The graduate school is organised within the Department of Computer Science and Engineering.
(approved by the Pro-Vice-President on February 23, 2015. Ref. nr. C2015-0322)
(revised 31 October 2015)
1. Subject description and goals of the programme
Human-computer interaction (HCI) is the study of interaction between humans and computerized technical systems. The area is interdisciplinary and includes computer science methods and tools for designing user-tailored system functions, as well as theories and methods within the humanities, behavioural sciences, and social sciences to understand, evaluate and improve computerized technical systems for human use. Included in the HCI area is the study of methods and tools for the efficient realization of:
- user interaction with computerized technical systems
- user group interaction through a computerized system
- interface between man and computer, and relationship between various communication media interfaces
The purpose of the graduate program is to provide thorough knowledge of human-computer interaction and its various branches, overview of current issues and practical applications, in-depth insight into one or more parts of the subject, as well as skills in research methodology. After completing the graduate studies, the doctoral student will have acquired an ability to critically and independently plan, carry out, finalize, and present work of research and development of high quality.
1.1 Fields of specialisation
No fields of specialisation.
2. Requirements for admission
To be admitted to education on doctoral level it is required that the applicant meets the criteria for general and specific entry requirements in accordance with what is stated in the Higher Education Ordinance, Chapter 7, sections 39, and 40.
A person meets the general entry requirements for doctoral courses and study programmes if he or she:
- has been awarded a qualification on advanced level,
- has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 higher education credits (hec) of which at least 60 hec are awarded on advanced level, or
- has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.
The specific entry requirements shall be essential for doctoral students to be able to benefit from the doctoral programme (Higher Education Ordinance, Chapter 7, section 40).
To be eligible for the graduate program in human-computer interaction an academic degree is required on the level of master or bachelor within computer science, or computer engineering, and/or within social sciences, behavioural sciences, cognitive science or communication sciences of relevance to HCI. Equivalent knowledge acquired by other means will also count as qualification.
3. The plan of the graduate programme
The PhD program comprises 240 hec, and the licentiate program 120 hec. These correspond to 4 years and 2 years respectively of full time study. One year full time study correspond to 60 hec.
Both programs consist of:
- mandatory courses;
- individual study;
- participation in seminars and guest lectures;
- research work leading to a scientific dissertation.
The doctoral student is assigned to a doctoral examiner, a main supervisor and at least one assistant supervisor. An individual plan for doctoral studies is set up by the doctoral student and the main supervisor, in cooperation with the doctoral examiner. The individual study plan is a living document and follows the progression of the study. This plan is evaluated annually by the supervisor, doctoral examiner, and the director of studies.
The doctoral student is expected to participate in scientific activities through attendance at seminars and guest lectures even if these are not directly related to any part of the formal course requirements. Each doctoral student must present the results of his or her research at least once a year at a seminar within the research school or in a similar group.
Employment could include other duties, equivalent to a maximum of 20% of the working hours (in which case the total length of the study period is 5 years). These shall essentially take the form of teaching on Chalmers' undergraduate programmes although other duties could also be included.
The course part contains mandatory courses, and individual courses that are adapted to the doctoral student’s research orientation, interests and knowledge profile. Courses may be provided as lectures, seminars, reading courses, and laboratory workshops and project assignments, Courses are selected by the main supervisor and the doctoral student, and the doctoral examiner in accordance with the goals of the doctoral education. Credits from relevant courses in undergraduate studies may be transferred to the graduate programme. Students with at least 270 hec from their undergraduate studies may transfer a maximum of 30 hec. No credits may be transferred from undergraduate studies amounting to 240 hec. A graded system of credit transferral will be applied between 240 and 270 hec. The main supervisor and the doctoral examiner decide which credits from the undergraduate education that may be counted in the graduate education.
4.1 Mandatory courses
Doctoral students admitted after September 1, 2012, are required to take 15 credit points from the area of Generic and Transferable Skills during their graduate studies. Generic and Transferable skills (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. Of these, 9 credit points are mandatory for the licentiate degree, and another 6 credit points for the PhD degree.
