KTH Royal Institute of Technology

KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Swedish: Kungliga Tekniska högskolan), abbreviated KTH, is a public research university in Stockholm, Sweden. KTH conducts research and education within engineering and technology, and is Sweden's largest technical university.[3] Currently, KTH consists of five schools with four campuses in and around Stockholm.

KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Kungliga Tekniska högskolan
KTH Royal Institute of Technology logo.svg
MottoVetenskap och konst
Motto in English
Science and Art
TypePublic Research University
Established1827; 194 years ago (1827)
BudgetSEK 5.366 billion[1]
ChairmanUlf Edwaldsson
PresidentSigbritt Karlsson
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students13,500 (FTE, 2019)[2]
AffiliationsCLUSTER, CESAER, EUA, T.I.M.E. association, PEGASUS, NORDTEK, Nordic Five Tech, UNITE!

KTH was established in 1827 as Teknologiska Institutet (Institute of Technology), and had its roots in Mekaniska skolan (School of Mechanics) that was established in 1798 in Stockholm. But the origin of KTH dates back to the predecessor to Mekaniska skolan, the Laboratorium Mechanicum, which was established in 1697 by Swedish scientist and innovator Christopher Polhem. Laboratorium Mechanicum combined education technology, a laboratory and an exhibition space for innovations.[4] In 1877 KTH received its current name, Kungliga Tekniska högskolan (KTH Royal Institute of Technology). The King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf is the High Protector of KTH.

Main building in winter
Main courtyard in summer
KTH "Courtyard" ("borggården") 2005
Kerberos guarding the entrance to the courtyard
Royal Institute of Technology 2012

KTH is the highest ranked technical university in Sweden. It is ranked 89 in the world among all universities in the 2022 QS World University Rankings .[5]


KTH's earliest Swedish predecessor was the Laboratorium Mechanicum, a collection of mechanical models for teaching created in 1697 by Christopher Polhem. Polhem is considered to be the father of mechanics in Sweden. He founded the laboratorium as a school and research facility in the engineering field of mechanics after his extensive trips, studies and research abroad.[6] The mechanical models that formed the basis of the education were used intermittently for teaching practical mechanics by different masters until the School of Mechanics (Mekaniska skolan) was founded in 1798. In 1827 the School of Mechanics was transformed into the 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.

The institute had one professor in chemistry and one in 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 engineering program 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 programs at all Swedish universities were extended from four years to 4.5. From 1989, the shorter programs in technology arranged by the municipal polytechnical schools in Sweden was gradually extended and moved into the university system, from 1989 as two-year programs and from 1995 alternatively as three-year programs. For KTH, this meant that additional campuses around the Stockholm area were added.

In the present-day, KTH provides one-third of Sweden's research and engineering education. In 2019, there were a total of 13,500 undergraduate students, 1,700 doctoral students, and 3,600 staff members at the university.[7]

R1 nuclear reactorEdit

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 achieved criticality 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.


Since 2018 KTH is organized into five schools. Each of the schools are heading a number of departments, centres of excellence and undergraduate study programmes.

International and national rankingEdit

These are KTH's placements on THE, QS, ARWU as well as U.S. News & World Report lists for 2020.[8]

University rankings
Global – Overall
CWTS World[9]275
QS World[10]89
THE World[11]201-250
USNWR Global[12]205

QS (Quacquarelli Symonds)
KTH's position in the total ranking 89.

THE (Times Higher Education)
Ranked among the 201-250 best universities.
Ranked as 72nd best university in Europe.
THE Impact Rankings 77.
Ranked as 33rd best university in Europe.

ARWU (Shanghai)
KTH's position in the total ranking: 201–300.

U.S. News & World Report, Best Global Universities Ranking
Ranked as 207th best university in the world.

Ranking placement in subject areasEdit

These are placements for KTH's subject areas on THE, QS, ARWU as well as U.S. News & World Report lists for 2019.[14]

Engineering & TechnologyEdit

THE (Times Higher Education): 62.
QS (Quacquarelli Symonds): 30.
ARWU (Shanghai): 100–150.
U.S. News & World Report: 32.

