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Theoretical Cosmology


Admission Requirements

Prerequisites: General Relativity


A course on Theoretical Cosmology. You will learn about the fundaments of the Standard Cosmological model, its successes and learn about its challenges, to which you may be able to contribute in the future.

Program: Firstly, the students will become familiar with the standard model of Cosmology, and its main aspects including:

  • Big Bang Cosmology

  • Inflation

  • Initial Conditions

  • Linear Perurbation theory

  • Gauges

  • Power Spectra and Transfer functions

Course objectives

After successful completion of the course you will be able to:

  • Describe the main phases in the history of the Universe and the relevant physical processes.

  • Solve for the dynamics of the FLRW Universe at different epochs

  • Solve simple single-field models of inflation

  • Understand linear cosmological perturbation theory and its link to observables; calculate and solve the corresponding relevant equations

  • Transform between gauges

  • Calculate main transfer functions and the growth rate of structure


See Timetable in Brightspace

You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

See Brightspace

Course load

68 hours: 22 hours spent on attending lectures and work sessions and 46 hours of time spent for studying the compulsory literature and reference books, for completing problem sets and preparing for the final exam.

Assessment method

The final grade will be entirely based on the final exam.

Reading list

Main reference book: Modern Cosmology (second edition), S. Dodelson and Fabian Schmidt; additional reference: Cosmological Inflation and Large-Scale Structure, A.Liddle and D.Lyth.
Additional reading material will be provided through Brightspace.
While consulting these books is highly recommended, and is likely to help you understand and apply the material offered in the course, they also contain much additional material that goes beyond the course and will not be examined.


From the academic year 2022-2023 on every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Instructors:Dr. A.Silvestri (Alessandra)
Teaching Assistant: TBD


Transferable skills

  • Analytical skills

  • Communication

  • Vision

  • Perseverance