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MSc Railway Engineering

Railway transport is experiencing a worldwide renaissance. It offers substantial economic benefits, energy efficiency, and environmental and safety benefits. Rail is widely viewed as a vital component of the integrated transportation system for sustainable societies of the future. There is substantial demand for engineers with an integrated knowledge of railway subsystems (infrastructure, vehicles and traffic control) who understand how to maximise the performance of the whole system.

Application dates for studies starting in Autumn 2021

16 October 2020: Application opens
15 January 2021: Application deadline
1 February 2021: Deadline for supporting academic documents (all applicants) and documentation of fee exempt status (if required) or receipt of application fee (if required)
9 April 2021: Notification of selection results
August 2021: Arrival and start of studies

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Railway Engineering at KTH

The master’s programme in Railway Engineering is among the very few programmes in the world that cover all aspects of rail engineering, and none offers the international perspective afforded by this one. It is offered by KTH in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).

The programme focuses on the system aspect, which is extremely important in railway systems. Vehicle, infrastructure and control system have to be designed to work optimally together. Therefore, the programme contains courses from mechanical, civil as well as electrical engineering. The program starts with mandatory courses during the autumn semester. Two of them are online courses from UIUC. During the spring semester, there is a mix of mandatory and conditionally elective courses. During the third semester, all students are at UIUC taking courses on-site.

The programme is mainly based on classes, with lectures, assignments and exams, but also includes projects and individual studies. All teachers are also active researchers and will include new research trends in their course content. Many of the railway students prepare their master’s theses in industry, with a railway operator or a consultancy company.

This is a two year programme (120 ECTS credits) given in English. Graduates are awarded the degree of Master of Science. The programme is given mainly at KTH Campus in Stockholm by the School of Engineering Sciences (at KTH).

Collaboration with the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC)

About half of the courses are given by the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC) and KTH respectively, and the programme includes international mobility. At least 15 ECTS credits have to be taken on-site at the partner university. Many courses for this programme are taught online by KTH and UIUC exclusively. Please note; Due to US visa regulations, there is no guarantee that fee-paying students can study in the US. In case the visa is denied, these students will be offered an alternative study plan.

Topics covered

Vehicle and track design, vehicle-track interaction, traction systems, railway signalling systems, high-speed rail systems and railway traffic planning.

​​​​​ Courses in the programme


The technical challenges associated with meeting the growing demand for railway transportation in an efficient and sustainable manner require a considerable number of engineers with an education in the field of railways around the world. A large percentage of railway industry engineering staff are nearing retirement; consequently, there is a strong and growing demand for graduates with education in railway engineering. With one focus of the programme on system aspects, it is foreseen that many graduates from the programme will hold management positions in the organisations they work in.

The programme provides an excellent basis for pursuing a career in the global vehicle industry, at consultancy companies as well as at universities. The co-operation between the Swedish vehicle industry and the Department of Vehicle and Aeronautical Engineering is very close, and there are several major ongoing research programmes in which KTH, key manufacturers and the transport administration are involved. At both universities, there is also the possibility of continuing as a PhD student. The students with a degree from the master’s programme in Railway Engineering will be strong candidates for the limited number of positions available. 

After graduation

Vehicle or track design engineer, signalling engineer, procurement or maintenance engineer at an operator, researcher or railway consultant.


Find out what students from the programme think about their time at KTH.

"I was looking for Railway Engineering. Only here at KTH could I found what I was looking for."

Timon Niedecken, Germany

Meet the students

Sustainable development

Graduates from KTH have the knowledge and tools for moving society in a more sustainable direction, as sustainable development is an integral part of all programmes. The international environment of the master's programme in Railway Engineering provides different societal perspectives that will be very helpful for understanding the challenges of global sustainability. The three key sustainable development goals addressed by the programme are:

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
13. Climate Action

Due to the inherent climate-positive qualities of railway systems, all courses incorporate sustainability-related knowledge. You will acquire a systems perspective that forms the basis for rethinking transportation while allowing you to design and create innovative solutions for problems that will appear in the future. With this expert knowledge and the technical breadth and international experience that you will acquire, you will learn how to contribute towards global sustainable development.

The broad array of courses in the programme will engage you in different technical and societal aspects directly related to sustainability, such as designing technical solutions with demands on energy and material consumption, or human-centred aspects such as comfort, interoperability and friendly transport system environments. In the master’s degree project you will expand your knowledge about technological development and project management in relation to sustainability.

Railways will play an important role in the sustainability of our societies as we know them. As a railway systems expert with a strong international perspective, you will be able to join any work group around the world, work with other experts in adjacent fields, and lead the development of technical innovations that contribute towards a sustainable infrastructure system, energy-efficient transportation and climate-friendly technical innovations.

Webinar on sustainable development

Watch a recording of the webinar offered by the School of Engineering Sciences in December 2019. The webinar focused on the schools' master’s programmes and how they relate to sustainable development.

Faculty and research

The multidisciplinary nature of the master's programme in Railway Engineering is reflected in the research groups that compose KTH Railway Group. The programme is hosted at the School of Engineering Sciences. Still, railway-related research is carried out at four of KTH's schools at the moment: Engineering Sciences, Architecture and Built Environment, Industrial Engineering and Management, and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

Faculty and research

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