Natural SciencesEdit

QS: 84.

Physical SciencesEdit

THE: 176–200.


KTH CampusEdit

KTH Campus is the main campus of KTH located in the area of Östermalm. The mail buildings by architect Erik Lallerstedt, were completed in 1917. The bells of the clock-tower were completed ten years later in 1927 at the 10 year anniversary of the transformation of the School of Mechanics to the Technological Institute. 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 at the time of construction, KTH very soon outgrew it, and the campus has since been expanded with new buildings. KTH Campus is still the base for most of the university's operations.

KTH KistaEdit

In the 1980s, the predecessor to the current School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (at KTH) located some of their operations to a campus in Kista, Stockholm. Kista is situated north of central Stockholm and is Sweden's largest corporate center and one of the most important ICT clusters in the world.[15] The area is home to over a thousand companies in the ICT sector, for example Ericsson, Volvo, IBM, Tele2, TietoEnator, Microsoft, Intel and Oracle.

KTH FlemingsbergEdit

Since 2002, the current School of Engineering Sciences in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Health (at KTH) has had a part of its activities in Flemingsberg, Stockholm. Flemingsberg is an area of high academic density and one of northern Europe's most important areas for biotechnology, both in terms of research and industrial activities. Södertörn University and the Karolinska Institute also conducts education and research in Flemingsberg, often in collaboration with KTH.

KTH SödertäljeEdit

KTH Södertälje is the southernmost and smallest KTH campus, located in the city of Södertälje. Education at KTH Södertälje is constantly developed via a close co-operation with the town's business community and in particular major Södertälje companies such as Scania and AstraZeneca. KTH offers both bachelor's and master's level courses on the campus, mainly focused on mechanical engineering, logistics, production and product development.[16]

KTH LibraryEdit

The library at the Royal Institute of Technology ("Kungliga Tekniska högskolans bibliotek", KTHB) is Sweden’s largest library for technology and basic sciences. The foundation for the library was laid in 1827, when KTH was founded in Stockholm. The main library is located on KTH’s main campus in central Stockholm. The KTH library is a central academic meeting place at KTH, and an arena for collaboration. The library also has two branch libraries, in Kista and Södertälje.[17]

KTH Library supports the academic and digital skills of students and researchers. The library promotes open access publishing and provides the university with analyses that support and make it easier to make strategic decisions. One of the goals is to increase the awareness of KTH´s research. The library´s main purpose is to strengthen the quality of education and research.


The foundation for the library was created in 1827 when the Institute of Technology was founded in Stockholm. The institute's first director, Gustav Magnus Schwartz, made a study trip to France, Germany and England, where he bought books for the institute's library. The first collection of 800 books consisted mainly of books on crafts. In 1845, Professor Joachim Åkerman became the institute's new director. During his time, the library focused entirely on scientific literature. In 1869, Falu Bergsskola was transferred to the institute, and 2 000 books in metallurgy and chemistry were incorporated into the library collection.

In 2013, KTH library was visited by former US President Barack Obama.

The collectionsEdit

The library currently focuses on electronic books and journals, and it is also responsible for the KTH part of DiVA,[18] the institutional repository for research publications, where all KTH publications are collected. The library has extensive printed collections that have been built up over time. The rare books collection consists of 60,000 volumes from 1827–1960, and it’s located in the main library.

The buildingEdit

The main library is housed in a building from 1917 designed by architect Erik Lallerstedt,[19] who also designed the rest of the university's then new campus. The building was later rebuilt several times, and in the 1950s the former open courtyard was built in. During the period 2000–2002, the building was rebuilt according to drawings by architect Per Ahrbom. The extension from the 1950s was demolished and a new entrance and office building with a glass facade were erected. The courtyard is the library's central room, and the rest of the library is grouped around the courtyard. Old facades have been renovated, both towards the courtyard and towards the streets. Inside, the old part of the house has been renovated and regained much of the original architecture.

The renovation and extension of the library has won several architectural awards. In 2004, Per Ahrbom [20] was awarded the “Helgopriset”.[21]


The title was överdirektor first, then föreståndare and from the beginning of the 20th century rektor.

