Royal Institute of Technology

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KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Kungliga Tekniska högskolan
Kth logo.svg
Motto Vetenskap och konst
Motto in English
Science and Art
Type Public Research University
Established 1827
Budget SEK 4.124 billion[1]
Chairman Börje Ekholm
President Prof. Sigbritt Karlsson
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 14,500 (FTE, 2009)[2]
Location Stockholm, Sweden
Campus Urban
Colors Blue     
Affiliations CLUSTER, CESAER, EUA, TIME network et al., PEGASUS
Main building in winter
Main courtyard in summer
KTH "Courtyard" ("borggården")
Kerberos guarding the entrance to the courtyard

KTH Royal Institute of Technology (KTH, Swedish: Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan) is a university in Stockholm, Sweden, specialized in Engineering and Technology, that ranks highest in northern mainland Europe in its academic fields.[3] The current King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf is its High Protector.

KTH Royal Institute of Technology was in 1827 transformed into Sweden's first polytechnic by the King Charles XIV John of Sweden modeled after École Polytechnique, l´X, founded by Napoleon I in Paris, France in 1794. The King of Sweden at the time had prior to his crowning been Marshal of the French Empire under Napoleon Bonaparte. He is known in Sweden as Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, the father of the current Swedish Royal dynasty.

KTH Royal Institute of Technology has since its founding served as one of Europe’s key centers of innovation and intellectual talent for almost two hundred years. It does so today as well, being the university of technology with the highest international ranking in northern Europe, (comprised by Sweden, Scandinavia, Baltics, Poland and Germany). In this area, only the Technical University of Munich is ranked higher.[4]

The faculty of KTH Royal Institute of Technology faculty has been awarded by 4 of the Great Prizes in Engineering: 2 Nobel Prizes and 2 of the two Nobel prize equivalents in Mathematics: 1 Abel Prize and 1 Fields Medal.

KTH Royal Institute of Technology is the academic driving force of the world's cell phone infrastructure development (4G/LTE) at its Kista Science City - the world's foremost telecommunications infrastructure research park, research home and Headquarters of the market leader Ericsson Group, the Swedish Defence Research Agency, the Swedish Institute of Computer Science, Tele2, IBM Nordic, Microsoft Sweden among others. Notable former students are Daniel Ek, co-founder and CEO of the world brand Spotify 2006, seventy years of Swedish KTH branded corporate history after Gustaf Larson, co-founder of another world brand, Volvo Corporation 1926, the latter with Stockholm-educated Assar Gabrielsson.

KTH Royal Institute of Technology is the best plant school among the Swedish universities of technology in order to obtain a CEO-position among the worldwide corporations and groups at the Stockholm Stock Exhchange founded 1863. In an article which the leading financial newspaper Dagens Industri reports is published by a leading weekly business magazine, Veckans Affärer, it says that there are 36 CEO's at the Stockholm Stock Exhchange who holds a MSc degree from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology. This is, the article reveals, more than twice as many as from the next in line, Linköpings University (17) and more than three times as many as from Chalmers University of Technology (11) in Gothenburg, and five times as many as from Lund's Institute of Technology (7).[5] The same article in Veckans Affärer is also written about at[6]

Furthermore, another article which translates to "KTH best school for the CEO-position" the leading industry newspaper in Sweden, Ny Teknik, draws the following conclusion: KTH Royal Institute of Technology has the highest number of graduates (33) of any Swedish University, regardless of type, represented as CEO’s at the Stockholm Stock Exhchange. KTH Royal Institute of Technology is then followed by the Stockholm School of Economics (31) and after that comes all other seats of learning in Sweden. In the newspaper nearly half, 40.2%, of the CEO’s at the Stockholm Stock Exhchange with a MSc in Engineering degree are alumni of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology.[7]

The President of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology is Professor Sigbritt Karlsson (KTH Chemical Engineering Alumni, admitted K78). The previous Chair of the Board of Trustees of the KTH Royal Institute of Technology Börje Ekholm (KTH Electrical Engineering Alumni, admitted E84), appointed Chair 2010, became Jan 16th, 2017 the President and CEO of Ericsson Group[8] after having served (between 2005-2015) as the President and CEO of Investor AB, the investment company who controls the largest stake of most of the Swedish worldwide corporation groups.

Recognized as Sweden’s oldest, largest and most prestigious technical university,[9] KTH has also, as the only Swedish University ever, hosted a President of the United States, Barack Obama while he as the first U.S. President ever visited the Swedish capital on September 4–5, 2013. At KTH Royal Institute of Technology, he was hosted by the then Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt prior to them both visiting the Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf at the Royal Palace.

