Gravitation and Cosmology

10 credits

Syllabus, Master's level, 1FA157

Education cycle
Second cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Physics A1F
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 19 October 2023
Responsible department
Department of Physics and Astronomy

Entry requirements

120 credits in science/engineering with Quantum Physics (or Quantum Physics F), Mechanics III and Special Relativity. Proficiency in English equivalent to the Swedish upper secondary course English 6.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • explain and describe the equivalence principle,
  • explain the concept of a metric and solve geodesic equations,
  • analyse and solve Einstein's equations for many situations,
  • explain what a black hole is and describe its properties,
  • describe the concepts within the standard cosmological model, such as the expanding universe, the cosmic microwave background radiation, dark matter as well as inflation.


The course is an introduction to general relativity with applications to cosmology. Connections with modern research are emphasised throughout the course in order to bring the student up to date with the scientific frontline.

The first part of the course introduces general relativity; its mathematical basis in the form of Einstein's equations and the mathematics of curved space-time, metrics, curvature tensors and geodesics; the equivalence principle; classical tests of the theory such as the bending of light and the precession of the perihelion of Mercury; gravitational waves. The mathematical description of black holes in the form of the Schwarzchild metric with an analysis of its horizon and singularity. Kerr and Reissner-Nordström black holes.

The course's second part treats applications within cosmology. The mathematical description of the Robertson-Walker metric, the Big Bang, the expanding universe with a cosmological constant, dark matter, the cosmic microwave background radiation and inflation will be analysed and discussed.


Lectures and lessons.


Written examination at the end of the course combined with hand-in problems during the course.

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.