Rules of Procedure - Doctoral Programmes

Ref. no. C 2007/846
C 2009/589
C 2009/590
Revised version of C 2005/93
Approved by the President on February 7, 2005

Download Rules_of_Procedure_Doctoral_Programmes as a pdf

1. Degrees

The doctoral programmes include both a licentiate degree and a PhD degree. A licentiate degree could be an intermediate stage in a PhD programme.

1.1 Degree designations

The PhD designation normally corresponds to the name of the faculty at which the first degree was taken. The same applies to a licentiate degree.

2. Programme length

The licentiate degree programme is equivalent to two years' full-time study and a PhD degree four years' full-time study. A person who holds a doctoral position is normally involved in teaching in undergraduate programmes, equivalent to a maximum of 20 per cent of the total working time. It shall then be possible for a licentiate degree to be taken within 2½ years and a PhD within five years.

3. Programme orientation

3.1 Subjects in the doctoral programme

A doctoral programme is organised within a subject area. The President confirms the subjects that shall be available.

3.2 Chalmers graduate schools

A doctoral programme at Chalmers shall be run in the form of a graduate school. Graduate schools are organised within a department or are common to a number of departments and are designated Chalmers Graduate Schools. The head of department is responsible for doctoral programmes within the Department. The head of department can decide that matters within the doctoral programme are delegated to the pro-prefect. All doctoral students shall belong to a Chalmers graduate school. The doctoral student can also belong to other graduate schools, e.g. national and international graduate schools.

The President decides which Chalmers graduate schools shall exist following a proposal from a head of department or pro-prefect.

Each Chalmers graduate school has a corresponding research programme subject and its name shall be identical to the name of the subject.

3.3 General syllabus

The general syllabus for the subject in question shall specify the prior knowledge requirements for admission onto the programme as well as the main content of the programme and the examination requirements. The syllabus is approved by the President.

4 Admission onto a doctoral programme

4.1 Prior knowledge requirements

The examiner shall, in consultation with the principal supervisor, assess whether the applicant has the capacity to successfully complete the doctoral programme.

For a student to be admitted onto a doctoral programme it is generally required that the student has a degree on an advanced level comprising at least 240 credits (according to the Swedish university credits system). The focus of the student's degree shall also be linked sufficiently to the doctoral programme subject.

In addition to this minimum requirement there are certain requirements regarding prior subject knowledge. These are stated in the syllabus for the subject in question.

The same requirements apply to persons with a first degree taken at a university outside Sweden.

Applicants from abroad who do not have English or a Scandinavian language as their mother tongue, will normally be required to take an English language test, e.g. TOEFL 550 (paper-based)/TOEFL 213 (computer-based) before admission.

Applicants who do not meet the qualification requirements in the syllabus can be admitted through a special admission procedure. When this procedure is applied it is the head of department, following a proposal from the examiner, who confirms the supplementary courses required to commence doctoral studies within the subject in question. When the applicant has successfully completed these courses he/she can be admitted.

4.2 Selection

Selection from eligible applicants is made based on an assessment of the person's capacity to benefit from the doctoral programme. Equality aspects shall be taken into account in the selection process.

4.3 Admission

The head of department decides on admission onto a doctoral programme.

Admission onto a doctoral programme may only take place if the requisite conditions for an effective education exist with regard to funding, research environment, supervision and course availability and which lead to a degree of an internationally high standard. A doctoral student who successfully pursues a doctoral programme shall have the supervision and the study conditions required to pursue studies through to a PhD (totalling a maximum of four years' full-time study).

In exceptional cases the head of department or the pro-prefect can decide if the doctoral student is to be admitted with the aim of concluding studies at the licentiate degree level (a total of two years' study). In such cases this shall be clearly stated in the admission decision. A decision regarding admission onto a licentiate degree programme may not be delegated.

A doctoral student who holds a position other than at Chalmers presupposes that a written agreement has been entered into with the employer.

5. Employment as a doctoral student

Doctoral positions are available at Chalmers to fund doctoral studies. Only persons who are accepted for a doctoral programme at Chalmers can hold a doctoral student position.

5.1 Advertising

A vacant doctoral position shall be advertised on the Chalmers website and, if necessary, in another manner, so that anyone who is interested in the position can notify Chalmers before a certain date.