KTH Royal Institute of Technology is ranked by the worlds foremost ranking organization, the QS World University Rankings®, itself being the only organization whose international ranking is approved by the independent IREG Ranking Audit in order to make sure that the ranking "is done professionally, with a transparent methodology, observes good practices and responds to a need for relevant information of various stakeholders, in particular students, higher education institutions, employers and policy makers." IREG Ranking Audit normally only audits national ranking organizations.

KTH Royal Institute of Technology is according to the QS World University Rankings® 2016-2017 Sweden's foremost institution of higher learning in engineering science, and the second foremost University in Sweden, all categories, after Lund University.[10]

By QS World University Rankings, KTH Royal Institute of Technology is as a university among the top 100 universities (all categories) in the world, ranked 97. In Europe alone it is ranked 34 as a university (all categories).[11] KTH Royal Institute of Technology beats Sweden's Uppsala University (founded 1477) as a university (all categories), since Uppsala University is jointly ranked 98 in the world and 35 in Europe.[12]

Regarding its field Engineering and Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology is ranked 36 in the world[13] with a quality ranking of 17 in the world in the Electrical Engineering Program, and a quality ranking of 25 in the world in the Mechanical Engineering Program, which explains why the current and historical CEO's alumni of KTH Royal Institute of Technology at Corporate Sweden, among them the current CEO Börje Ekholm of Ericsson Corporation (KTH Electrical Engineering Alumni, admitted E84) and co-founder Gustaf Larson of Volvo Corporation (KTH Mechanical Engineering Alumni, admitted M13), studied at these programs.

As a comparison, in 2016-2017, Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg is ranked 139 in the world (KTH:97) as a university (all categories) and 84 in the world (KTH:36) regarding the entire field Engineering and Technology. Chalmers had a ranking of 51-100th in the world regarding the Electrical Engineering program and 101-150 regarding the Mechanical Engineering program.[14]

As a matter of fact KTH Royal Institute of Technology is the best university of technology in northern Europe (Sweden, Scandinavia, Baltics, Poland and Germany), with the only exception in the area being the Technical University of Munich, Germany.[15]

The education and research at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology spans from natural sciences to all the branches of engineering and includes architecture, industrial management and urban planning.[16] It was at KTH Engineering Physics that Sweden´s only nuclear research was conducted in the 1950s for both the military (later abolished for peaceful reasons) and for civilian use. KTH Royal Institute of Technology has a strong history of groundbreaking research by its professors, for instance that of the 1970 Nobel Laureate in Physics Hannes Alfven[17] that of the 1981 Nobel Laureate in Physics Kai M. Siegbahn[18] who was employed at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in 1951, as well as by the Laureates of the two Noble Prize equivalences in Mathematics, the Abel Prize and the Fields Medal; the 2006 Abel Prize Laureate was Lennart Carleson[19] and the 2010 Fields Medal Laureate was Stanislav Smirnov[20] who was employed at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in 1998 after his 1996 PhD, Caltech, California Institute of Technology.

As an example of the mutual academic acknowledgement between the United States and Sweden, the KTH Royal Institute of Technology graduate Max Tegmark (KTH Engineering Physics Alumni, admitted F87) is a full professor at MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and one of the 21st most cited researchers in the world[21] with over 200 publications, out of which 9 have been cited over 500 times.[22] In this article MIT professor Max Tegmark is quoted: ´"I'm very grateful for the excellent education that KTH gave me in the area of technical physics. It was then that I fell in love with physics, and I still am." and "I look at KTH as Sweden's MIT: a magnet for visionaries who want to create a better future with the help of science," he says.´[23]

As with the United States, where one-third of all the astronauts of the nation's space flights have been recruited from MIT,[24] Sweden´s so far only NASA astronaut Christer Fuglesang (KTH Engineering Physics Alumni, admitted F75) was accepted by NASA on May 15, 1992 from KTH where he had received his PhD in 1987 after having graduated with the Master of Science degree in 1981. He had became Senior Fellow at CERN in 1989 and was by then employed as associate professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology since 1991. He was appointed affiliated professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in 2006 and he now shares a position at the The Swedish National Space Board with a professorship at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology which means being the Director of the KTH Space Center. Christer Fuglesang was awarded with the NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 2010. Other NASA recipients have in history been Buzz Aldrin and other notable astronauts. He is the first astronaut outside of the United States or Russia who has participated in more than three space walks, which counts to five.

