Machine and Vehicle Systems

The Graduate School is organised within the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences.

Director of Studies: 
Mats Svensson


(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 abroad.
Applicants, who within Sweden or abroad have acquired equivalent qualifications, may also be admitted after special individual examination.
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.

4 Courses

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 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.

4.1 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.
More information:

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 transferred.

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 credits.

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.

7 Supervision

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 equivalent competence.
In the case that the research project is carried out in industry or similar, a supervisor should be appointed there.

8 Examinations

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.

Page manager Published: Wed 17 Jun 2020.