5.2 Scope

The working hours shall normally be full-time. A part-time position, over and above statutory leave of absence, is granted to a person who combines his/her studies with employment outside Chalmers if this is of benefit to the doctoral student's studies. Before such a part-time position can be granted, the principal supervisor and the doctoral student shall agree on a plan for future doctoral studies.

5.3 Duties

The doctoral student shall devote his/her time and effort primarily to personal doctoral studies. Employment could include other duties, equivalent to a maximum of 20 per cent of the working hours. These shall essentially take the form of teaching on Chalmers' undergraduate programmes although other duties could also be included if they contribute to the doctoral student's development as a researcher.

5.4 Pedagogical training

Doctoral students who teach on an undergraduate programme shall undergo an introductory university level education programme or shall have acquired the equivalent know-how in another manner.

5.5 Period of employment

Employment is limited in terms of time and a position may normally be held for a maximum of five years, although no longer than the equivalent of a full-time, four-year doctoral programme.

Where an exception has been made and a doctoral student is admitted to a licentiate degree programme, a position can normally be held for a maximum of three years although no longer than the equivalent of a two-year, full-time doctoral programme.

The first period of employment is for a maximum of one year. The two subsequent periods of employment can be up to a maximum of two years each. Prior to each new period of employment, the examiner and the principal supervisor shall consider whether the doctoral student has the prerequisites to continue his/her degree studies. Doctoral students who after the first two periods of employment (1 + 2 years) are considered to have the prerequisites to pursue their doctoral studies successfully shall be given precedence over new applicants in order to continue their employment as a doctoral student when doctoral student appointments are made.

If a doctoral student's position is to come to an end, he/she shall be notified in writing at least three months before employment ceases (with consideration given, for example, to parental leave, absence due to sickness etc.).

Employment can be extended for a certain period of time beyond five years if there is good reason. In the case of statutory leave, employment shall be extended if the doctoral student requests this. Before an extension can be granted, the principal supervisor and the doctoral student shall prepare a joint plan for future doctoral studies.

A doctoral student who takes a PhD in less than five years can hold the doctoral position for a maximum of one year after graduating (although no more than five years in total).

The head of department decides on extensions and the right to remain in a position after graduating.

5.6 Scholarships

The head of department or pro-prefect decides on the admission of a doctoral student who is to be financed through a scholarship.

6. Programme content and implementation

6.1 Licentiate programme

The licentiate programme includes work reported in a scientific dissertation and the other elements stated in the syllabus. The dissertation shall normally be equivalent to at least one year's full-time study.

6.2 Doctoral programme

The doctoral programme includes a thesis and the other elements stated in the syllabus. The thesis shall be equivalent to at least two years' full-time study.

6.3 Other elements

The scope of the other elements, e.g. courses, is specified according to a credit system, where 1.5 credits are equivalent to one week's work.

In examinations in the course elements included in the doctoral programme, either a Pass or Fail is awarded.

When marking the examination, consideration shall be given both to the depth of the doctoral student's knowledge as well as his/her capacity for independent assessment and critical analysis.

6.4 Internationalisation

All doctoral students at Chalmers shall be assured of a minimum level with regard to international contacts. This shall, inter alia, result in all doctoral students being well informed about research within his/her field and have knowledge of the most recent research results within closely related areas. Chalmers shall work to promote internationalisation by supporting the doctoral students' participation in international collaboration, spending time abroad and by inviting foreign guest researchers.

When part of the programme is to be spent at a foreign research institute the doctoral student shall retain his/her salary as a doctoral student.

If leave of absence is granted to spend time abroad no salary benefits are payable.

6.5 Individual syllabus and study follow-up

Each doctoral student shall have an individual syllabus with a time schedule for the thesis. The individual syllabus shall indicate the elements that are included and the length in terms of university credits. The principal supervisor is responsible for drawing up an individual syllabus no later than three months after the doctoral student's date of admission and for ensuring that the syllabus is sent to the Director of Studies. The Director of Studies shall ensure that the syllabus is filed at the department.

The Director of Studies is responsible for ensuring that studies are followed up each year and that the individual syllabus is reviewed annually and revised as necessary. The Director of Studies or equivalent and the doctoral student's principal supervisor and examiner shall take part in the study follow-up.

