About doctoral studies

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The doctoral programmes provide you with a research specialisation based on fundamental scientific concepts, principles and methods. As a doctoral student at Chalmers, you will develop skills that can lead to future opportunities in both academia and industry.

Chalmers’ doctoral programmes are organised in subject-oriented graduate schools which are owned and developed by the departments. Each graduate school corresponds to a doctoral programme subject and for each graduate school there is a general study plan that describes the required qualifications, the specialisations available in the graduate school, the courses included in the programme, etc. All doctoral students must belong to a graduate school at Chalmers.


To be admitted to doctoral programmes at Chalmers, you must have completed a degree at second-cycle level, i.e. a Master’s degree with 120 higher education credits or a Master’s degree with 60 higher education credits. Your degree should also have a specialisation that is sufficiently related to the subject of the doctoral programme. In addition to this basic qualification, there are specific qualifications for the subject, which you can read about in the study plan for the graduate schools available at Chalmers. Corresponding requirements apply to students who completed their undergraduate education at a foreign university.

How are the programmes organised?

Doctoral programmes are a combination of individual research, courses and teaching. The work is carried out in established research teams, with a team of supervisors led by an experienced researcher. Doctoral students choose their own activities with the help of their supervisors. Chalmers’ research teams work internationally, creating great opportunities for you to carry out part of your studies abroad. The programme can lead to a licentiate degree after about two years and a doctorate after four to five years. The degree is awarded in the subject of your graduate school and your research work is presented in a doctoral thesis.
Graduate schools

The total study period for a licentiate degree is two years and for a doctorate four years. Doctoral students must devote at least half of this time to their research assignment, and the rest to their own education. As a doctoral student, you are employed by Chalmers. A doctoral position is a full-time, fixed-term position, generally limited to a maximum of five years. As an employee, you receive a monthly salary, and doctoral programmes incur no fees. In your employment you will also teach on Chalmers’ educational programmes, usually as a calculation exercise leader or laboratory supervisor. You may also have other duties in the departments. Teaching and other departmental work may account for a maximum of 20 per cent of working hours.


Development of generic skills

Chalmers has designed a program of courses and activities for doctoral students for the development of generic skills, Generic and Transferable Skills (GTS). With these competencies Chalmers' doctors become more attractive in the labor market and better equipped for future leadership assignments, to address societal challenges and to collaborate across borders. GTS offers education to doctoral students in areas such as communication, pedagogy, leadership, and research ethics. 7,5 credits are mandatory, but doctoral students have a guarantee to take additional courses up to a total of 15 credits, if desired.

Apply for a doctoral position 

Admission to Chalmers’ doctoral programmes is primarily by applying for a doctoral position.
Find Vacant positions at Chalmers.

Industrial doctoral students 

Chalmers also collaborates with various companies and public organisations (such as authorities, municipalities, county councils and trade unions) on doctoral programmes. Of Chalmers’ approximately 1,100 doctoral students, around 180 are industrial doctoral students.
As an industrial doctoral student, you continue to be employed by your employer, usually receive your full salary from them, and do your doctoral programme as part of your employment. In addition, the companies usually pay part of the costs of materials, instruments, supervision, etc. by agreement with Chalmers.

There are also formal collaboration agreements for industrial doctoral students whereby Chalmers is fully or partially responsible for your salary. In such cases, you are on partial or full leave from your employment. The research assignment is part of a co-funded research project between Chalmers and your employer. You must have a principal supervisor at Chalmers. You often have an assistant supervisor at the company.

What else is different for an industrial doctoral student?

For industrial doctoral students, research projects are chosen in consultation with the doctoral student’s company. The research is carried out in close collaboration with the company. For example, experimental work may be carried out in full or in part at the company and an assistant supervisor may be appointed there. Doctoral students who are employed at Chalmers also have teaching or other work at the department, corresponding to 20 per cent of working hours, resulting in a total study period of five years for a doctorate. For industrial doctoral students, teaching at Chalmers may be replaced by work in the company and educational credits of another kind.

How do I become an industrial doctoral student?

You need to gain support for your plans in the company you work for. The company can then contact one of Chalmers’ departments to discuss research projects and how the programme should be structured for you. It is often possible to customise the programme to optimise your experience. Use the list of departments at Chalmers to find the right one for you. Chalmers and the company must always sign an agreement on the terms of the collaboration. In addition to funding, this agreement should cover the publication of scientific work, rights to commercially viable results, etc. Chalmers has a template for these agreements.

Contacts for doctoral programmes

For more information about doctoral programmes, graduate schools, possible research projects, the possibility of gaining a doctoral position or becoming an industrial doctoral student and other questions, please contact Chalmers’ graduate schools, departments or research supervisors directly.

For general questions about Chalmers’ doctoral programmes, please contact doctoralstudies@chalmers.se.

Educational support

Doctoral students may be granted educational support linked to their study situation. Doctoral students apply by logging in to www.nais.uhr.se. The immediate manager where the doctoral student is employed is responsible for support related to their working environment or duties.

Doctoral students’ organisation at Chalmers

The doctoral students’ guild is the organisation for collaboration between doctoral students at all Chalmers departments. It represents the interests of doctoral students on several boards and committees at Chalmers. To help doctoral students who experience problems during their doctoral programme, the doctoral students’ guild has a neutral, independent representative attached to it, the Doctoral Students’ Ombudsman (DOMB).