For Teknologiska institutetEdit

1825–1845: Gustaf Magnus Schwartz [sv]
1845–1848: Joachim Åkerman [sv], (acting)
1848–1855: Lars Johan Wallmark [sv]
1856–1877(1890): Knut Styffe [sv]

For KTHEdit

(1856)1877–1890: Knut Styffe [sv]
1890–1902: Gustaf Robert Dahlander [sv] (acting)
1902–1909: Anders Lindstedt
1909–1922: Carl Jacob Magnell [sv]
1922–1927: Henning Pleijel [sv]
1927–1931: Tore Lindmark [sv]
1931–1943: Henrik Kreüger
1942: Håkan Sterky [sv], (acting)
1943–1964: Ragnar Woxén [sv]
1964–1968: Lennart Stockman [sv]
1968–1974: Göran Borg [sv]
1974–1980: Anders Rasmuson [sv]
1980–1988: Gunnar Brodin [sv]
1988–1998: Janne Carlsson [sv]
1998–2007: Anders Flodström
2007: Anders Eriksson [sv]
2007-2016: Peter Gudmundson [sv]
2016-: Sigbritt Karlsson

Notable alumniEdit

Many prominent former students have attended KTH, including;

Notable facultyEdit

KTH Great PrizeEdit

KTH Great Prize is a prize annually awarded by KTH. The distributed amount was SEK 1,200,000 in 2019.

The prize is awarded to:

  • A person who invented significant innovative applications of scientific knowledge in practical areas,
  • A person who, through scientific research, found particularly valuable principles or methods useful for applications
  • A person who, through artistic efforts, has exercised a powerful influence on the soul and life of people.

The recipient of the award must also be a Swedish citizen. Usually, the prize is awarded to a single prize winner, but it has happened that two or three prize winners have shared the prize. The list of recipients is at KTH:s stora pris.


KTH has been awarded the title "European University" by the European Commission. Together with 6 other European technical universities, KTH has formed the alliance UNITE! (University Network for Innovation, Technology and Engineering). The aim of the network is to create a trans-European campus, to introduce trans-European curricula, to promote scientific cooperation between the members and to strengthen knowledge transfer between the countries. The alliance includes the Technische Universität Darmstadt, Aalto University, KTH, the Polytechnic University of Turin, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and the University of Lisbon.[23]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "KTH in figures". KTH. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "An innovative European technical university". KTH. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  4. ^ Lindgren, Michael, 1953- (2011). Christopher Polhems testamente : berättelsen om ingenjören, entreprenören och pedagogen som ville förändra Sverige. Stockholm: Innovationshistoria Förlag. ISBN 978-9197919722. OCLC 845006927.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ "KTH profile in QS World University Rankings". 28 October 2019. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  6. ^ https://www.tekniskamuseet.se/lar-dig-mer/svenska-uppfinnare-och-innovatorer/christopher-polhem-mekaniskt-alfabet/
  7. ^ "KTH - This is KTH". Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  8. ^ KTH University World Ranking
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1 November 2020. Retrieved 23 November 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2020". Archived from the original on 19 June 2019. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  11. ^ "World University Rankings 2020". Archived from the original on 18 September 2019. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  12. ^ News Education: Best Global Universities 2020
  13. ^ KTH QS Program Rankings
  14. ^ KTH Course wise Ranking
  15. ^ OECD Green Growth Studies Green Growth in Stockholm, Sweden. OECD Publishing. 23 May 2013. p. 70. ISBN 978-92-64-19515-8. Archived from the original on 27 June 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  16. ^ "KTH Södertälje". KTH. Retrieved 28 October 2019.
  17. ^ "KTH Library". www.kth.se/en. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  18. ^ "DiVA". www.diva-portal.org. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  19. ^ "Erik Lallerstedt". www.kth.se/en. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  20. ^ "Per Ahrbom". www.aop.se. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  21. ^ "Helgopriset". www.sfv.se. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  22. ^ "Elektro 1910-1985". www.e.kth.se. Retrieved 27 March 2021.
  23. ^ "Greater cross-border mobility and common programme development to come". KTH. Retrieved 21 August 2019.

External linksEdit

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