6.6 Discontinuation of studies

If a doctoral student neglects his/her undertakings to a material extent or does not have the capacity to continue through to a PhD according to the individual syllabus, the head of department or pro-prefect shall decide that the doctoral student is no longer entitled to supervision and other resources for the doctoral programme. Before such a decision is reached a doctoral student (with the support of the doctoral student representative or a representative from the graduate school if so desired) and the supervisor shall be given the opportunity to issue a statement. The examination shall be made on the basis of their accounts and other enquiries, which are available to the head of department or pro-prefect. In making an assessment, consideration shall be given to whether Chalmers has fulfilled its undertakings according to the individual syllabus. The decision shall be in writing and reasons given. The decision can be appealed against to the Vice President for Doctoral Programmes, who makes the final decision. The Vice President can, as support for his decision, seek the views of the Operational Ethics Committee or equivalent body.

Resources may not be withdrawn during the time the doctoral student is employed as a doctoral student or holds a scholarship.

6.6.1 Additional study results

If resources for a doctoral programme have been withdrawn according to point 6.6 the doctoral student can, following an application to the head of department or pro-prefect, be re-granted his/her right to supervision and other resources. The doctoral student must then present additional study results of significant quality and scope or in some other way make it probable that he or she can complete the remaining undertakings as laid down in the individual syllabus.

6.7 Examiner

The head of department or pro-prefect appoints one or more examiners for each subject. An examiner is appointed for a period of five years. A professor and another teacher on the associate professor level, who is permanently linked to Chalmers, can be appointed as examiners.

An examiner has overall responsibility for the doctoral programme in a specific subject and shall ensure that the doctoral programme for the research subject satisfies the quality requirements with regard to research tasks and other elements.

An examiner decides when 50% of the doctoral programme has been completed and the doctoral student has thus reached the licentiate level.

An examiner shall approve the individual syllabus and be involved in study follow-up. An examiner shall also examine the licentiate degree or PhD degree dissertation/thesis in advance. An examiner approves the licentiate dissertation and its presentation following consultation with the principal supervisor.

6.8 Director of Studies

At each graduate school that has been set up at Chalmers there shall be a Director of Studies. A Director of Studies shall hold a PhD and be an active researcher. The Director of Studies is responsible for studies being followed up at least once a year for all the doctoral students at the graduate school. The Director of Studies shall take the initiative for the development of courses and the running of seminars and be responsible for the requisite material being available when the graduate school is to be evaluated. A Director of Studies shall take the initiative for collaboration between graduate schools with regard to courses and seminars. A Director of Studies shall be responsible for information being provided regarding the courses at the graduate school.

6.9 Supervisor

The head of department or pro-prefect appoints the principal supervisors in each subject. From these the head of department or pro-prefect appoints a principal supervisor for the doctoral student as soon as possible after admission. The head of department or pro-prefect also appoints one or more assistant supervisors.

The principal supervisor shall be on the docent level and be linked permanently to Chalmers.

The principal supervisor is responsible for ensuring that a research task is in place when studies commence. The principal supervisor and doctoral student shall design the individual syllabus.

The principal supervisor is responsible for the doctoral student receiving qualified supervision to a sufficient extent from one of his/her supervisors so that the doctoral student can follow the individual syllabus.

Matters related to the extent of the supervision shall always be dealt with at the annual study follow-up.

A doctoral student at a university that does not have the right to award PhD degrees, and who has been admitted to a doctoral programme at Chalmers, can have a principal supervisor at his/her home university. The principal supervisor shall be on the docent level and is appointed by the head of department at Chalmers. There shall be an assistant supervisor at Chalmers.

A student who is employed at a place other than Chalmers shall always have an assistant supervisor at his/her employer.

6.10 Supervisor development

All supervisors at Chalmers shall receive supervisor training. The department shall also offer the supervisors the opportunity for continuous development and improvement of their expertise as a supervisor.

6.11 Credit entitlement

A doctoral student who has successfully completed part of the doctoral programme at another university can be credited with this at Chalmers. An assessment of how an earlier programme can be taken into account is made jointly by the examiner and the principal supervisor.

7 Degrees

7.1 Licentiate degree

For a licentiate degree to be awarded, the doctoral student must be awarded a Pass for the licentiate degree dissertation and its presentation and must pass the other elements that make up the programme.

The licentiate dissertation shall be written in English. In exceptional cases it can be written in Swedish with a summary in English.

