Human - Technology - Design

​Specializations:
  • Human Factors Engineering
  • Interaction Design
  • Industrial Design Engineering

The graduate school is common to two departments:

Director of Graduate Studies: Oskar Rexfelt

Web administration: Lars-Ola Bligård


 

Syllabus

 
(approved by the vice-president to apply from May 17 2005. Ref. nr. C2005/604)

(revised 2012-12-05)

1 Subject description and goals of the programme

The research in this subject comprises the following areas:

  • Development of knowledge about the relationship between humans, technology, and design in broad terms, and how this relationship can be shaped with regard to the needs of individuals as well as of the environment and society. Technology refers here to particular products, product systems, and systems for production. By design is meant the determination of products in a wide sense including both formal and functional aspects. The relationship signifies not only interaction but also, for example, adoption and acceptance, attractiveness and emotion, usability and safety, learning and understanding.
  • Knowledge about processes, methods and tools, concerning on the one hand how requirements for the shaping of products and systems of products and production can be identified and communicated, and on the other hand how different design solutions can be evaluated. The system perspective, i.e. the interplay between humans, technology, task and context, is central. The context is here to be understood as comprising the physical, psychosocial and historical-cultural environment. The preconditions for a viable dialogue between the different actors in the design process constitute a special theme.  
  • Knowledge about the shaping of products and systems on the basis of individuals’ physical and cognitive capabilities, emotional requirements, as well as on semantic and aesthetic aspects. Development and evaluation of methods and tools for dealing systematically with design-related issues are an especially important theme. The goal is to find good design solutions that contribute to people’s well-being and avoidance of injuries and ill health, but also to the productivity and competitiveness of manufacturing companies.

Problems within this field of research arise largely on the borders between different disciplines, for instance between technology and behavioural science, or between technology and ergonomics/physiology/medicine. The research is therefore essentially interdisciplinary.

The research requires a deep understanding of modern technology as an expressive design material. It also calls for well-conceived methods of representing a product’s intended use. The questions involved range from the product’s physical interface to ethics and aesthetics of use.

The graduate education should lead to deeper knowledge in the subject area as well as to knowledge and skill in the independent planning and execution of research activities. The doctoral candidate, after completing the education, should be highly prepared for continued work in academia or industrial research and development, both nationally and internationally.

2 General requirements for admission

Whoever is admitted as a doctoral candidate in Human – Technology – Design has completed the Swedish university undergraduate education of at least 240 credits in educational programmes with further work of relevance for the graduate education subject, or has a foreign university education of corresponding extent and content.

For applicants with foreign undergraduate education, the knowledge prerequisites correspond to those for applicants with Swedish undergraduate education, but applicants from abroad whose native language is not English or a Scandinavian language must also normally pass an English language test in order to be admitted.

Anyone who does not satisfy the qualification requirements in the curriculum may be accepted according to a special acceptance procedure. For such applicants, supplementary work can be prescribed.

3 The plan of the graduate programme

Two graduate degrees may be taken: a licentiate degree and a doctoral degree. Regardless of the final aim, the studies are devoted first to the licentiate degree and subsequently to the doctoral degree. The graduate education for the doctoral degree comprises 240 credits, which correspond to four years of full-time studies. The licentiate degree comprises 120 credits, corresponding to two years of full-time studies.

The graduate studies consist of a course part and a thesis part, which lead to the licentiate or doctoral degree.
For each graduate student, an individual curriculum is arranged, based upon the student’s background and aim. This curriculum is planned in consultation with the main supervisor and approved by the examiner.

The curriculum is to be followed up, and possibly revised, at least once per term during the entire doctoral education. This follow-up is to occur in dialogue with the examiner, the main supervisor, and the director of studies for the graduate school. The latter is responsible to summon the follow-up meeting.

4 The role of the graduate programme

The role of the Human – Technology – Design graduate programme is to

  • Provide a syllabus for the graduate programme (this document).
  • Provide courses relevant to the syllabus.
  • Offer an area for discussions and networking, primarily between the graduates.
  • Monitor the progress and working situation of each graduate.

5 Specialization

The licentiate or doctoral degree, respectively, is designated as a degree in Human – Technology – Design (Människa – Teknik – Design) with an orientation in Human Factors Engineering (Människa-tekniksystem), Industrial Design Engineering (Teknisk Design) or Interaction Design (Interaktionsdesign).

6 Courses

The course part contains an obligatory component and, in addition, an individually planned component that is adapted to the student’s research orientation, interests and knowledge profile. The individually planned component is specific to each graduate student and is described in the student’s curriculum.

At most 30 course credits are allowed to have been acquired before the graduate studies are begun, within the framework of the completed undergraduate education. The main supervisor decides which credits from the undergraduate education may be counted in the graduate education.

6.1 Obligatory university courses

Doctoral candidates who are admitted to Chalmers University of Technology from 2012-09-01 onward shall assimilate 15 credits withing the area of Generic and Transferable Skills during the doctoral studies . 9 of these credits shall be assimilated before the degree of licentiate.

Besides the Generic and Transferable Skills course package, the doctoral candidate shall also take part in an introductory day for PhD-students (before licentiate degree), carry out a popular science-oriented presentation before doctoral degree, and write a popular science-oriented research description to be printed on the backside of the doctoral thesis.

More information:
Introductory day
Generic and Transferable skills

6.2 Obligatory courses in the graduate school

Courses in the following themes with the stated extent are obligatory for doctoral candidates in Human – Technology– Design: 

  • Theory of science MTD, 3 credits
  • Research methodology MTD, 7,5 credits
  • Academic writing MTD, 4,5 credits
  • Systems theory MTD, 5 credits

At least three of these courses should normally have been completed before the degree of licentiate.

