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A typical semester at KTH

Hello everybody and welcome to this new post! Today, we will talk about how a typical semester may look like at KTH. I thought this could be an interesting topic given that the admission results have just come out and you may want to know something more about studying at KTH! So, let’s get started.

KTH library at evening
By far, my favourite place to study is the KTH library!

Semester structure

At KTH, every semester is divided into two different periods. The first semester (September – December) is split into Period 1 and 2, and the second (January – June) is composed of Period 3 and 4. Different periods (usually) correspond to different courses, for a total of 30 ECTS per semester (but there may be exceptions, such as bigger courses that last for two periods).

You may have both elective and compulsory courses, depending on your study programme. I am studying Engineering Mechanics, which is a programme with many electives and just one compulsory course for Period during the first year. For this second semester, I therefore had to attend Computational Fluid Dynamics in Period 3, and Compressible Flow in Period 4. I chose to take no electives during Period 3 and to take two electives during Period 4: Vehicle Aerodynamics and Combustion in industrial processes.

Period 3

I found Period 3 to be super intense! Even if I only had one course, it turned out to be very demanding. It had one final oral exam, a final project (we had to write a code to solve the Navier-Stokes equations), and six assignments to deliver during the Period. As I had already explained in this article on the perks of studying at KTH, at KTH practical work has a lot of relevance and this course was the perfect example of that!

Although demanding, I have loved the course and the way it was evaluated. Having so much practical stuff made it super easy to digest all the theory and understand its connection to real life, and it also helped me to become more proficient with coding in Python and Matlab. This perfectly sums up the reason why I chose to come to study in Sweden!

Picture of a Matlab code with a thumb up
Ah, that feeling when the code works!

Period 4

During this period, I am instead enjoying more free time and, overall, I have less deadlines. Compressible flow is a course with a final oral examination, but it also heavily relies on practical work: there are three compulsory laboratories at three different KTH wind tunnels, and for each of them a data analysis is performed in groups. I have just done the first lab session and I found it super cool: it perfectly highlighted the differences between the analytical and experimental results, making me understand how thoughtful you must be when performing theoretical estimations.

Vehicle Aerodynamics also has a final exam, a laboratory – we will have to measure the forces acting on a vehicle model by taking measurements of its wake – and a literature review. Once again, a very good mixing between theory, practice and research methodology!

Finally, Combustion in industrial processes is also very interesting: we will have two company visits during the semester – one at an important renewable energy power plant in Stockholm, and one at a steel making plant. Plus, it also has a final project (we’ll have to design our own furnace!) and some assignments.

In general, even with three courses, a typical week has around 20 hours of lessons. Hence, you are given plenty of free time to organise your days as you wish: I usually (try to) study until maximum 5 or 6 pm and then hit the gym. I find it very doable to have a hobby even while studying, here in Sweden!

Pipe part of a wind tunnel at KTH
A small part of KTH main wind tunnel: a beast of a machine!

This ends today’s post. As always, thank you very much for reading! Before you leave, I remind you to check our Welcome to KTH post, where you will find a quick recap of what will happen in the next few days if you’ve been admitted. Also, I recommend you to check out Raygo’s post on a typical week in his life and Martyna’s post on her favourite spots in Stockholm.

Stay tuned to the blog, many useful posts on admission are on their way!

Have a nice weekend, and happy Easter!

// Lorenzo