Energy and Environment


The graduate school is organised within the departments of Space, Earth and Environment, Technology Management and Economics, Electrical Engineering.

  • Electric Power Engineering
  • Energy and Material Systems
  • Energy Conversion
  • Environmental Systems Analysis
  • Industrial Energy Systems
  • Physical Resource Theory

Directors of Graduate StudiesMartin Persson (Physical resource theory), Magnus Rydén (Energy conversion, Energy and material systems, Industrial Energy Systems), Maria Ljunggren Söderman (Environmental Systems Analysis), Jonas Fredriksson (Electric Power Engineering)

: Robin Garnham


(approved by the Pro-Vice-President on September 15, 2005. Ref. nr. C2005/1045)
(revised April 14, 2008)
(revised April 09, 2013)
(approved by the Vice-President on April 22nd 2015. Ref. nr. C 2015-0623)

1 Subject Description and Goals of the Graduate Programme

Research at the Graduate School of Energy and Environment covers a wide variety of fields in energy, as well as the environment and sustainable development, from a global scale to those of industry, buildings and products. The range of fields includes the following:
  • Experimental and theoretical research in energy technology, and
  • Development, application and evaluation of methods and tools for the analysis of technical systems, with respect to the environment, sustainable development and energy.
The aim of the research programme coincides with that of Chalmers in that those awarded an advanced degree shall be (within their discipline) able to:
  • Formulate research problems,
  • Conduct research according to scientific methods and contextualize the results,
  • Critically assess both one’s own and others’ research,
  • Cooperate effectively in interdisciplinary research groups by maintaining an open attitude to other scientific fields,
  • Convey knowledge in a pedagogical way,
  • Practice professional ethics in research, and
  • Lead research work.

2 General Requirements for Admission (Prerequisites)

In general, students admitted to a programme of study for a doctoral degree should have a university degree, comprising at least four years of study (240 credits), with a major emphasis on science or technology; in addition, a degree project (thesis), or the equivalent, shall be a part of the university work and represent at least one term of  study (30 credits). For applicants with university education outside Sweden (foreign students), corresponding requirements apply. What specialization of the undergraduate education qualifies an applicant for admission is influenced by the competence required for the particular research project on which the student is to work. In addition, there are other specific prerequisites for some specializations, see Section 4.

3 Plan and Structure of the course of study

The course of study includes research work, completion of courses and participation in seminars. Doctoral students are also expected, during their education, to present their research at national and international conferences of various types.
The programme of study covers two years (120 credits), for the Licentiate degree, and two additional years for the doctoral degree, a total of four years (240 credits) of full time study. Doctoral students may be required to do departmental work (most often teaching), however not more than a maximum equivalent of 20%, in which case the total time for the Ph.D. degree is five years. After the first year of study an assessment is made, which can result in that the studies are discontinued.
Course credits from previous university studies can sometimes be accepted as part of the course work in the graduate studies, to the extent of up to 30 credits (equivalent to one term), provided such courses are a part of the research preparatory coursework in a master’s degree programme. The consideration of whether to accept that credit should be given for course points from the master’s level is made on an individual basis, and the decision lies with the examiner.

4 Specializations

The Graduate School of Energy and Environment encompasses the seven specializations described below.

4.1 Electric Power Engineering

Description of specialization
The primary aim of the Electric Power Engineering programme is to acquire a deepened understanding of the complex systems, components and equipment, which generate, transmit, distribute and use electrical energy. Both large scale (GW) and small scale (W) energy conversion are of interest. The growing global need for electricity makes great demands on understanding and controlling the existing systems, components and equipment, as well as on developing and understanding new systems that use renewable energy resources. The efficient use of electricity is also an important part of the specialization.
The Electric Power Engineering graduate study programme offers a wide knowledge of the major aspects of the field, coupled with specialization by research in various branches of the subject. The course of study has strong interdisciplinary connections both within and outside the basic field. Research on electrical systems, electrical drive systems, renewable sources of energy, and quality of electricity is closely linked to fields such as power electronics and signal analysis, as well as techno-economic, statistical and environmental assessment.
Admission as a doctoral student normally requires a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering. Other possible fields are engineering physics, mechanical engineering or an equivalent non-Swedish education at the Master of Science level (or the equivalent of 240 credits, sometimes known as a Bachelor of Science), which requires the approval of an examiner.
Specific course requirements
This specialization has no specific course requirements beyond those that apply for the Graduate School of Energy and Environment.