6.3 Elective courses

For profiling within the subject area, one may choose the graduate school’s elective courses or else courses in other graduate schools at Chalmers or at other universities. The courses are chosen in consultation between the main supervisor and the doctoral candidate.

In addition to obligatory courses in the university, the graduate school’s obligatory courses and the elective courses, literature studies within the subject area may also be included in the course part of the graduate education. These courses are planned in each individual case, in consultation with the main supervisor and the examiner.

Moreover, the course part of the graduate education may include advanced courses from the engineering education or its equivalent or graduate education courses from other departments. All courses are to be determined in advance, in consultation with the main supervisor and the examiner.     

7 Degree thesis

The education includes scientific work to be documented in a licentiate thesis or a doctoral thesis. The orientation of the scientific work is chosen in connection with current research problems and is defined in consultation with the supervisor. The scientific work is to be reported continuously.

7.1 Licentiate thesis

In order to obtain the licentiate degree, the graduate student must carry out research work and write a licentiate thesis which describes the work.
In the education leading to the licentiate degree, the graduate student’s own research work is of limited extent, but it must still be given such a form that it yields results which can be published internationally.

The licentiate thesis may have the form of a monograph, or of a compilation with a number of scientifically reviewed articles. In the latter case, these articles are to be connected by a so-called ’kappa’ which interrelates the contributions as well as discusses and draws conclusions from the entire work. The individual articles may have been written together with the main supervisor, another supervisor or other persons. Whichever its form, the thesis should have a length corresponding to about 2-3 conference papers and articles of normal length. The articles should maintain such a level that they could be accepted for publication in an international scientific journal with a referee procedure. The thesis is normally to be written in English so that the work can reach an international public and contribute to the international research in the area. The licentiate thesis must be presented in English or Swedish at an open seminar. The thesis is assessed with the mark of either Fail or Pass.
As a supplement to the written thesis, the student may display examples of design at the licentiate seminar. In the assessment, account is then taken of both the content of the thesis and the quality of the design examples that are displayed.

7.2 Doctoral thesis

To obtain the doctoral degree, the graduate student must carry out research work and write a thesis which describes the work.

The doctoral thesis may have the form of a monograph, or of a compilation with a number of scientifically reviewed articles. In the latter case, these articles are to be connected by a so-called ’kappa’ which interrelates the contributions as well as discusses and draws conclusions from the entire work. In both cases, the thesis should have a length corresponding to about 4-5 conference papers and articles of normal length. The articles should maintain such a level that they could be accepted for publication in an international scientific journal with a referee procedure. The individual articles may have been written together with the main supervisor, another supervisor or other persons. In order to show that the doctoral candidate has attained the intended proficiency, at least one of the articles must have been written by the candidate personally. The thesis is normally to be written in English so that the work can reach an international public and contribute to the international research in the area. The thesis work must be defended orally in English or Swedish at a public disputation. The thesis work is assessed as either Fail or Pass.
As a supplement to the written thesis, the student may display examples of design at the disputation. In the assessment, account is then taken of both the content of the thesis and the quality of the design examples that are displayed.

8 Requirements for the degrees

8.1 Licentiate degree

For the licentiate degree, a minimum of 120 study credits is required. Fortyfive credits are obtained in the course part, and 75 credits in the research work. Nine credits should be obtained from Generic and Transferable skills, and the graduate student should have taken part in the introductory day for Chalmers PhD students.

The research work is reported in a licentiate thesis, possibly supplemented with design examples. 

8.2 Doctoral degree

For the doctoral degree, further study credits are required (totally 240 credits), of which 60 credits are obtained in courses while 180 credits refer to research. Fifteen credits should be obtained from Generic and Transferable skills, and the graduate student should have taken part in the introductory day for Chalmers PhD students. Furthermore, the graduate student shall carry out a popular science-oriented oral presentation before doctoral degree, and write a popular science-oriented research description to be printed on the backside of the doctoral thesis.  

The research work is reported in a doctoral thesis, possibly supplemented with design examples.

9 Supervision

Each graduate student is to have an examiner, a main supervisor, and at least one assistant supervisor. The main supervisor and the assistant supervisors form a supervisory group. The assistant supervisors come from the graduate school, from other academic institutions and/or from industry or the public sector.

The supervision consists partly of general advice regarding the organisation and planning of studies, partly of instructions for specific courses and in connection with the thesis work. Supervision for a particular course is generally given by the person responsible for the course.

The examiner has overall responsibility for the graduate education’s orientation. The examiner approves the individual curriculum and decides upon any changes. The examiner takes part in the follow-up of studies. He/she may also be the main supervisor.

The main supervisor is responsible for ensuring that a research task exists for the graduate student, and that the student receives sufficient supervision. The main supervisor, too, takes part in the follow-up of studies.
The assistant supervisor participates in the supervision of the graduate student as well as in the follow-up of studies. 

10 Examination on proficiency in the subject

The student’s knowledge is tested in a manner which is determined by the examiner. The student normally takes part in the examination according to the manner specified for the respective course. This may occur through written or oral tests, through hand-in assignments, or through seminars.

11 Additional information

Graduate students in the subject Human – Technology – Design belong to the Chalmers graduate school of Human-Technology – Design. The student may also belong to a national or Scandinavian research school within this field. 

Graduate students who are admitted in older, related subjects of graduate education may, after approval by examiner and main supervisor, choose instead to be examined in the new subject of Human – Technology – Design. Also graduate students admitted to the older syllabus of the Human-Technology-Design graduate school may choose to instead follow this syllabus.

Published: Thu 16 Jan 2020.