Complex Systems

Note! No new admissions are made to this graduate school.

The graduate school is organised within the Department of Space, Earth and Environment.
Director of Graduate Studies: Kristian Lindgren


(approved by the Pro-Vice-President on September 15, 2005. Ref. nr. C2005/1045)
(revised April 14, 2008)
(revised April 18, 2013)

1 Subject Description and Goals of the Graduate Program

1.1 Subject description

Complex systems in nature and society can be studied and simulated using methods and models developed within physics, biology, mathematics and computer science. These fields provide tools that can improve our understanding of complex phenomena in nature as well as in human society, for example, in biological, technical, and societal systems. At the same time, complex systems in nature have inspired the creation of methods for information processing like artificial neural networks and genetic programming. Graduate students in complex systems may choose the direction of their studies based on their academic background and interest.

1.2 Aim of the graduate program

The graduate education in complex systems aims at providing the graduate student with
  1. good general knowledge on complex systems in nature, society and technology, especially within the area of the chosen focus for the studies,
  2. general knowledge on the development of concepts and theories in the natural sciences and computer science, and knowledge of research methodology based on these within the subject area,
  3. competence and experience in choosing relevant scientific research questions within the subject area, and to apply theory and research methodology to these,
  4. knowledge on industrial and societal applications of complex systems, and proficiency in conveying knowledge about the research area to the general public.

2 Eligibility for admission

The requirements for admission to the graduate programme are university studies corresponding to the level of the Swedish exam ”civilingenjör” or Master of Science, with a direction of relevance for the graduate studies in complex systems, and a thesis project corresponding to at least half a year of studies.
The student should in other respects possess capabilities that are considered necessary for the education. Each student will formulate an individual study plan in discussion with the supervisor, based on the academic background of the student and choice of specific subject area.

3 Organization of the graduate program

The graduate programme comprises research work, the accomplishment of courses, and participation in seminars. The student shall also present research results at scientific workshops and conferences.
The graduate programme is 120 higher education credits for the licentiate degree, and 240 higher education credits for the doctoral degree, corresponding to four years of full time studies. It is common that the student also take part in other duties at the department, primarily teaching, at most 20% of the time, in which case the graduate programme to the doctoral degree is extended to five years. After the first year an evaluation is done, which in case of insufficient progress may result in the termination of the studies.
Course credits from previous studies on the master level may be included up to 30 higher education credits. The decision is made by the examiner on an individual basis.

4 Courses

The course requirement is 60 higher education credits, divided on:
i) Courses within Generic and transferable skills (GTS)
ii) Philosophy of Science, at least 3 higher education credits
iii)  Selection of courses in complex systems, in total at least 30 higher education credits, for example:
Artificial neural networks,
Chaos and dynamical systems,
Simulation of complex systems,
Information theory for complex systems,
Evolutionary computation,
Computational physics,
Autonomous agents,
Computational biology.
iii) Elective courses (chosen in discussion with the examiner)
GTS aims to give doctoral students at Chalmers professional and individual development, and is a program of activities/courses not directly linked to the respective areas of research. The graduate student is required to take at least 15 credit points out of the GTS program before receiving a PhD degree. Chalmers offers a range of activities/courses as part of the program.
9 credit points in the area of GTS are expected to be obtained before the licentiate degree examination. Another 6 credit points are expected to be obtained before PhD degree examination. Mandatory courses for the licentiate degree are: "Teaching, Learning & Evaluation”, ”Research Ethics & Sustainable Development” and ”Career planning – Your Personal Leadership”. 1,5 credit points are optional (from GTS activities/courses). The 6 credit points after licentiate degree are also optional and selected according to the student´s need.
The optional activities within GTS do not necessarily have to be taken from Chalmers’ central activities or courses. The activities can be obtained from other providers, after suggestion from the examiner or supervisor, and approval by the deputy head of department in consultation with the director of studies of the research school. As an example, GTS could include related activities or courses given at the department.
In addition to the courses within Generic and Transferable Skills, the student is also required to participate in the introduction day for doctoral students (before the licentiate examination, at latest). Further requirements are an oral popular science presentation to be performed prior to the PhD thesis defence and a written popular science presentation to be published on the back of the PhD thesis.
The 15 credit points in GTS are mandatory for doctoral students admitted after September 1, 2012.

5 Thesis

5.1 Licentiate thesis

Research work corresponding to 90 higher education credits shall be presented in a licentiate thesis. The licentiate thesis is examined and discussed in a special seminar.

5.2 Doctoral thesis

The doctoral thesis shall present research corresponding to 180 higher education credits. The thesis could either be a monograph or a thesis consisting of a summary followed by a number of papers published in international scientific journals, or papers of such a quality that they could be so published. The research presented in the thesis is examined in a public dissertation.

6 Requirements for degrees

6.1 Licentiate degree

The requirement for the licentiate degree is 120 higher education credits, of which 30 higher education credits are courses in the graduate education and 90 higher education credits are given for the thesis.

6.2  Doctoral degree

The requirement for the doctoral degree is 240 higher education credits, of which 60 higher education credits are courses in the graduate education and 180 higher education credits are given for the thesis.

7 Supervision

The graduate student shall have a supervisor and an examiner. In addition to this, the student will have guidance by one or more assistant supervisors. The assistant supervisors shall have a PhD degree or the corresponding competence in a subject of relevance for the studies.
Apart from guidance in the scientific work, the supervision shall include planning and follow-up of the studies, and support in the process of publication of results.

Page manager Published: Wed 25 Aug 2021.