4.2 Energy Conversion

Description of specialization
The specialization of Energy Conversion encompasses technology for conversion of energy to power or heat, with emphasis on aspects of combustion. In addition, problems relating to power and heating plants in connection with thermal energy, combustion and the environment are studied.
The aim of graduate study in the specialization of energy conversion is the same as for the Graduate School of Energy and Environment, but in application to energy conversion.
Admission as a doctoral student normally requires a M.Sc. degree in mechanical engineering, engineering physics, chemical engineering (with or without physics), or the equivalent. However, applicants who have completed degrees in other fields can sometimes be admitted after an individual evaluation.
Course requirements
This specialization has no specific course requirements besides those applicable to the Graduate School of Energy and Environment.

4.3 Energy and Material systems

The specialization of Energy and Material Systems includes the structure of technical systems, taking into consideration all relevant factors, such as economic aspects, provision of primary sources of energy, development of energy demand, environmental consequences, and reliability. Particular attention is given, with the help of computer based system models for techno-economic analysis or optimization, to complete energy systems on global, national and municipality levels, or to material handling systems, predominantly waste disposal systems.
The aim of the Energy and Material Systems specialization is the same as for the Graduate School of Energy and Environment in general, but in application to energy and material systems. The research methods applied are mainly those of systems analysis.
Admission as a doctoral student normally requires a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering, engineering physics, chemical engineering (with or without physics), or the equivalent; however, applicants who have completed degrees in other subjects may be admitted after an individual evaluation.
Course requirements
This specialization has no specific course requirements besides those applicable to the Graduate School of Energy and Environment.

4.4 Physical Resource Theory

Description of specialization
Physical resource theory comprises theories, models and methods to describe, in physical and economic terms, energy and material conversion in societal and natural systems. For example, models are generated to describe how present and future energy and material use can be developed to achieve lower environmental impact.
In addition to the goals of the graduate school, this specialization aims to familiarize students with concepts and theories in the fields of natural science, economics and systems science, and based on these, with research methodology in the field of physical resource theory.
This specialization has no specific prerequisites besides those that apply to the Graduate School of Energy and Environment.
Specific course requirements
Specific course requirements are decided in consultation with the student’s supervisor and examiner. It is strongly recommended that the programme of study should include courses in the following subjects: industrial ecology, energy systems, microeconomics and policy instruments, global environmental change, optimization theory, systems analysis, energy physics, and technical development.

4.5 Industrial Energy Systems

Description of specialization and aim
Doctoral studies with the specialization in Industrial Energy Systems aims to deepen knowledge in the following branches of study:
  • Industrial energy systems and process integration: Development and use of process integration methods and tools for studying rational usage of energy in industrial energy systems, and how energy improvements to such systems can be made. Examples of considered energy system improvements include fuel switching, heat recovery through optimal design and retrofit of heat exchanger networks, and process integration of both key unit operations (e.g. distillation and evaporation) and efficient energy conversion technologies (such as heat pumps, combined heat and power, and energyplexes for polygeneration). Special attention is paid to process integration aspects of retrofitting existing industrial systems. Process integration is also studied in relation to major changes in the pulp and paper industry, such as black liquor gasification and closure of bleaching plants.
  • Impact of alternative energy system configurations on global warming: Development and use of methods to identify the optimal use of different energy technologies to reduce global warming. Special emphasis is placed on studying the way future energy policy instruments will influence these optimal solutions.
  • Future potential of alternative technologies in district heating and cooling networks. Particular emphasis is placed on combined heat and power plants and heat pumping.
  • Experimental investigation of critical components of energy systems: special emphasis is placed for example on black liquor evaporation as well as the evaporation and condensation of cooling media (especially mixtures).
Admission as a doctoral student requires a M.Sc. in chemical engineering, chemical engineering with physics, mechanical engineering or other equivalent qualification.
Course requirements
This specialization has no specific course requirements besides those applicable to the Graduate School of Energy and Environment.