These faculty members have all been in line with the long KTH tradition of excellence, from the top down, which has formed Sweden to become the industrialized country it is today and this excellence now takes Sweden and Europe to the frontier of Internet and Mobile development: KTH:s Kista Science City in Kista, Stockholm is "…the largest Information and Communication Technology (ICT) cluster in Europe and the third largest ICT cluster in the world",[25] where Silicon Valley in the United States is the largest. It has presence by the largest and most influential ICT corporations in the world such as IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, HP, Ericsson, Nokia, Adobe, Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent among others. Ericsson is the largest corporation in Sweden with 100 000 employees worldwide. Its headquarters and worldwide research is based in the Kista Science City which thus has driven the development of the entire 4G/LTE (telecommunication) standard at the European Telecommunications Standards Institute for cellular phones which is in use worldwide. It is a tradition for the Nobel Prize Laureates to visit Kista Science City when they collect the Nobel Prize in Stockholm. KTH plays a central role in the, by the European Parliament,[26] formed European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT).[27]

KTH accounts for one-third of Sweden's technical research and engineering education capacity at university level. The university also secures substantial research funding every year with grants from important organizations like the European Research Council. KTH offers programs leading to a Master of Architecture, Master of Science in Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Engineering, Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, Licentiate or Doctoral degree. The university also offers a technical preparatory programme for non-scientists and further education.[28]

There are a total of just over 14,000 full-year equivalent undergraduate students, more than 1,700 active postgraduate students and 4,600 full-time-equivalent employees.[29] KTH is one of the leading technical universities in Europe[30][31] and highly respected worldwide, especially in the domains of technology[32] and natural sciences.[33]


Main Campus[edit]

The main campus buildings at Valhallavägen in Östermalm, by architect Erik Lallerstedt, were completed in 1917. The buildings and surroundings were decorated by prominent early 20th-century Swedish artists such as Carl Milles, Axel Törneman, Georg Pauli, Tore Strindberg and Ivar Johnsson. The older buildings on the campus were renovated heavily in 1994. While the original campus was large for its time, KTH very soon outgrew it, and the campus was expanded with new buildings. Today, KTH institutions and faculties are distributed across several campuses in Stockholm County, located in Flemingsberg, Haninge, Kista and Södertälje, beyond the ones in Östermalm.


KTH, School of ICT, Kista offers education and research in all the areas which today's information society is based upon - from nano scale physics to the benefit of the end user. Kista is an educational environment with modern facilities, which are always open to the students. All courses are within ICT, creating a strong cohesion and an exchange over the educational programmes. Stockholm University’s computer science programmes are also located in Kista. Together, over 3000 students create a living educational environment and a vibrant student life. KTH Kista is an exciting international environment with teachers and students from all around the world. The Master's and postgraduate programmes offered by the school attracts students from the world's top universities. With companies such as Ericsson, Volvo, IBM, Tele2, TietoEnator, Microsoft, Intel and Oracle as neighbors, the cooperation between industry and KTH is widely known.


School of Technology and Health has a part of its activities in Flemingsberg. At KTH Flemingsberg the school offers courses in Medical Engineering and conducts research within the subject.

KTH's activities in Flemingsberg started in 2002. Since 2003, the school offers a Bachelor of Education in Medical Engineering, in collaboration with the Karolinska Institutet. In autumn 2008, a master of science in Medical Engineering started. located here are undergraduate studies, most research departments, and the research center: Center for Technology in Medicine and Health (CTMH), which collaborates with Karolinska Institutet and Stockholm County Council (SLL) to contribute to the development and growth of research in engineering, medicine and health.

Flemingsberg is an area of high academic "density" and one of northern Europe's most important areas within biotechnology – both terms of research and industrial activities. Here are also Södertörn University and the Karolinska Institutet with over 10 000 students and Novum Research Center, where 1000 people are involved in research.

Flemingsberg is an area of strong growth. To meet the need for student housing more apartments are planned.[34]


In Haninge, students from two schools at KTH receive education – the School of Architecture and the Built Environment, ABE, and the School of Technology and Health, STH. Here, students study at undergraduate and master level in fields such as building engineering (ABE), computer engineering, electrical engineering and foundation training. The School of Technology and Health also has a research centre i Haninge – Centre for Health and Building.

Just south of metropolitan Stockholm you will discover a modern campus with reputation for its nice campus area, safe atmosphere and the feeling of togetherness among staff and students.

KTH Haninge holds a large number of courses. For example, the international master programme Architectural Lighting Design is located here, with students from over 20 different countries.

KTH Haninge has a meeting point where the diverse worlds of culture, scientific research and business come together to experience and examine the significance of light and lighting in our daily lives. This is called the Lighting Laboratory.

