The Graduate School is organised within the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences.
(approved by the Pro–Vice–President on May 17, 2005. Ref. No. C 2005/604)
(revised September 6, 2007)
(revised September 9, 2010)
(revised April 16, 2012)
(revised January 22, 2013)
(revised February 1, 2016)
1 Topics and aims
Research at the Research School for Machine and Vehicle Systems is divided into four areas:
- Adaptive Systems
- Vehicle Aero Dynamics
- Vehicle Dynamics
- Traffic Safety
The Adaptive Systems research involves biological computational methods
and their application in various areas, in particular autonomous
vehicles and robots. Vehicle Aero Dynamics has focus on the dynamic
forces acting on the vehicle, in particular drag and lift forces. Sound
generation, cooling and dirt deposition are other important areas. The
Vehicle Dynamics research is oriented toward the dynamic performance of
vehicles exposed to various driving conditions. Traffic Safety covers a
wide research area. This includes increasing our understanding of road
users’ behaviour, why crashes happen, safety aspects of autonomous
driving, injury mechanisms, human body modelling, and human tolerance
levels in crash. Such research could be used to support the development
of crash prevention systems and protective systems for all road users
The research programme at Machine and Vehicle Systems uses advanced
and applied research methods. The objective is to give knowledge and
skills beyond that at the Master’s level, both in terms of depth and
breadth. The programme offers both qualitative and quantitative
knowledge and skills in scientific engineering problem solving. The
student shall carry out theoretical or experimental investigations in
the given topic. The development of experimental techniques and
mathematical models is an essential component of the work.
After completing the research programme in Machine and Vehicle Systems, the student will be well prepared for:
- An independent research activity of high quality within the field.
- Other professional work (e.g., in research and development) in a variety of areas, in national and international industry.
2 Eligibility and prerequisites
Admission to the Research School Machine and Vehicle Systems
requires a university degree from a higher education institution in
Sweden corresponding to a minimum of 240 higher education credits in a
relevant field of study, or an equivalent degree from a university
Applicants, who within Sweden or abroad have acquired equivalent
qualifications, may also be admitted after special individual
With the support of the main supervisor, the examiner shall judge
the qualifications of the applicant and his or her ability to succeed in
the research programme. Previous academic performance is a major
criterion in selecting applicants.
3 Programme design
Each doctoral student will have an examiner, a main supervisor, and
one or more co-supervisor(s). The research project is typically carried
out in parallel with course study and teaching activities.
The main supervisor is responsible for setting up an individual
study plan together with the doctoral student, before the start of the
graduate studies. The plan should contain a list of planned courses and a
short outline of the proposed research project. Twice every year a
follow–up and revision of the individual study plan should be made.
The doctoral student shall attend the seminars held at the Graduate
School throughout the programme. Furthermore, at least once per year
work on the research and associated literature studies should be
presented at the Graduate School seminar.
The PhD student should also be involved in the teaching activities of the undergraduate education.
In the mandatory course part of the doctoral programme, the student
shall follow the course plan defined for their research topic. The
courses consist of compulsory courses for the licentiate degree,
compulsory courses for the doctoral degree, and elective 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. 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. Of these, 9 credit points are
mandatory for the licentiate degree, and another 6 credit points for the
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.
4.1 Courses for licentiate degree
The following courses are compulsory for the licentiate degree
- Mandatory courses from GTS package (9 credit points). List of mandatory GTS courses can be seen from the GTS-website.
- General introduction for doctoral students, (0 credit points), common for all PhD students at Chalmers.
- Introductory course at the Department of Applied Mechanics (1.5
credit points), common for all PhD students at Applied Mechanics.
- Graduate school (MVS) seminar course part A (1.5 credit points)
4.2 Courses for doctoral degree
The following courses are compulsory to the doctoral degree:
4.3 Elective courses
The elective courses are usually specific PhD courses offered by
the department and other departments at Chalmers. National and
international courses occur as well. Courses from the Master’s
programmes may also be included.
4.4 Transfer of credits
Credits from relevant courses in undergraduate studies may be
transferred to the graduate programme. Students with at least 270 higher
education credits from their undergraduate studies may transfer a
maximum of 30 higher education credits. No credits may be transferred
from undergraduate studies amounting to 240 higher education credits. A
gradual system of credit transferral will be applied between 240 and 270
higher education credits. In these cases the examiner will determine
which courses may be counted and the number of credits that may be
5 Thesis and dissertation
5.1 Licentiate thesis
The licentiate thesis is written in English. It is usually composed
of a summary report and a set of annexed scientific publications. The
level of quality shall be such that the contents is expected to become
accepted in a reviewed scientific journal.
5.2 Doctoral thesis
The thesis is normally written as a compilation thesis and the goal
shall be that at least two of the papers in the thesis will be
published in peer reviewed scientific journals. The thesis must be
written in English. The Licentiate thesis should be incorporated as a
natural part of the final dissertation.
6 Degree requirements
6.1 Licentiate degree (120 higher education credits)
The Licentiate degree requires course work amounting to 45 higher
education credits, of which at least 30 higher education credits are
earned in Graduate School courses or other higher education institution.
For the latter, the examiner decides whether the credits may be counted
in. The scientific thesis corresponds to at least 67.5 higher education
6.2 Doctoral degree (240 higher education credits)
The Doctoral degree requires course work amounting to at least 67.5
higher education credits. These credits include those earned in courses
required for the Licentiate. The scientific thesis corresponds to at
least 165 higher education credits.
Supervision covers general advice on the organisation and planning
of studies, general advice on the selection of courses and specific
advice on the writing of the thesis.
The examiner is one of the professors at the department. There
should be a main supervisor and at least one assistant/co- supervisor
for the doctoral student. The main supervisor should be a professor or a
docent. The assistant/co- supervisor should have a PhD degree or
In the case that the research project is carried out in industry or similar, a supervisor should be appointed there.
The student shall attend written examinations when applicable.
Course examinations are otherwise carried out as written reports,
seminars or oral examinations. Examinations in external courses are
carried out by the course organiser.
9 Degree denotation
The licentiate and doctoral degrees have the subject denotation Machine and Vehicle Systems.
10 Further Directives
See also Study Handbook, Rules of procedure – Doctoral Programmes, and policy documents.