studies of field theory and for understanding relativistic effects in atomic physics.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course

the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student

  • Is able to explain the Dirac equation and its free-particle solutions
  • Is able to explain the existence of antiparticles
  • Is able to explain the plane-wave expansions of scalar, Dirac and photon fields
  • Is able to explain canonical momentum and the quantization of fields
  • Is able to explain microcausality and the Feynman propagator
  • Is able to explain the S-matrix


The student

  • Knows how to derive conservation laws from symmetries
  • Knows how to express observables in field theory in terms of annihilation and creation operators

General competence

The student

  • Is able to present calculations to peers

Semester of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
PHYS303: 10 ECTS
Forms of Assessment

The forms of assessment are:

  • 2 graded problem sets, 25% of total grade. Valid for 6 semester.
  • Oral examination, 75% of total grade.
Grading Scale
The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.