The campus itself is located near the commuter train, which takes you to Stockholm in just 20 minutes. It is also close to a beautiful archipelago and enjoy the great outdoors in Tyresta National Park.[35]


KTH Södertälje is Södertälje’s university college campus. KTH Södertälje is a moderately large area with close and natural contacts between teachers and students.

KTH Södertälje’s education is being constantly developed via a close co-operation with the town’s business community and in particular major Södertälje companies such as Scania and AstraZeneca. Among other topics, university engineers in electronics and mechanical engineering are educated here. Also, KTH offer various Master's programmes in logistics, project management, and product development.

Since autumn 2007, the design studio Go Deep KTH at KTH Södertälje has been able to offer product development work via surveys, concept, visualisation and development through design. The idea with Go Deep KTH is to create realistic cooperation projects with companies, public administrations and institutions together with researchers in technology, medicine and health.

At KTH Södertälje, each year Tegelnatten is arranged, a competition where students in teams solve a 24-hour project assignment. The project assignment for design night 2008 was to provide proposals and ideas as to how future games and competitions will be designed to attract and entice the future generations.

Södertälje offers KTH's students who will be studying at KTH Södertälje a guaranteed apartment in Södertälje. Students who live and study in Södertälje also receive a computer via cooperation with the municipality which they are able to use during the time they spend as a student.[36]


KTH was founded in 1827 under the name Technological Institute (Teknologiska institutet), following the establishment of polytechnical schools in many European countries the early years of the 19th century, often based on the model of École Polytechnique in Paris in 1794.

KTH's earliest Swedish predecessor was the Laboratorium mechanicum, a collection of mechanical models for teaching created in 1697 by Christopher Polhem, who is considered to be the father of mechanics in Sweden. The models were used intermittently for teaching practical mechanics by different masters until the School of Mechanics (Mekaniska skolan) was founded in 1798. This is the year from which there has been continuous teaching of technology in Sweden. The activities of the School of Mechanics was taken over by KTH when it was founded.

The institute had one professor of chemistry and one of physics, and one class in mechanical engineering and one in chemical engineering. During the first years, however, teaching was at a very elementary level, and more aimed at craftsmanship rather than engineering as such. The institute was also plagued by conflicts between the faculty and the founder and head of the institute, Gustaf Magnus Schwartz, who was responsible for the artisanal focus of the institute. A government committee was appointed in 1844 to solve the issues, which led to removing Schwartz in 1845. Instead, Joachim Åkerman, the head of the School of Mining in Falun and a former professor of chemistry at KTH, took over. He led a full reorganisation of the institute in 1846–1848, after which he returned to his post in Falun. An entrance test and a minimum age of 16 for students was introduced, which led to creating proper engineering training at the institute. In 1851, the course was extended from two years to three.

In the late 1850s, the institute entered a time of expansion. In 1863, it received its own purpose-built buildings on Drottninggatan. In 1867, its regulations were again overhauled, to state explicitly that the institute should provide scientific training to its students. In 1869, the School of Mining in Falun was moved to Stockholm and merged with the institute. In 1871, the institute took over the civil engineering course formerly arranged by the Higher Artillery College in Marieberg.

In 1877, the name was changed into the current one, which changed KTH's status from Institute (institut) to College (högskola), and some courses were extended from three years to four. Architecture was also added to the curriculum.

In 1915, the degree titles conferred by KTH received legal protection. In the late 19th century, it had become common to use the title civilingenjör (literally "civil engineer") for most KTH-trained engineers, and not just those who studied building and construction-related subjects. The only exception was the mining engineers, which called themselves bergsingenjör ("mountain engineer"). For a while, the title civilingenjör was equal to "KTH graduate" but in 1937, Chalmers in Gothenburg became the second Swedish engineering college which were allowed to confirm these titles.

In 1917, the first buildings of KTH's new campus on Valhallavägen were completed, and still constitute its main campus.

Although the engineering education of the late 19th and early 20th century were scientifically founded, up until the early 20th century, research as such was not seen as a central activity of an Institute of Technology. Those engineering graduates which went on to academic research had to earn their doctorates, typically in physics or chemistry, at a regular university. In 1927, KTH was finally granted the right to confer its own doctorates, under the designation Teknologie doktor (Doctor of Technology), and the first five doctors were created in 1929.

In 1984 the civilingenjör course at all Swedish universities was extended from four years to 4.5. From 1989, the shorter training in technology arranged by the municipal polytechnical schools in Sweden was gradually extended and moved into the university system, from 1989 as two-year courses and from 1995 alternatively as three-year courses. For KTH, this meant that additional campuses around the Stockholm area were added.

