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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Introduction into General Theory of Relativity by HSE University

161 ratings
54 reviews

About the Course

General Theory of Relativity or the theory of relativistic gravitation is the one most famous branch of theoretical physics. Everybody heard about black holes, gravitational waves and expanding Universe. The goal of this online course is to introduce you into this theory and to give the precise meaning to these notions. The introduction is based on the consideration of many practical generic examples in various scopes of the General Relativity. Once you complete this HSE online course you will be able to solve basic standard problems of this theory. We assume that you are familiar with the Special Theory of Relativity and Classical Electrodynamics. However, as an aid to the distant study we have recorded several complementary materials which are supposed to help you understand some of the aspects of the Special Theory of Relativity and Classical Electrodynamics and some of the calculational tools that are used in our course. Also as a complementary material we provide the written form of the lectures at the website: Do you have technical problems? Write to us:

Top reviews

Sep 23, 2017

Best Course for Physics Enthusiasts. It is a must for those who are interested in theoretical or mathematical physics. I really enjoyed the course though it was tough.

Feb 1, 2017

Excellent course, and quite intensive mathematically. One will be well placed for a graduate level course on General relativity upon completing this.

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1 - 25 of 52 Reviews for Introduction into General Theory of Relativity

By Simon S

Dec 20, 2020

A very poor quality course. Lecturer is hard to follow. Lecture videos consist of long algebraic derivations with no context, no motivation, no overview and no sense of direction. Only other course material is verbatim transcripts of videos, which are useless. I hoped this course would consolidate and enrich my knowledge of general relativity, but I was very disappointed.

Emil Akhmedov's response to the above feedback was:

"The course is for those who have talants in physics and math rather than for those who are talanted only in humanitarian subjects such as e.g. litterature, languages, humanities and etc.. Or does not have any talants at all..."

I have a first class degree in Mathematics from the University of Cambridge.

By Shashank S

Nov 5, 2017

This is a Russian course taught in Russian style so amateur physicists, beware, this is pretty serious stuff. It will help if the student has some prior knowledge of relativity and differential geometry, although not a prerequisite. Few more courses of this caliber and you are well on your way to become a theoretical physicist! If you are willing to put in some effort, you will benefit immensely from it. I am looking forward to more courses like this from HSE, particularly on quantum mechanics. A very steep learning curve is guaranteed.

By Wei-shun B

Oct 17, 2017

The lecturer clearly explain the general relativity in a physical way similar to the style of Landau-Liifshitz. Sometimes I found myself lost in video of the mathematical derivation. However, the lecture notes can be found in arXiv, and it is helpful to me to understand the lecturer's motivation better.

I suggest the lecturer can add some mathematical aspect of this topic, such as manifold, Riemann geometry. Some tensor notation and equation derivation can be more succinct in the mathematical framework rather than in tensor's index notation adopted by most physicists, e.g, the proof of Bianchi identity without assuming the existence of locally Minkowskian reference system a priori.

The assignments are rated by peers mutually. I just dislike this way because some of peers do not fully understand the content and can only follow the provided rubrics "rigorously" and can hardly judge the right or wrong of an answer out of the scope of rubrics. This is unfair to the peers who provide innovative solutions different from rubrics but rated as wrong. In addition, I also feels that some of the rubrics are incomplete to the problem.

By Simon C

Feb 25, 2017

Dr. Emil Akhmedov has done a great job of putting the lectures together. They are supported by printed notes, and assignments that are hard work, but definitely valuable. I do not award five stars unless the discussion forums work well to support the students. Emil has put effort into helping students when they have problems. This is truly one of the very best physics courses on the Internet.


Sep 24, 2017

Best Course for Physics Enthusiasts. It is a must for those who are interested in theoretical or mathematical physics. I really enjoyed the course though it was tough.


Jul 18, 2017

One of the most important courses ever taken and yet. still difficult to understand really well.

By João B

May 24, 2018

Very helpful. I recommend for those who already have some familiarity with GR, or with tensors and differential geometry.

By Jamal K

Jan 18, 2019

The course is great if and only if you have the background that the professor is assuming. And am not talking about the mathematical and physics background, but am talking about the notation he did not explain and the way you learned special relativity which can differ. Also there is no written course content which makes it very hard to follow since explanation like this should be accompanied by some solid detailed text.

By David P

Apr 24, 2019

This course is unfortunately all equations and derivations with little conceptual connections.

By John S

Feb 3, 2021

Very hard to understand the lecturers. They often present something that has not been introduced and don't explain it.

