Introduction to Lattice Field Theory

Special Topics 694: Introduction to Lattice Field Theory

[Image taken from xkcd (where else?).]

The course webpage is here and the graduate course homepage here.

Course overview and description

This introductory course is for graduate students in nuclear, particle, and condensed matter theory (or experiment) or for anyone interested in field theory more generally. The course will bridge quantum field theory and statistical physics and will emphasise two key insights:

Broadly speaking the course will feature three parts: foundations of lattice and statistical field theory; statistical approaches to the path integral; and lattice gauge theories (particularly QCD).

The course, listed in the Schedule of Classes as Advanced Topics in High Energy II, will take place on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10:20-11:40am in Serin room 106 (SRN-106). The first lecture will take place on Wednesday 20th January.

There are no formal prerequisites, but some familiarity with the path integral would be helpful.

Lecture cancellations

There will be no lectures on:

Contact details

Instructor: Chris Monahan

Office: Serin 208W

Email: chris.monahan'at'

Office hours will be on Mondays 14:15 to 15:15

Course format and assessment

There will be five homeworks, the first of which will be handed out at the end of lecture on Monday 25th January. One assignment will be an eight minute presentation on a topic, taken from the course, of your choice. Another will be an essay. The homework schedule is: Homeworks are to be handed in to me at the beginning of the lecture on the due date. Late homeworks will score zero, with no exceptions. If there are particularly special or unusual circumstances, or you require further accommodation (see the comments on Accessibility below), please get in touch with me in advance. There will not be a final exam, but a final project. This final project will be an extended homework-like project, which will be submitted as a short paper, written in LaTeX and typeset according to Physical Review style. These assessments should not only improve your understanding of lattice field theory, but also develop your presentation and scientific writing skills as part of your training as a professional researcher. Assessment weighting will be: I expect you to attend lectures. You are graduate students and should be able to manage your own time. You will not be graded on your attendance, but this is a small class and I will notice who attends and who does not. Prolonged absence without reason or notice will affect your grade.


The course will cover the following topics, although the exact content may evolve as the course progresses:

Please feel free to email me, chris.monahan'at', if you have questions.


I will not be following a particular textbook. However, you may (or may not) find the following textbooks helpful: There are myriad more general field theory textbooks out there, but is particularly useful because most of the material is presented directly in Euclidean space. There are also a number of introductory papers, with different approaches of varying quality and depth, on the arXiv:


If you have a disability, please contact me so that we can make any necessary arrangements. See here for more information.