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 emphasise 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
The mandatory courses in quantum mechanics and 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.
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 master’s programme are highly sought after in the high-tech industry, finance, and such like. The ability to build a model and make predictions is a very valuable skill that finds application across a broad range of companies.