I am looking for recommendations for an introductory text (or texts) on cosmology on the advanced undergrad or beginning grad level. I am coming from primarily a physics undergrad background (doing some undergrad research on galaxy Lyman-alpha emission and attending some of my institution's astrophysics journal club meetings) and will beginning a graduate astrophysics program in the fall. I am looking especially for texts that also provide a good introduction into GR since I have never had a chance to learn GR formally. I have had a lot of experience with Lyman-alpha radiative transfer and some experience with large-scale structure and baryon oscillation, if there are any books that can play off those strengths.

  • $\begingroup$ Search for an Illustrated Guide to Relativity. It does not contain the full mathematics but the illustrations help in understanding the basics. $\endgroup$
    – Yashbhatt
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 6:43

2 Answers 2


This book by Andrew Liddle is fantastic for explaining the basic concepts and giving the reader a good mental picture of the ideas, but it may be a little more basic than what you're looking for (I still keep it as a good reference when reading more advanced texts).

If you're looking for something more advanced Peter Coles & Francesco Lucchins guide may be of interest. Unfortunately some of the discussions have already dated a little (there is a large section on non-gaussianity if I remember rightly, whose proponents have been all but silenced by the latest Planck results). This is another good resource I went to when completing my graduate cosmology course, but I couldn't recommend it on it's own; many of the derivations are piecemeal at best, so ideally read in conjunction with a more thorough text.

Not sure if you came across this text during your undergrad investigations but it is basically the bible of galactic physics along with this. It goes in to some of the touch points of galaxy physics and cosmology which may prove useful for your understanding.

Finally this may be of interest - I can't vouch for it but it popped up when looking for links to the books above, has good reviews and seems to be at the level you're looking for as well as discussing some topics you may already have exposure to.

For all the above I'd recommend getting them out from a library first and working thoroughly through a few chapters to get a feel for the text before splashing out.


I don't know any specific text but I can recommend you a course I took last year at Coursera.org. It says "introduction" but I can assure you it is really complete, 12 week that include a lot of mathematics and physics.


  • $\begingroup$ Could this course be taken at my own pace? $\endgroup$ Commented May 29, 2014 at 14:56
  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately not, you will have to wait until it restarts. Check the Coursera site, there are plenty of astronomy and physics courses. $\endgroup$
    – Joan.bdm
    Commented May 29, 2014 at 15:17

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