​The graduate school is organised within the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering.

Director of Graduate Studies: Krystyna Pietrzyk 
Administration: Lena Högberg​ 
Web administration: Lotta Särnbratt


(approved by the Pro-Vice-President on May 17, 2005. Ref. nr. C2005/604)
(revised September 1, 2007)
(revised February 27, 2013)

1. Description of subject and objectives of programme

1.1 Description of subject

The subject of the doctoral programme is Architecture. Architectural knowledge is the basis for giving form to the physical environment and its development. Architecture deals with artifacts and places, their spatial qualities and use as well as systems, processes and methods related to buildings, interior space, built environment and development. This includes
  • architectural form and technique, e.g. spatial design and architectonic expression, material and construction;
  • building design and urban design, and correspondences between these two fields;
  • development of the built environment, including regions, cities and systems of movement and traffic as well as housing and premises and their adherent issues on planning processes, management, use, accessibility etc.
  • architectural theory and history;
  • design theory and design methodology, including knowledge on and through design thinking;
Central questions within the subject of Architecture deal with architectural theory and history, design theories and design methodology, relations between man, artifact and physical environment, cultural aspect of architecture, and knowledge on sustainable development integrated in the totality of architectural work.

With its background in design thinking and methods used by architects, architectural research often deals with complex problems based in specific situations. This research mainly uses integrated methods related to traditions of the humanities, social sciences, technical and natural science, and design-based and artistic production of knowledge. Architectural research methodology includes case studies, simulations, investigative architectural projects, analyses and interpretations, reflection and argumentation.

The subject of the doctoral programme is named Architecture. The subject may also be more precisely defined according to the following alternative designations:
  • Architectural History and Architectural Theory
  • Design
  • Sustainable Development and Urban Development
  • Management and Building Processes
  • Building Technique and Materials
  • Housing
  • Built Environment and Renovation

1.2 Objectives for the doctoral programme

The objective of the doctoral programme in Architecture aims at educating architectural researchers as well as architects and other professional within the field of architecture to become qualified in research. The programme trains abilities to independently carry through and present research and advanced development work within the field of architecture. It aims to give highly qualified architectural research competence, including developing theories, methods and analyses, formulating research problems, and to compile, analyze, systematize, critically examine and produce knowledge supporting architectural professionals and actors within architecture and planning in a long-term sustainable development. Founded on design-based research, the doctoral programme also aims to develop innovation of ideas, design strategies and artifacts within the field of architecture.
The doctoral programme shall be executed with high demands on historical and theoretical awareness, relevance for problems of contemporary society, and with a strong perspective towards the future. The education keeps in active contact with essential regional and international building and planning issues, and aims at an active exchange of knowledge with connected research fields at Chalmers and Göteborg University, and to further develop collaboration with the Nordic and international state of the arts.
A close exchange between the doctoral programme, research, and undergraduate studies is an important condition for the research-integrated architectural pedagogy that is the profile of Chalmers Architecture in an international context. The doctoral programme is seen here as an important link between research, undergraduate education and society.

2. Qualification Requirements

To be accepted for the doctoral programme at the Department of Architecture, the applicant shall have a professional degree in Architecture according to requirements of the EU Directive (85/384/EEG). Applicants with other Master degrees must prove to have qualifications and degrees with a close connection to the research subject of the doctoral studies. In these cases, the research subject shall be given an appropriate designation (see 3). Applicants who do not fulfil the qualification requirements will be dealt with according to Chalmers general rules of procedure for doctoral studies.

3. Curriculum and designations of the doctoral programme

Doctoral study in Architecture is carried out in one of five integrated research profiles:
  • Form and Technology
  • Space and Activity
  • Conservation and Transformation
  • Urban Design and Development
  • Visualization
In dialogue with main supervisor and examiner each doctoral student compiles an individual syllabus.
The 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.

The education is divided into two parts. The first is completed with a licentiate degree, and the second with a doctoral degree according to the Chalmers Rules of Procedure.

The doctoral programme is constituted by department based courses, faculty courses, individual courses and research work with supervision, resulting in a text for licentiate examination and a doctoral thesis with a dissertation. The programme also requires that the doctoral student actively participates in seminars at the department and attends guest lectures etc relevant for the subject.

Doctoral students may also to a limited extent take part in the undergraduate education or other work relevant for the personal pedagogical and research development. See courses, below.

4. Courses

For the licentiate degree in Architecture courses are required to an extent of minimum 45 credits and for the doctoral degree courses are required to an extent of minimum 60 credits.

Generic and Transferable skills (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 optimal 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 the 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 September1, 2012.

