Product and Production Development

​The graduate school is organised within the Department of Industrial and Materials Science.

Director of Graduate Studies: Göran Gustafsson


Approved by the Pro-Vice-President on May 17, 2005. Ref. nr. C2005/604
Revised November 9, 2012
Revised 31 May 2016
Revised on 2020-06-01, reference number IMS2020-0080. This revision applies to doctoral students admitted as of 2020-08-01.

For the most recent version of all regulatory documents referenced in this syllabus, see Chalmers' internal website.

1 Subject description and objectives of the programme

Research into the subject of Product and Production Development deals with the creation of industrial products and production systems. It is mainly carried out in the following areas:

  • Product development
  • Design of production systems
The subject comprises the development of ways of working, methods and tools for the development and design of products, and techniques for the integration and rationalisation of the product development process. Information technology is both important and necessary in this respect, and analysis as well as synthesis aspects are stressed. The goal is to reach an understanding of how to develop system products starting from the criteria in an industrial product development process. Systems Engineering, PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) and Robust Design and Geometry Assurance are important themes.
Product and Production Development also comprises the development of models as well as methods and tools for the modelling, simulation, visualisation and design of production systems. The subject applies a system perspective to the development, operation and maintenance of semi-automated production systems. The goal is to achieve an understanding of how the combination and design of all components in the production system (i.e. machines, people, robots, information systems and transport systems etc.) influence overall behaviour in terms of robustness, level of automation, efficiency etc. The production system concept is not limited to mechanical engineering production but can also be used in the process and the food industry, for example.
After graduation the former PhD student should be well prepared to continue undertaking independent, high-quality academic or industrial work in research, development and education in this field, both nationally and internationally.

2 General admission requirements

A person with a Swedish university education comprising at least 180 higher education (HE) credits in subjects relevant to the PhD subject or an equivalent foreign university qualification is eligible for PhD studies in Product and Production Development. In addition there are particular requirements corresponding to at least 60 HE credits of course work within the PhD subject. The requirements are the same for both categories of applicants. An applicant who does not have either English or a Scandinavian language as his/her mother tongue will normally also have to pass a test in English to be admitted.
Those who do not fulfil the requirements in the study plan can be admitted in accordance with a special procedure. This decision is made by the person who is responsible for the PhD education in cooperation with the examiner.

3 Structure of the graduate programme

Two degrees can be earned: a licentiate degree and a PhD degree. Regardless of which the candidate aims for, the studies are initially directed towards a licentiate degree and then towards a PhD degree. The PhD programme comprises 240 HE credits, corresponding to four years’ full-time study. The licentiate degree comprises 120 HE credits, corresponding to two years’ full-time study.
The studies consist of a course element and a thesis element. Each PhD student has his/her own individual study plan which is based on his/her background and goals. The plan is devised together with the main supervisor and is approved by the examiner.
The study plan should be revised and followed up at least once a year during the programme period. The Director of Studies of the Chalmers Graduate School in the subject concerned is responsible for the follow-up, which must be carried out in cooperation with the examiner and the main supervisor.

4 Courses

The course element consists of a mandatory part and an individually designed element which is tailored to the PhD student’s research work, interests and knowledge profile.

4.1 Mandatory courses and activities for all PhD students at Chalmers

Generic and Transferable Skills (GTS) is an umbrella term for development activities and courses which are not directly associated with the research subject and which are geared to the professional and personal development of Chalmers’ PhD students. PhD students admitted on 1 September 2012 or later must take GTS courses corresponding to 15 HE credits: 9 HE credits before the licentiate degree and another 6 HE credits before defending their doctoral thesis.
PhD students must also attend an introductory day before they earn a licentiate degree, carry out an oral popular science presentation of their research work and write a popular science presentation of the work on the back cover of their doctoral thesis.

4.2 Compulsory courses in the Chalmers graduate school

It is mandatory to take courses in Product and Production Development corresponding to 7.5 HE credits and courses in Scientific Theory corresponding to 7.5 HE credits.

4.3 Optional courses

The examiner and the PhD student will agree on suitable courses to take from different graduate schools at Chalmers or other universities.

4.4 Other courses

In addition to the mandatory and optional courses at Chalmers and the Chalmers graduate school, self-study courses within the research subject can also form part of the studies. They are selected and designed in each individual case by the PhD student in consultation with his/her main supervisor and examiner.

The examiner can also decide that the PhD student can be credited with a maximum of 30 HE credits for undergraduate courses.

5 Theses

5.1 Licentiate thesis

In order to obtain a licentiate degree the PhD student has to carry out a research project and write a thesis which describes it.
In the education leading up to the licentiate degree, the PhD student’s own research work has a limited scope, but it should nevertheless lead to results of such a quality that they can be published internationally.
The licentiate thesis can take the form of a ‘monograph’, but it is more commonly a compilation of a number of scientifically reviewed articles, bound together in what is known as a ‘kappa’ or short summary. The ‘kappa’ contains a discussion and overall conclusions. In either case the thesis should consist of the equivalent of 2-3 articles of normal length which could be presented at international conferences and/or in international journals. The individual articles can have been written together with others, including the main and assistant supervisors, but the PhD student should be the primary author of the majority of them. All articles should have undergone peer review and either have already been published or submitted for publication to conferences and/or journals covered by Scopus. At least one article must have been submitted to an international journal. The thesis is normally written in English so that the work can reach an international audience and contribute to international research in the field.
The licentiate thesis is presented in English or Swedish at an open seminar and graded as either failed (UK) or passed (GK).

5.2 Doctoral thesis

In order to obtain a PhD degree the PhD student has to perform a research project and write a doctoral thesis which describes it.
The requirements for the PhD thesis are the same as those for the licentiate thesis, except that:

  • The thesis should consist of the equivalent of 4-5 articles of normal length which could be published internationally, at least two of which have already been accepted for publication in international journals.
  • The research work is defended orally in English or Swedish at a public defence of the doctoral thesis and graded as either failed (UK) or passed (GK).

6 Examination requirements

6.1 Licentiate degree

At least 120 HE credits are required for a licentiate degree, 45 of which are course work and 75 research work.

6.2 Doctoral degree

At least 240 HE credits are required for a doctoral degree, 60 of which are course work and 180 research work.

7 Supervision

Every PhD student should have an examiner, a main supervisor and at least one assistant supervisor. The main supervisor and the assistant supervisors make up a supervisory group. The assistant supervisors come from the Chalmers graduate school, from other academic institutions or from industry or the public sector.
The supervision consists of general guidance on how to organise and carry out the studies, but also of recommendations on specific courses to take and advice in connection with the thesis work. Supervision within a specific course is generally given by the person who is responsible for the course.
The examiner has overall responsibility for the direction of the studies, approves the individual study plan and decides on any revisions. He/she takes part in the follow-up of the studies and may also be the main supervisor.
The main supervisor is responsible for the PhD student’s research assignment and for ensuring he/she receives sufficient supervision. The assistant supervisors are also involved in the supervision.

8 Knowledge tests

The examiner decides on how to test the PhD student’s knowledge. The student normally takes part in the examination by the method announced for each course. His/her knowledge can be examined through written or oral tests, assignments or seminars.

9 Other guidelines

PhD students in the research subject Product and Production Development are members of the Chalmers graduate school of the same name. In addition, they can also be members of national, Nordic or other international graduate schools.
PhD students who were admitted to older, related research subjects can choose to be examined in the subject Product and Production Development instead after approval by the examiner and main supervisor.

Page manager Published: Tue 01 Sep 2020.