7.1.1 Licentiate seminar

The licentiate dissertation shall be presented in English or Swedish at an open seminar on the Chalmers campus. An assessment of the licentiate dissertation and its presentation is made by an examiner following consultation with the principal supervisor.

The licentiate seminar shall take place during the period August 25 – December 21 or January 9 – June 12 and during normal working hours. The head of department or pro-prefect can in exceptional cases allow the seminar to take place on a different date/at a different time and at a different venue.

7.1.2 Notification and distribution of information

The doctoral student shall notify the head of department or pro-prefect that he or she wishes to hold a licentiate seminar, no later than four weeks prior to the planned date of the seminar.

The head of department or pro-prefect confirms, following a proposal from the doctoral student, the date/time and venue for the seminar. Information about this shall be distributed well in advance and no later than three weeks prior to the seminar.

The dissertation shall be available at Chalmers and at equivalent institutions at other colleges and universities in Sweden for a period of three weeks prior to the seminar and in sufficient numbers for a satisfactory examination of the dissertation to be made prior to the seminar.

7.2 PhD degree

For a PhD degree to be awarded it is required that the doctoral student has had a scientific thesis and its defence approved and has passed the other elements that are included in the programme.

The PhD thesis shall be written in English. In exceptional cases it can be written in Swedish with a summary in English.

7.2.1 Defence

The PhD thesis shall be defended orally in English or Swedish at a public defence on the Chalmers Campus.

Defence of the PhD thesis shall take place during the period August 25 – December 21 or January 9 – June 12 and during normal working hours. A head of department or pro-prefect can in exceptional cases allow the defence to take place on a different date/at a different time and at a different venue.

7.2.2 Notification and distribution of information

The doctoral student shall report to the head of department or pro-prefect that he or she wishes to defend the thesis no later than three months prior to the planned date of the defence. An advance examination of the thesis is made in the manner decided by the head of department or pro-prefect.

The doctoral student proposes a time and venue for the defence to the head of department or pro-prefect. The President (delegated to the Study Administration Department) then approves the time and venue for the defence. Information about this shall be distributed well in advance and no later than three weeks prior to the defence.

The thesis shall be available at Chalmers and equivalent institutions and at other colleges and universities in Sweden for a period of three weeks prior to the defence and in sufficient numbers for a satisfactory examination of the thesis to be made prior to the defence.

7.2.3 Chairman and faculty opponent

The defence shall be led by a chairman. There shall also be an opponent (faculty opponent) present during the defence. The opponent shall be on the docent level or have the equivalent expertise. The chairman of the defence and the faculty opponent are appointed by the head of department.

7.2.4 Grades Committee

The grades awarded for a PhD thesis and its defence are Pass or Fail. The grade is decided by a Grades Committee, which is appointed separately for each thesis.

The following shall apply to the members of the Grades Committee:

  • There shall normally be at least three and in special cases five members.
  • The majority of the members shall be appointed from researchers/teachers at another department or from outside Chalmers and these shall not have had any close connection to the doctoral student.
  • The members shall have scientific expertise on the docent level.
  • Equality aspects shall be observed.
  • At least one deputy shall be appointed.

The members of the Grades Committee are appointed by the head of department or pro-prefect. The Committee appoints a chairman from within its ranks. The faculty opponent and principal supervisor shall attend Grades Committee meetings and take part in its discussions although not in the decision. The examiner and the chairman of the defence may take part in the discussions.

The Grades Committee forms a quorum when all the members are present. The decision of the Committee is the opinion held by the majority.

Reasons shall be given for failing a thesis. The Committee decides if any reservations are to be reported.

7.2.5 Degree certificate

A person who satisfies the requirements for a licentiate degree or PhD receives a degree certificate. The degree certificate is issued in Swedish and English.

8 Preventing and impeding sexual harassment

Chalmers shall take steps to guard against and impede a student from being exposed to unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature or other unwelcome behaviour based on gender, which infringes the student's integrity within the framework of the University's activities (sexual harassment). Section 6, sub-section one, of the Equality Act (1991:433) states that an employer shall take steps to guard against and prevent an employee from being exposed to sexual harassment.

9 Doctoral Student Representative

Doctoral students can contact a Doctoral Student Representative with regard to any problems related to the course programme.

Published: Thu 14 Oct 2010. Modified: Fri 30 Dec 2016