4.6 Environmental Systems Analysis

Description of specialization
Environmental Systems Analysis comprises the development of systems analysis methods for environmental assessment of a variety of technical systems, the application and evaluation of such methods, and studies of how the methods are used, for example in decision making, management and communication, by the various actors in society. Examples of environmental systems analysis methods include life cycle assessment, sustainable development indicators, environmental risk assessment, environmental assessment of technical change, and environmental assessment of organizing. Environmental systems analysis methods are general in the sense that they can be applied to a wide range of technical fields. The methods are distinguished from each other by their investigation of dissimilar aspects of technology and its environmental impact.
In addition to the aims of the Graduate School of Energy and Environment in general, this doctoral programme of study aims to deepen understanding of the field, with significant depth in a selected aspect of environmental systems analysis, as well as breadth in the sense of knowledge of the field as a whole and its relationship to other fields of study.
This specialization has no specific prerequisites besides those applicable to the Graduate School of Energy and Environment.
Course requirements
This specialization has no specific course requirements beyond those applicable to the Graduate School of Energy and Environment.

5 Courses

Different categories of compulsory courses exist at Energy and Environment: courses that are required for the specific specialization (see previous Section) and courses taken from the area of Generic and Transferable skills (GTS).
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.

6 Licentiate thesis and Doctoral thesis

6.1 Licentiate thesis

Research work equivalent to three full terms (90 credits) shall be reported in a thesis. The Licentiate thesis is presented and evaluated at a seminar.

6.2 Doctoral thesis

The Doctoral thesis shall summarize research work equivalent to three years (180 credits). The thesis normally comprises an introduction and summary of appended articles which have been published in international scientific journals or are of equivalent quality. The doctoral thesis may also take the form of a monograph. The monograph shall be of the same quality as that necessary for publication in international, peer reviewed journals. The research reported in the Doctoral thesis is reviewed and assessed at a public defence.

7 Requirements for degrees

7.1 Licentiate degree

Requirements for the Licentiate degree include two years of full-time study (120 credits), of which 30 credits (equivalent to one term) is devoted to graduate level courses and 90 credits (equivalent to three terms) are devoted to research and writing the Licentiate thesis.

7.2 Doctoral degree

The requirements for the Doctoral degree include 240 credits, equivalent to four years of full-time study, of which 60 credits (equivalent to one year) is devoted to graduate level courses and 180 credits (three years) to research and writing the Doctoral thesis. (These totals include the credits acquired for the Licentiate degree.)

8 Supervision

A graduate student shall have a head supervisor and an examiner. In addition, the student shall receive guidance from one or more assistant supervisors. The assistant supervisors shall have completed a Ph.D. or have equivalent qualification. The group guiding a doctoral student also includes the director of studies for the research school as well as other people with an appropriate background supporting the student.
In addition to advice on the scientific work, the supervision shall include planning and follow-up of research work, course work and other activities, support in publishing, and follow-up discussions.
Questions regarding this graduate school should be directed to the directors of graduate studies at the Department of Energy and Environment:
  • Martin Persson (Specialization Physical Resource Theory)
  • Magnus Rydén (Specializations Energy Conversion, Energy and Material Systems and Industrial Energy Systems)
  • Maria Ljunggren Söderman (Specialization Environmental Systems Analysis)
  • Jonas Fredriksson (Specialization Electric Power Engineering)

Page manager Published: Tue 19 Oct 2021.