By Paulo R R

Sep 4, 2018

Wonderful course! Excellent materials were presented to give us the best knowledge concerning the general theory of relativity. Emil Akhmedov is a dedicated instructor and passionated professor who tried and succeeded to transmit the core concepts and the hard mathematics of the most beautiful theory of the world!

By Ahmed R I

Aug 30, 2020

It's a wonderful course for those who like to do general relativity in a completely mathematically rigorous way. I enjoyed this course absolutely, but it was not easy to do this. Thank You Emil for this opportunity.

By Моисеев Г

Mar 2, 2020

Very useful course. Not only from the perspective of learning General Relativity, but also to obtain very powerful mathematical skills like variation, tensor calculus, Green's function etc.

By Vishal U

Feb 2, 2017

Excellent course, and quite intensive mathematically. One will be well placed for a graduate level course on General relativity upon completing this.

By Jose M P P

May 23, 2017

It is a very useful course to people who likes General Relativity and wants to learn in a very easy way. Thank you for all Professor Emil Akhmedov.

By Алексей В Н

Dec 6, 2018

A hard, thorough and serious course with a lot of mathematics and physical insights. Thank you, Professor Emil Akhmedov!

By Attila B

Jan 28, 2017

Demanding course with good overview of general relativity content.

By Bruno D

Mar 3, 2018

Exigeant, un peu touffus, mais on apprend beaucoup.

By Joris

Jul 7, 2020

I was very happy with the opportunity to study GR online using this course, and it seems to be the only available one. The lecturer is without doubt an expert in the field and I have the impression he tried to bring us as far as he could to the state of the art. Overall I was very impressed by the course and glad I took it.

I do have some comments: the homework is somewhat unevenly balanced. Sometimes I was done within half an hour, sometimes it took an entire working day to finish the homework.

Specifically in one of the final homework sessions the goal was to compute the Ricci tensor for four different metrics. Rather long computations which are very good to do once, but after that it becomes routine and just time consuming, I would say.

Finally the homework did only partially connect to the material discussed in the lectures. I noticed that I had difficulty paying close attention and understanding what was said in the lectures, and for time efficiency reasons just concentrated on the homework.

These are perhaps points of improvements, but I am very grateful for the very good course which finally allows me to say that I have some (very basic) understanding of GR.

By Somesh K

Aug 11, 2020

Excellent Course. This is purely Russian style: terse,encyclopedic and magnificent. Instructor has done great job of giving bird's view in general theory of relativity beginning from Einstein's Field equation,black hole solutions to a bit of cosmology. This course is a heap of treasure for aspiring theoretical physicist .Lecture Notes for this course are available as e-print on web. Some time during the course,one may feel lecture terse but persistence is the key. Peer-graded assignment seems to be disconnected from the lecture taught in the week(only for few weeks,but there are enjoyable assignments too).

By Arvind P

Mar 29, 2017

If you happen to have the required background but somehow never got beyond beginner-level GR, this is a thoroughly enjoyable course! There are obviously many text-books and online videos to learn more-or-less the same concepts, but the assignments here are the high point, they are hard, but for me personally, they are what made this course special. Completing this course somehow makes me feel much better prepared to self-study the intermediate/advanced level GR books I've owned for so long! Many thanks to Prof. Akhmedov, HSE, and Coursera for making this possible!

By Luis A M O

Jan 5, 2022

At the beginning of the course, Professor Emil mentioned that it would not be easy and that it requires a lot of work. Throughout the course, the difficulty in both the theoretical concepts and the homework is noticeable, but that should not discourage, but motivate! Since only studying and doing your homework will allow you to pass the course.

This course certainly exceeds my expectations, covers several quite interesting topics, and the teaching is excellent.

By Antonia P

Apr 7, 2021

I really liked the structure of this course and the content. Having already had an introductory course in the topic during my B.Sc. in Physics, I truly believe it fullfilled my expectations and could be attented both by undergraduate and graduate students. I think there should be some way to minimise cheating in assignments though. While correcting others' assignments, I came upon many copies of the solutions given by the instructor.

By Keith D

Jan 22, 2017

This is a great course. It teaches a person real Relativity. The basic math needed for relativity is discussed. I learned a lot from that. Also the basics of black holes are covered. There is an excellent book that is included in the course for free. I hope Professor Akhmedov teachers more courses.

By Alexandre V H

Sep 17, 2017

Great course : not for the faint of heart because it requires some skills at calculation but it does the job and deliver on the promises of gaining a deeper understanding of general relativity objects (black hole, gravitational wave, curvature etc.)