The graduate school is organized within the Department of Physics at Chalmers University of Technology.
Director of Graduate Studies: Jan Swenson, Christophe Demaziere
Administrator for Graduate studies: Anna Lindqvist
(Approved by the Vice President on February 17, 2006, Ref. nr.
C2006/178; revised April 7, 2008; revised February 14, 2013, Dnr
F2016/0347; revised March 29, 2018, Dnr F2018/0086.)
March 29, 2018, by the Vice Head of Department, Quality and
Infrastructure of Graduate Education, after consultation with the Vice
President of Research Education.
This syllabus is valid for doctoral students admitted to the graduate school in Physics after March 29, 2018.
1 Subject description and goals of the graduate programme
The graduate school in Physics is based on experimental,
theoretical and computational physics. The main goal of this
educational programme is to provide fundamental knowledge, practical
skills and professional experience, at the highest international level,
necessary for the individual to become a leader in physics in academia
or industry. The doctoral students work on widely different research
topics. The graduate school offers, therefore, an individually designed
education which is unique for each student. In addition to the common
goals of all graduate schools at Chalmers, the graduate school in
Physics has the following specific goals for the students:
- Acquire an advanced knowledge of physics.
- Develop an analytical ability to apply acquired knowledge, to
analyze and interpret data and to synthesize results and then decide how
- To push the frontline of research in a particular area of
specialization evidenced by scientific publications, conference
contributions and patents.
- Become creative in identifying new promising areas of physics.
- Develop generic and transferable skills of value for all types of postgraduate working positions.
2 Admissions/General requirements
A university degree (minimum 240 credit points) or a Master of
Science degree in Physics or a strongly related topic (such as
Engineering Physics or other physics related subjects), where most of
the basic courses in physics have been taken, is required. In detail
this implies that the student should have documented knowledge (i.e.
passed courses) in at least three of the following eight areas of
physics: classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, electromagnetism,
condensed matter physics, subatomic physics, thermodynamics, statistical
physics and optics. Good working knowledge of English is also
The decision about admission to the graduate school is
made by the Vice Head of Department in charge of the graduate education,
and/or the Head of Department, after a recommendation has been provided
by the director of studies at the graduate school.
3 The structure of the graduate programme
The department carries out research programmes in practical and
theoretical aspects of physics. Within this broad framework, doctoral
students will focus their research on well-defined research problems.
The students follow an individual study plan under the guidance of a
main supervisor, co-supervisors and an examiner. The programme of study
includes research work, courses and the completion of a licantiate
thesis and a doctoral thesis.
Requirements: 30 credit points for a licentiate degree and 60 credit points for a doctoral degree.
Courses taken and passed at the master level prior to admission
to the graduate school are accepted as graduate courses up to a maximum
of 30 credit points, provided that the doctoral student has at least a
total of 270 credit points from pre-doctoral educational degrees.
Students who have 240 credit points from pre-doctoral
educational degrees are not allowed to include courses taken and passed
prior to admission to the graduate school in their graduate course
programme. When the admitted student has between 240 and 270 credit
points from pre-doctoral educational degrees there is a gradual
transition from including zero credit points to including 30 credit
points in the graduate course programme.
The final decision on which master level courses and associated
number of credit points that may be included in the graduate course
programme is, in each case, made by the examiner. The student must, in
all cases, have passed these courses with the grade 4 or 5 (or
a) Courses in physics
A documented knowledge of at least five of the following eight
areas of physics is needed in order to obtain a doctoral degree in
Physics: classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, electromagnetism,
condensed matter physics, subatomic physics, thermodynamics, statistical
physics and optics.
b) Mandatory courses and activities
Doctoral students admitted after September 1, 2012, are required to
take 15 credit points from the area of Generic and Transferable Skills
(GTS) during their post-graduate studies. Nine credit points are
mandatory for the licentiate degree. Of these, 1.5 credit point is
elective from the GTS courses. Six GTS credit points are mandatory
after the licentiate degree in order to obtain the PhD degree. These
credit points are also elective, and courses are selected according to
the student´s need.
Mandatory courses and activities for the licentiate degree:
- GFOK015, General Introduction for Doctoral Students (0 credit points).
- GFOK010, Career planning – Your Personal Leadership (GTS, 1.5 credit point).
- GFOK020, Teaching, Learning and Evaluation (GTS, 3 credit points).
- GFOK105, Sustainable Development: Values, Technology in Society, and the Researcher (GTS, 3 credit points).
- One elective GTS course (1.5 credit point).
Mandatory GTS activities for the PhD degree:
- The mandatory courses and activities for the licentiate degree (9 credit points).
- Courses from the GTS activities open to doctoral students and young researchers at Chalmers (6 credit points).
- GFOK070, Oral popular science presentation (0 credit points).
- Written popular science summary, to be published on the back of the PhD thesis (0 credit points).
The main aim of the courses in the area of GTS is to give
doctoral students at Chalmers professional and individual development in
areas not directly linked to the respective areas of research. 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 main
supervisor and approval by the Vice Head of Department, in consultation
with the director of studies at the graduate school.
5 Thesis supervision
It is the responsibility of the main supervisor to see that an
individual study plan, with details of all the planned activities, is
established. The doctoral student is responsible for preparing the
study plan and keeping it updated. A review of the individual study
plan, and the progress of the student, is made at least once a year at a
follow-up meeting with the director of studies at the graduate school.
The doctoral student, the supervisors and the examiner should
participate in this meeting. The main supervisor and the examiner are
responsible for upholding high international standards on the quantity
and quality of the research work and its presentation in the licentiate
and doctoral theses.
6 Licentiate and doctoral theses
a) Licentiate thesis
The general rules for licentiate theses at Chalmers shall be followed in
all matters. The thesis shall be written in English. The contents and
writing shall conform with the rules and requirements for publishing
scientific articles in recognised international journals. The preferred
thesis format consists of an introduction followed by a compilation of
two papers that are either published in, or accepted for publication in,
or in manuscript form (approved by the examiner) for submission to, an
international scientific journal with a peer review system. The
examiner decides when the thesis is ready for a public presentation.
The presentation of the thesis shall take place in a seminar open to the
public, and in the presence of an external reviewer and the examiner.
The examiner evaluates the licentiate thesis and its presentation with
the grades pass or fail.
b) Doctoral thesis
The thesis research is an integral part of the educational process for
achieving depth, fostering originality and advancing knowledge. The
doctoral thesis shall manifest these features. The thesis shall be
written in English. The general rules for doctoral theses at Chalmers
should be followed in all matters. The contents and writing shall
conform to the rules and requirements for publishing scientific articles
in recognised international journals.
The preferred thesis format
consists of an introduction followed by a compilation of
published/accepted/submitted articles, and manuscripts, accepted by the
examiner. The thesis may also be in the form of a monograph.
7 Examination requirements
a) Licentiate degree
- 30 credit points of graduate courses (including the mandatory courses and activities described in section 4 above).
- The research work shall correspond to at least 90 credit points.
- A licentiate thesis approved by the examiner.
- A licentiate seminar approved by the examiner.
b) Doctoral degree
- 60 credit points of graduate courses (including the mandatory courses and activities described in section 4 above).
- The research work shall correspond to at least 180 credit points.
- Successful thesis defence carried out in a public seminar.
More detailed information of general character can be obtained from the Handbook for doctoral studies
. The handbook is also available in Swedish