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SI2371 Special Relativity 6.0 credits

Choose semester and course offering

Choose semester and course offering to see current information and more about the course, such as course syllabus, study period, and application information.


For course offering

Autumn 2024 Start 28 Oct 2024 programme students

Application code


Headings with content from the Course syllabus SI2371 (Spring 2022–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

Tensor notation. The meaning of relativity. Einstein’s postulates. Geometry of Minkowski space and Lorentz transformations. Length contraction and time dilation. Experimental tests of special relativity. Twin paradox and proper time. Relativistic optics. Relativistic mechanics. Electrodynamics. Hamilton and Lagrange formalism in relativity.

Intended learning outcomes

After completion of the course you should be able to:

  • Use tensor notation in relativity.
  • Use Lorentz transformations.
  • Apply the concepts of length contraction and time dilation.
  • Describe experimental tests of special relativity.
  • Use and solve problems in relativistic optics.
  • Use and solve problems in relativistic mechanics (including kinematic problems).
  • Analyze Maxwell’s equations and use their relativistic invariance.
  • Explain the principle of relativity.
  • Perform simple analyses using the Hamilton and Lagrange formalisms in special relativity.

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

English B / English 6

Completed course in Vector Analysis (SI1146, ED1110, or equivalent)
Completed course in Theoretical Electrical Engineering (EI1320 or equivalent)
Completed course in Physical Mathematical Methods (SI1200 or equivalent)

Recommended prerequisites

No information inserted


No information inserted


No information inserted

Examination and completion

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

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • TEN1 - Examination, 6.0 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, 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.

The course is examined through an exam, which normally is a written exam.

  • TEN1 - Examination, 6.0 credits, Grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Other requirements for final grade

Written examination

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination



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

Engineering Physics

Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

SI2372 General theory of relativity (additional course)
SI2390 Relativistic Quantum Physics
SI2400 Theoretical Particle Physics
SI2410 Quantum Field Theory


Jack Lidmar (