23:10 Monday, January 21, 2013
We’re now over a week into the start of classes at KTH, and so far, I don’t think I’m failing anything! In this post, I’m going to talk about the courses I’m taking and some of the differences I’ve noticed between UT and KTH.
At KTH, each semester is divided into two “periods.” Since I am here for the Spring semester, I will have classes during period 3 (mid-Jan to mid-Mar) and period 4 (mid-Mar to late-May). Many courses at KTH last only for one period, but there are some that last for two periods. The courses I am taking balance out pretty evenly among the two periods:
- Kemisk reaktionsteknik (Chemical Reaction Engineering) – P3 & P4
- Cleaner Production – P3
- Oorganisk materialkemi (Inorganic Materials Chemistry) – P4
- Swedish Society, Culture, and Industry in Historical Perspective – P3 & P4
- Swedish Language – P3 & P4
Despite the Swedish names on some of them, they are all taught in English (with very strong accents, but for the most part comprehensible) except of course for the Swedish course, which is obviously taught in Swedish. For most of the courses, I already know how the credits will transfer back to UT and that they will count towards my degree. However, the third course on the list is the result of a last-minute change that I had to make because of an issue that came up when I got here to register. I’m working with my advisors at UT to see about getting it approved, so hopefully it will give me some useful credits at UT.
Speaking of Registration…
At UT, we register for our Spring courses in October, and our schedule is set before we go back in January. However, at KTH, they register for Spring courses just before the courses start. In fact, it is not even necessary to be registered in a course in order to start attending it. Registration goes on throughout the first week of classes, and as long as you put your name on the professor’s list on the first day of the course, you’re pretty much guaranteed a spot in the course. Of course, it’s still necessary to officially register in the class, but all that consists of is filling out a form with your course selection on it and turning it in. I’m not sure if it is different for regular students, but that is all I had to do. This is a much more laid-back form of registration than what we have at UT – registration at UT is online and we can only register during certain times of certain days based on seniority.
Another difference between courses at UT and courses at KTH is the scheduling. At UT, our courses are at the same time every week, which means that a schedule for one week looks the same as a schedule for any other week. However, here, the scheduling of lectures is essentially random (or it at least appears that way – I can’t find any logic behind it). This makes it rather difficult when planning your semester, because some courses may occasionally have lectures at the same time! D: Fortunately, with the courses that I selected, my schedule only has a few small overlaps which shouldn’t be a problem. There are even a few days that I don’t have any class at all, which means more time to travel and explore Sweden!
The final difference that I have noticed is one that I really enjoy. Since lectures here are generally scheduled for two-hour time slots (sometimes even three or four hours), they are longer than our lectures at UT, which are either 50 or 65 minutes. However, here, the professors stop teaching for 15 minutes at the beginning of every hour for a break. This means that a two-hour class is really only an hour and a half because there is a break in the middle. This is the first time I’ve ever heard of a professor giving a break during class, but I’m not complaining – breaks are a good thing!