The doctoral programme in Architecture has a basic set of three courses provided in sequence over one and a half years:
  • Forms of knowledge and research methods        (2 credits)
  • Academic writing in Architecture and Design        (2 credits)
  • Architectural theories and Design theories           (2 credits)
ResArc: Swedish Research School in Architecture, is carried out in four recurrent courses:
  • Tendencies in Architectural Research (7,5 + 2,5 hp)
    The course is about important and challenging issues in contemporary architecture research and provides opportunities for doctoral students to achieve an overview of trends, approaches and practices in contemporary.
  • Approaches (7,5 + 2,5 hp)
    The course is devoted to an introduction to and training in generic and transferable research skills specific for Architecture, Design and Arts. It consist of an orientation and positioning in broader knowledge landscapes, developing and arguing for own research design, assessing and disseminating scholarly assessment in relation to architecture in the making and in the making disciplines.
  • Philosophies (7,5 + 2,5 hp)
    The course investigate theoretical tools for a critical and projective societal analysis of architecture, planning and design by addressing key texts from philosophy and matching this with architectural theoretical material.
  • Communications (7,5 + 2,5 hp)
    The course focuses on how image and text production can communicate different kinds of cultural values in order to develop a dialogical, professional and political understanding of different communication devices. The seminars consist of theoretical material, lectures and design exercise in relation to individual thesis.
A suitable combination of courses is decided together with the examiner and main supervisor.
Minor pedagogical and corresponding work will be considered as courses and can be given a maximum of 7,5 credits in the research education; this will not affect the time of employment for the doctoral student. All pedagogical work that the doctoral student accomplishes shall be approved and documented by the main supervisor. Pedagogical work exceeding 7,5 credits shall, before they begin, be approved by the director of studies.

5. Dissertation

The subject of the dissertation can be of theoretical and/or experimental character with a basis in architectural design methodology.

The doctoral thesis may be constituted as a monograph or, preferably, as a collection of previously published articles by candidate, with summary. The licentiate thesis is preferably to be included as part of the doctoral thesis. The licentiate thesis as well as the doctoral thesis should preferably be written in English.

6. Requirements for the licentiate and doctoral degree

The licentiate degree (120 credits) requires a total amount of courses to the minimum of 45 credits including faculty courses, and an accepted research thesis of minimum 60 credits.

The doctoral degree (240 credits) requires a total amount of courses to the minimum of 60 credits including faculty courses, and an accepted research thesis of minimum 165 credits

7. Supervision

Supervision includes consulting connected to the thesis work, supervision connected to courses, and general supervision concerning planning, organization etc. of the research.

The main supervisor has the overall responsibility for the supervision. Within courses, the teacher in charge has the responsibility for supervising included exercises and assignments.

The main supervisor shall have academic competence of associate professor (docent) and be employed at, or be closely connected to the Department of Architecture at Chalmers. Exceptions may be admitted by the director of studies.

8. Examination

Examination of courses shall be specified in the course brief. Results shall be given the marks of Passed or Not Passed.

8.1 Examination, licentiate degree

In order to obtain the licentiate degree, the graduate student must carry out research work and write a licentiate thesis which describes the work. The licentiate thesis may have the form of a monograph, or of a compilation with a number of scientifically reviewed articles/conference papers. In the latter case, these articles are to be connected by a so-called ’kappa’ which interrelates the contributions as well as discusses and draws conclusions from the entire work. The individual articles may have been written together with the main supervisor, another supervisor or other persons. The licentiate thesis should maintain such a level that articles/conference papers (or revised parts of the monograph) could be accepted for publication in an international scientific journal/ conference proceedings with a referee procedure. The licentiate thesis must be presented in English or Swedish at an open seminar. At the licentiate seminar, the thesis is reviewed by an independent opponent appointed by the examiner and approved by the director of the Graduate school. The licentiate thesis is assessed by the examiner, and given the mark Passed or Not Passed.

A licentiate thesis dissertation may be replaced by a 50% seminar with examination of research work corresponding to 50% of a completed doctoral degree, i.e. that licentiate level of competence is shown. The difference to a regular licentiate examination is that at the 50% seminar, a finished licentiate thesis is not presented and the doctoral student will not receive the degree. For all doctoral students, who do not wish to take out a licentiate degree, a 50% seminar is strongly recommended. The seminar can be proposed by the examiner and is decided by the director of the Graduate school.

8.2 Examination, doctoral degree

At the latest five months before the planned disputation date, there shall be a final seminar where an external, independent and highly qualified opponent will review the thesis work of the doctoral student and give advice for the completion of the thesis. At the final seminar, an academically qualified, independent researcher from within the department should also participate in reviewing the thesis work. The reviewer/opponent at the final seminar may be included in the evaluation committee for the thesis.

For each doctoral thesis dissertation, the staff meeting will propose members of the evaluation committee, which will then be decided by the head of the doctoral programme. The evaluation committee will judge the thesis and the dissertation with the mark passed or not passed.

9. Designation of degree

The degrees in the doctoral programme are named licentiate and doctoral degree in Architecture. Depending on the graduate degree, subject etc., the licentiate/doctoral degree in Architecture may be more precisely defined as above according to 1.1

Name and designation of the degree will in each case be proposed by the examiner and decided by the director of studies.

10. Other instructions

General rules of procedure other than specified here are regulated by Chalmers Rules of Procedure for the doctoral programme, Dnr C 2005/93.

Page manager Published: Wed 17 Jun 2020.