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PX395 - The Standard Model

  • Module code: PX395
  • Module name: The Standard Model
  • Department: Physics
  • Credit: 7.5

Content and teaching | Assessment | Availability

Module content and teaching

Principal aims

To describe the standard model of particle physics

Principal learning outcomes

At the end of the module, you should: Understand qualitatively how elementary particles and their interactions are described by local gauge theories; Be able to demonstrate quantitatively important aspects of the model and quote experimental evidence that supports it; Appreciate the limitations of the established theory

Timetabled teaching activities

15 lectures

Departmental link

Other essential notes

The Standard Model (SM) describes elementary particles (the quarks, leptons, and bosons) using gauge theories. Although a full quantitative description of the SM requires the machinery of quantum field theory and is not easily accessible, it is quite possible to develop a good qualitative understanding of what is meant by a gauge theory and how this constrains the predictions of the model. A lot follows from symmetry. We will look at Noether's theorem (for any continuous symmetry property there is a conserved quantity, eg conservation of charge and invariance under gauge transformations are the same thing), flavour symmetry, parity (P) and others. The module shows how these aspects of the model are tested against experiment. It also looks at the reasons for quark confinement and the concept of a momentum-transfer dependent coupling, the Higgs mechanism, quark mixing and questions about unification.

Module assessment

Assessment group Assessment name Percentage
7.5 CATS (Module code: PX395-7.5)
B (Examination only) 1.5 hour examination (Summer) 100%

Module availability

This module is available on the following courses:



Optional Core


  • Undergraduate Physics (BSc) (F300) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Physics (with Intercalated Year) (F301) - Year 4
  • Undergraduate Physics (BSc MPhys) (F304) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Mathematics and Physics (BSc MMathPhys) (FG33) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Mathematics and Physics (BSc) (GF13) - Year 3
  • Undergraduate Mathematics and Physics (with Intercalated Year) (GF14) - Year 4