Computer Science and Engineering

The graduate school is organised within the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.

Director of Graduate Studies: Wolfgang Ahrendt.


(approved by the Pro-Vice-President on 11 December 2007. Ref. nr. C2007/1147)
(revised 29 October 2014)

1 Subject Matter and Goals

The aim of the graduate research education is to give the student fundamental understanding of the various areas of Computer Science and Engineering, and a broad understanding of current research issues and practical applications, with in-depth insight into one or more fields, and skills in research methodology. The licentiate program aims to make the student capable of independent participation in research and development work. The doctoral program aims to make the student capable of critically and independently planning, carrying out, and presenting work in research and development.

1.1 Fields of Specialisation

The graduate research education is in Computer Science and Engineering, possibly with one of the following specialisations:
  • Bioinformatics
  • Computing Science
  • Computer Engineering
  • Software Engineering
  • Language Technology

2 Prerequisite Qualifications and Knowledge

The basic qualification for admission to our graduate research education is a master's degree in Computer Engineering, Computer Science or in a related subject ("civilingenjörsexamen" or "fil kand" in Sweden) (minimum 240 credits). Equivalent knowledge acquired by other means will also count as qualification. Students with a base exam ("grundexamen") from the faculty of mathematics and natural sciences or equivalent can be admitted for graduate research education at Chalmers.

3 Organization and Structure

The PhD degree requires 240 higher education credits, and the licentiate degree 120 higher education credits. These correspond to 4 years and 2 years respectively of full time study. The graduate research studies consist of:
  • preparatory courses (if necessary)
  • mandatory courses
  • general courses
  • individual studies
  • participation in research seminars and guest lectures
  • research or development leading to a scientific dissertation
Teaching is by supervision, lectures, and seminars. The student participates in scientific activities through attendance at seminars and guest lectures even if these are not directly related to any part of the formal course.

4 Courses

4.1 Preparatory Courses

These courses ensure a solid background in fundamental areas of Computer Science and Engineering, and help the student choose an area of specialization for the dissertation. Which courses to take, and how many, is determined by the student together with the supervisor and examiner. The credits earned in these courses are not part of the mandatory course points for a licentiate (30 higher education credits) degree, respectively, for a PhD (60 higher education credits) degree.

4.2 Mandatory Courses

Doctoral students admitted after September 1, 2012, are required to take 15 credit points from the area of Generic and Transferable Skills during their graduate studies. Of these, 9 credit points are mandatory for the licentiate degree, and another 6 credit points for the PhD degree.
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.

4.3 General Courses

The graduate school offers a set of courses of more general nature. Graduate courses offered by other departments at Chalmers may be included as general courses, provided that they cover topics relevant to Computer Science and Engineering.

4.4 Individual Studies

The examiner and the supervisor together with the doctoral student determine individual study courses. These courses have a focus on the student’s specific research topic, and may include graduate courses given at Chalmers as well as courses given elsewhere. Undergraduate courses may also be included provided that a grade of 4 or higher has been achieved. To take an undergraduate course, the graduate student must apply to the responsible teacher before the course begins.

4.5 Course Requirements

A licentiate degree requires minimum 30 higher education credits obtained through courses, of which minimum 21 higher education credits must be from general courses and individual studies.
A PhD degree requires minimum 60 higher education credits obtained through courses, of which minimum 45 higher education credits must be from general courses and individual studies.
The course requirements are summarized in the following table:
                                                                    Lic       PhD
General Courses + Individual Studies     21         45
Chalmers Mandatory Courses                    9         15
Total Course Requirements                   30         60

5 Dissertation

5.1 Licentiate Thesis

For the licentiate degree, the student must carry out independent work, write a thesis describing this work, and present the thesis at a seminar. The thesis is graded Passed ("Godkänd") or Not passed ("Icke godkänd").

5.2 Doctoral Dissertation

For the PhD degree the student must write a scientific (doctoral) dissertation, and defend it at a public examination. The dissertation should have the quality required for publication in its entirety or in summary in a scientific journal of high reputation. It is graded Passed ("Godkänd") or Not passed ("Icke godkänd"). The grade takes into account the content as well as the defence of the dissertation.

6 Requirements for the Degree

6.1 Licentiate Degree

The requirements for the licentiate degree comprise 120 higher education credits, of which minimum 30 higher education credits are acquired in courses and maximum 90 higher education credits in the licentiate thesis.

6.2 Doctoral Degree

The requirements for the doctoral degree comprise 240 higher education credits, of which minimum 60 higher education credits are acquired in courses, and maximum 180 higher education credits in the PhD thesis.

7 Supervision

Each graduate research school student is entitled to supervision: full time students to four years of supervision for the doctoral degree, and to two years for the licentiate degree; part time students obtain the same amount distributed over a proportionally longer time period.
When admitted the student is assigned a supervisor group, consisting of an examiner, a main supervisor, and one or more assistant supervisors. The examiner and main supervisor should not be the same person.
In the beginning of the studies, the examiner, the supervisors, and the student together work out an individual study plan for the student's path of education. The study plan should be signed and handed to the director of graduate studies within three months of admitting the student. Each student has a follow-up group which, in addition to the main and assistant supervisors, includes at least one additional person, usually within the subject of the dissertation. This group meets the student at least once per year to discuss progress towards the degree. After each follow-up meeting, a revised and signed study plan is handed to the director of graduate studies.

8 Examination of Knowledge

Courses are followed by written and/or oral examinations. The student's performance is graded Passed ("Godkänd") or Not passed ("Icke godkänd"). The examiner decides the credits and final grade for each course, and also decides the grade for the licentiate thesis. A doctoral dissertation is graded by a committee, which is specially appointed for each thesis defence. Three months before the planned date of defence a draft of the dissertation must be submitted to the vice head of department for doctoral education and to the members of the student's follow-up group.

9 Further Directives

With full time study, a doctoral degree is normally calculated to take four years, and a licentiate degree two years. The student must present his or her study results and future plans regularly. The director of studies regularly follows up on the individual study plan.

Page manager Published: Wed 17 Jun 2020.