This document is the syllabus for the PHY 396T Advanced Supersymmetry course as taught in Fall 2009 by Dr. Vadim Kaplunovsky. This is a special topics course, it isn't offered every year or every other year, and the content varies each time.

Required Knowledge

The Advanced Supersymmetry course is aimed at students who have already taken two semesters of Quantum Field Theory, and then spent the summer studying «Basic Supersymmetry» by themselves. Effectively, the Advanced SUSY class is QFT 3½.

Quantum Field Theory

This class is about supersymmetric quantum field theories, and I presume the students already know QFT at the 2-semester level; if you do not know QFT you would not be able to follow this class. I do not raise any formal prerequisites because it's the knowledge that matters and not how or where you have acquired it.

If you are not sure of your knowledge, please take a look at the exams for the QFT classes I taught in 2008/09: QFT I midterm, QFT I final, QFT II midterm, QFT II final. If you can do all the exams, you are ready for SUSY, but if you don't know how to solve some of the problems, then you must beef up your QFT before taking the SUSY class.

Basic Supersymmetry

Basic SUSY at the Wess & Bagger level (without supergravity) is a perfect subject for independent study from a textbook, and it would be wasteful to spend class time on this material instead of more interesting advanced subjects. Thus, I request that before the class starts on 8/26/2009, the students study the following material by themselves:

In terms of the textbooks (see below) and their chapters, this material corresponds to:

All three books cover similar subjects but differ in emphasis and detailedness. I suggest you start with the Argyres's notes and study them in detail, and then browse through Wess & Bagger (or the Superspace book, chapters 2–3) to familiarize yourself with the Weyl-spinor notations I shall use in class. And if you need a more detailed explanation of some subject, look it up in the Weinberg's book, it has everything and more.

Course Content

The class will focus on the following subjects:

I doubt I would be able to cover all of this material, but I will do as much as I can.

I might say a few words about supergravity, but I will not cover it in any detail.


This course does not follow any particular book, but the following textbooks will be very useful:

Homeworks, Exams and Grades

I shall follow the same system I used in my QFT classes I taught last year. The homeworks will be assigned on the honor system: I shall not collect or grade them, but you should endeavor to finish them on time and check each other's solutions.

The homeworks will be posted on this web page. I shall try to post them more-or-less weekly, but the schedule would not be as regular as in the QFT classes. Also, I shall not post all the solutions, although I might post a few.

The grade will be based on two take-home exams, one in the middle of the semester, the other at the end. Unlike the homeworks, the exams must be done by individual students without any help from anybody else! There won't be an in-class final exam.



This class will contunue through the Spring 2010 semester. The extension is un-official, so there would be no registration or grades, but all the students who took the class in the Fall 09 are welcome to participate.

The subjects of the spring extension are MSSM, SUSY breaking, and mediation of SSB. Other subjects may come up if the students are interested in them.

Priorities will be decided during the first Spring meeting on January 21.

We shall meet once a week, during the unused Thursday slot of the Theory Seminar — Thursdays from 2 to 3:15 PM, in room RLM 7.104 —. When this slot is used by the seminar, we shall meet from 12:30 to 1:45 PM in the brown bag room RLM 9.202.

Half (or a bit more than half) of our meetings would be regular lectures. At other times, I'll ask a student to give a talk on a particular subject in a journal-club-like format.

Last Modified: March 31, 2010.
Vadim Kaplunovsky