In present-day KTH continue to be Sweden's largest, oldest, and most international technical university. The university provides one-third of Sweden's research and engineering education. In 2012, there were a total of 14,000 undergraduate students, 1,700 postgraduate students, and 4,600 members of staff at the university.[37]

R1 nuclear reactor[edit]

Main article: R1 nuclear reactor
The R1 nuclear reactor.

After the American deployment of nuclear weapons at the end of World War II, the Swedish military leadership recognized the need for nuclear weapons to be thoroughly investigated and researched to provide Sweden with the knowledge to defend itself from a nuclear attack. With the mission to "make something with neutrons", the Swedish team, with scientists like Rolf Maximilian Sievert, set out to research the subject and eventually build a nuclear reactor for testing.

After a few years of basic research, they started building a 300 kW (later expanded to 1 MW) reactor, named Reaktor 1 (R1), in a reactor hall 25 meters under the surface right underneath KTH. Today this might seem ill-considered, since approximately 40,000 people lived within a 1 km radius. It was risky, but was deemed tolerable since the reactor was an important research tool for scientists at the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (Ingenjörsvetenskapsakademien).

At 18:59 on 13 July 1954, the reactor reached critical mass and sustained Sweden's first nuclear reaction. R1 was to be the main site for almost all Swedish nuclear research until 1970 when the reactor was finally decommissioned, mostly due to the increased awareness of the risks associated with operating a reactor in a densely populated area of Stockholm. The reactor hall remains an amusement to many as once it was next door to what used to be Sweden's first nuclear reactor. Close to the reactor hall is the restaurant Q.


From 2005 KTH is organized into nine schools each consisting of a number of departments:

In February 2017, the new president announced a new plan to review the schools organization. The reorganization will aim at reducing the number of schools by integrating them.[38]

Quality of education[edit]

As of September 2016
University rankings
ARWU[39] 201-300
Times[40] 159
QS[41] 97
Times[42] 72

In 2007, by government initiative, the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education employed an international expert committee to find and award the top five highest quality education areas among all universities and colleges in Sweden. The Royal Institute of Technology received one such "Centre of Excellent Quality in Higher Education" (in Vehicle Engineering). It is the only higher education institution in the Stockholm/Uppsala region to receive an award.[43] In 2009, KTH was the only institution among all Sweden's universities to be awarded Centre of Excellent Quality in Higher Education (in computer science).[44]

In 2016 the university was ranked 97th in the world by QS World University Rankings,[45] and it was ranked 33rd in the world for engineering and technology (making it the highest ranked institution in Scandinavia) and 74th in the natural sciences. The 2016-17 Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked KTH 159th in the world.[46]

Notable alumni[edit]

Many prominent students have attended KTH, including;

Notable faculty[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "KTH in figures". KTH. Retrieved 28 September 2013. 
  2. ^ Swedish Higher Education Authority (Högskoleverket) – Annual report 2010 (Swedish), page 106ff
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  29. ^ "KTH - This is KTH". Retrieved 31 May 2015. 
  30. ^ "World Top 100 University Engineering Faculties" International Ranking, Retrieved on 2007-05-24
  31. ^ Wiklund, Kalle (11 February 2011). "KTH i toppen bland Europas universitet". Metro. Retrieved 31 May 2015. 
  32. ^
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  34. ^ "KTH - KTH Flemingsberg". Retrieved 31 May 2015. 
  35. ^ "KTH - KTH Haninge". Retrieved 31 May 2015. 
  36. ^ "KTH - Södertälje - the county's best student town". Retrieved 31 May 2015. 
  37. ^ "KTH - This is KTH". Retrieved 31 May 2015. 
  38. ^ "KTH Intranet | Review of the KTH school organization". (in Swedish). Retrieved 2017-02-24. 
  39. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities: Global". Institute of Higher Education, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2016. 
  40. ^ "World University Rankings 2016-2017". Times Higher Education. 2015. Retrieved October 22, 2016. 
  41. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2016/17". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2016. 
  42. ^ "Best universities in Europe 2017". The Times Higher Education. 2016. Retrieved October 22, 2016. 
  43. ^ Swedish National Agency for Higher Education – Awarded Centres of Excellent Quality in Higher Education 2007
  44. ^ Swedish National Agency for Higher Education – Awarded Centres of Excellent Quality in Higher Education 2009
  45. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2016". 
  46. ^ "World University Rankings 2016-17". Retrieved 22 October 2016. 
  47. ^

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 59°20′50″N 18°04′22″E / 59.34722°N 18.07278°E / 59.34722; 18.07278