Note! No new admissions are made to this graduate school.
(approved by the Pro-Vice-President on September 15, 2005. Ref. nr. C2005/1045)
(revised April 14, 2008)
(revised April 18, 2013)
1 Subject Description and Goals of the Graduate Program
1.1 Subject description
Complex systems in nature and society can be studied and simulated
using methods and models developed within physics, biology, mathematics
and computer science. These fields provide tools that can improve our
understanding of complex phenomena in nature as well as in human
society, for example, in biological, technical, and societal systems. At
the same time, complex systems in nature have inspired the creation of
methods for information processing like artificial neural networks and
genetic programming. Graduate students in complex systems may choose the
direction of their studies based on their academic background and
1.2 Aim of the graduate program
The graduate education in complex systems aims at providing the graduate student with
- good general knowledge on complex systems in nature, society and
technology, especially within the area of the chosen focus for the
- general knowledge on the development of concepts and theories in the
natural sciences and computer science, and knowledge of research
methodology based on these within the subject area,
- competence and experience in choosing relevant scientific research
questions within the subject area, and to apply theory and research
methodology to these,
- knowledge on industrial and societal applications of complex
systems, and proficiency in conveying knowledge about the research area
to the general public.
2 Eligibility for admission
The requirements for admission to the graduate programme are
university studies corresponding to the level of the Swedish exam
”civilingenjör” or Master of Science, with a direction of relevance for
the graduate studies in complex systems, and a thesis project
corresponding to at least half a year of studies.
The student should in other respects possess capabilities that are
considered necessary for the education. Each student will formulate an
individual study plan in discussion with the supervisor, based on the
academic background of the student and choice of specific subject area.
3 Organization of the graduate program
The graduate programme comprises research work, the accomplishment
of courses, and participation in seminars. The student shall also
present research results at scientific workshops and conferences.
The graduate programme is 120 higher education credits for the
licentiate degree, and 240 higher education credits for the doctoral
degree, corresponding to four years of full time studies. It is common
that the student also take part in other duties at the department,
primarily teaching, at most 20% of the time, in which case the graduate
programme to the doctoral degree is extended to five years. After the
first year an evaluation is done, which in case of insufficient progress
may result in the termination of the studies.
Course credits from previous studies on the master level may be
included up to 30 higher education credits. The decision is made by the
examiner on an individual basis.
The course requirement is 60 higher education credits, divided on:
i) Courses within Generic and transferable skills (GTS)
ii) Philosophy of Science, at least 3 higher education credits
iii) Selection of courses in complex systems, in total at least 30 higher education credits, for example:
Artificial neural networks,
Chaos and dynamical systems,
Simulation of complex systems,
Information theory for complex systems,
iii) Elective courses (chosen in discussion with the examiner)
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. The graduate
student is required to take at least 15 credit points out of the GTS
program before receiving a PhD degree. Chalmers offers a range of
activities/courses as part of the program.
9 credit points in the area of GTS are expected to be obtained
before the licentiate degree examination. Another 6 credit points are
expected to be obtained before PhD degree examination. Mandatory courses
for the licentiate degree are: "Teaching, Learning & Evaluation”,
”Research Ethics & Sustainable Development” and ”Career planning –
Your Personal Leadership”. 1,5 credit points are optional (from GTS
activities/courses). The 6 credit points after licentiate degree are
also optional and selected according to the student´s need.
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
supervisor, and approval by the deputy head of department in
consultation with the director of studies of the research school. As an
example, GTS could include related activities or courses given at 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.
The 15 credit points in GTS are mandatory for doctoral students admitted after September 1, 2012.
For more information:
5.1 Licentiate thesis
Research work corresponding to 90 higher education credits shall be
presented in a licentiate thesis. The licentiate thesis is examined and
discussed in a special seminar.
5.2 Doctoral thesis
The doctoral thesis shall present research corresponding to 180
higher education credits. The thesis could either be a monography or a
thesis consisting of a summary followed by a number of papers published
in international scientific journals, or papers of such a quality that
they could be so published. The research presented in the thesis is
examined in a public dissertation.
6 Requirements for degrees
6.1 Licentiate degree
The requirement for the licentiate degree is 120 higher education
credits, of which 30 higher education credits are courses in the
graduate education and 90 higher education credits are given for the
6.2 Doctoral degree
The requirement for the doctoral degree is 240 higher education
credits, of which 60 higher education credits are courses in the
graduate education and 180 higher education credits are given for the
The graduate student shall have a supervisor and an examiner. In
addition to this, the student will have guidance by one or more
assistant supervisors. The assistant supervisors shall have a PhD degree
or the corresponding competence in a subject of relevance for the
Apart from guidance in the scientific work, the supervision shall
include planning and follow-up of the studies, and support in the
process of publication of results.