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FSH3372 General Relativity 7.5 credits

The course offers an introduction to general relativity and how it is applied in current research. Classical examples such as black holes, gravitational waves, and cosmology are treated and experimental observations supporting the theory are highlighted.

About course offering

For course offering

Autumn 2024 Start 28 Oct 2024 programme students

Target group

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Part of programme

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P2 (7.5 hp)


28 Oct 2024
13 Jan 2025

Pace of study


Form of study

Normal Daytime

Language of instruction


Course location


Number of places

Places are not limited

Planned modular schedule


For course offering

Autumn 2024 Start 28 Oct 2024 programme students

Application code



For course offering

Autumn 2024 Start 28 Oct 2024 programme students


Tommy Ohlsson (


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Course coordinator

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Headings with content from the Course syllabus FSH3372 (Autumn 2023–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

I. Basic differential geometry: Local coordinates on manifolds. Covariant and contravariant vector and tensor fields. (Pseudo-) Riemann metric. Covariant differentiation (Christoffel symbols, Levi-Civita connection). Parallel transport. Curved spaces. Lie derivatives and Killing vector fields.
II.  General theory of relativity:  Basic concepts in general relativity. Schwarzschild spacetime. Einstein's field equations. The energy-momentum tensor. Weak field limit. Experimental tests of general relativity. Gravitational lensing. Gravitational waves. Introductory cosmology (including the Friedmann–Lemaître–Robertson–Walker metric), including inflation and dark energy.

Intended learning outcomes

After completing the course you should be able to:

  • Use differential geometry to describe the properties of a curved space and compute basic quantities in differential geometry.
  • Derive and use Einstein's field equations and describe the definition and role of the energy-momentum tensor in those, account for the physical interpretation of its components, and prove that Newton's theory of gravity is recovered in the non-relativistic limit.
  • Compute physical quantities for test particles in a given solution to Einstein's field equations, e.g., particle trajectories and proper times.
  • Give an account of the experiments with which the general theory of relativity has been tested and compare with predictions from Newton's theory of gravity.
  • Use the Friedmann–Lemaître–Robertson–Walker metric to describe the different possibilities for how a homogeneous universe develops with time as well as describe the ideas behind cosmological inflation and dark energy.
  • Independently deepen your knowledge in parts of the course contents with focus on current research in the subject and sumarize new knowledge in a report.

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

FSH3371 and good knowledge of multivariable differential calculus. FSH3371 may be taken in parallel.

Recommended prerequisites

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Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

P, F


  • PRO1 - Project, 1.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Written exam, 6.0 credits, grading scale: P, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

In the normal case, TEN1 is a written exam and corresponds to the exam in SH2372. PRO1 is normally a written report testing deepened knowledge and ability for independent studies within a specialized area as well as an oral discussion surrounding the report.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

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Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course room in Canvas

Registered students find further information about the implementation of the course in the course room in Canvas. A link to the course room can be found under the tab Studies in the Personal menu at the start of the course.

Offered by

Main field of study

This course does not belong to any Main field of study.

Education cycle

Third cycle

Add-on studies

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Tommy Ohlsson (

Additional regulations

The course cannot be part of a degree together with SH2372.

Postgraduate course

Postgraduate courses at SCI/Physics