arxiv: General Relativity and Quantum Cosmology
We give an introduction into quantum cosmology with emphasis on its conceptual parts. After a general motivation we review the formalism of canonical quantum gravity on which discussions of quantum cosmology are usually based. We then present the minisuperspace Wheeler--DeWitt equation and elaborate on the problem of time, the imposition of boundary conditions, the semiclassical approximation, the origin of irreversibility, and singularity avoidance. Restriction is made to quantum geometrodynamics; loop quantum gravity and string theory are discussed in other contributions to this volume.