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Theoretical Physics

Theoretical Physics is a branch of physics that employs mathematical and computer-based models and abstractions of physical objects and systems to explain and predict natural phenomena. There are different levels of abstractions in theoretical physics, a number of which are at the level of phenomenology, which allows the establishment of a connection between various observed or measured phenomena/characteristics. Some of them are at a very abstract level that places emphasis on a mathematical approach, such as mathematical physics.

A comparably new direction is computational physics, which treats complicated models of nature using powerful computers. Regardless of the particular branch, a theoretical physicist is trained to explain existing observations and predict new facts by solving challenging intellectual problems – using pen and paper, a computer, and most often – both.

Theoretical Physics at KTH

A minimum of 40 credits must be chosen from core knowledge courses within the track. The mandatory courses in quantum mechanics ( SI2380 Advanced quantum mechanics ) and statistical physics ( SI2510 Statistical mechanics ) provide the basic theoretical tools that are required for the more specialised courses. The conditionally elective courses provide specialisations in computational physics, particle physics, mathematical physics, condensed matter physics and theoretical biological physics. Suitable elective courses can then provide even deeper knowledge concerning theoretical and mathematical physics, or experimental physics.

Courses are taught by research groups at the Condensed matter theory division  and the Particle and astroparticle physics division  of the Department of Physics, often in close relation to their research topics.

Topics covered

Main topics include strongly correlated systems, topological phases of matter, classical and quantum phase transitions, exotic quantum fluids, magnetism, materials under extreme conditions, corrosion, nanostructures, disordered systems, soft materials, the theory of relativity, theoretical high energy physics and Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics simulations.

Career

After completing your master’s degree on the Theoretical Physics track, there are good opportunities for a career as advanced problem solvers or researchers in industry or for continued PhD studies. The skills acquired on this track are highly sought after in high-tech industry, in consultant and information technology companies and in the finance and insurance sector. The ability to build a model and make predictions is a very valuable skill that finds application across a broad range of companies.

Graduate interview