In addition to the courses within Generic and Transferable Skills, the doctoral 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.
Get more information:
General Introduction for Doctoral Students
Graduate Courses - Generic and Transferable Skills
4.2 Individual studies
The examiner and the supervisor together with the doctoral student determine individual courses with a focus on the doctoral student’s specific research topic and interdisciplinary HCI-competence. The courses can relate to interdisciplinary perspectives regarding theory and methodology within humanities and social sciences, as well as fundamental methods and applications within computer science and computer engineering. The purpose is to provide deepened insights into the area of HCI, and how this may facilitate development of relevant complementary skills, such as in language, communication and media skills.
Example of courses:
- Design for human-computer interaction (7.5 hec)
- Computer supported collaboration (7.5 hec)
- Research methodology within HCI (3 hec)
- Prototype development within HCI (3 hec)
- Understanding, design, and use of visualization (7.5 hec)
- Learning in digital media (3 hec)
- Theory and practice of science (3 hec)
Individual courses may include graduate courses given at Chalmers, as well as courses given elsewhere.
4.3 Course requirementsA licentiate degree in Human-computer interaction requires minimum 40 hec obtained through courses, of which 9 hec are GTS courses, and 31 hec are individual courses.
A PhD degree requires minimum 70 hec obtained through courses, of which 15 hec are GTS courses, and 55 hec are individual courses.
The course requirements are summarized in the following table:
|Chalmers mandatory GTS courses
|Total course requirements
5.1 Licentiate Thesis
In order to obtain the licentiate degree, the doctoral student must carry out research work and write a licentiate thesis that describes the work. In the graduate research education leading to the licentiate degree, the doctoral student’s own research work is of limited extent, but it must still be given such a form that it yields results that can be published internationally. The licentiate thesis may have the form of a monograph, or of a compilation with a number of peer reviewed articles. In the latter case, these articles are to be connected by a so-called ‘kappa’ that 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. In case papers in the thesis are co-authored it is important to describe clearly the contribution of the PhD student to each of them. Whichever its form, the thesis should have a length corresponding to about 2-3 conference papers and articles of normal length [a range of pages would be helpful here!, e.g. “typically 80-180 pages or similar”]. The articles should maintain such a level that they could be accepted for publication in an international scientific journal or high quality conference 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.
5.2 Doctoral dissertation
To obtain the doctoral degree, the doctoral 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 peer reviewed articles. In the latter case, these articles are to be connected by a so-called ’kappa’ which interrelates the articles 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 [typically 100-200 pages?]. The articles should maintain such a level that they could be accepted for publication in an international scientific journal or high quality conference with a referee procedure. The individual articles may have been written together with the main supervisor, another supervisor or other persons. In case papers in the thesis are co-authored it is important to describe clearly the contribution of the PhD student to each of them. 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 as the only author. 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.
6. Requirements for the degree
6.1 Licentiate degree
The requirements for the licentiate degree comprise 120 hec, of which minimum 40 hec are acquired in courses (including the mandatory courses under 4.1 above). The licentiate thesis must be presented and discussed at a public seminar. The grading of the licentiate thesis and its presentation - pass or fail - is determined by the doctoral examiner. Information about the licentiate seminar is available here.
6.2 Doctoral degree
The requirements for the doctoral degree comprise 240 hec, of which minimum 70 hec are acquired in courses (including the mandatory courses under 4.1 above). The doctoral dissertation must be presented and discussed at a public defence. The examination of the dissertation and its defence is determined by a grading committee appointed by the department. Information about the public defence is available here.
Each doctoral student is entitled to supervision: full time doctoral students to four years of supervision for the doctoral degree, and to two years for the licentiate degree; part time doctoral students obtain the same amount distributed over a proportionally longer time period. When admitted the doctoral student is assigned a supervisor group, consisting of an examiner, a main supervisor, and one or more assistant supervisors. The examiner and main supervisor should not be the same person. The director of graduate studies summons this group and the doctoral student once per year to discuss the progress in relation to the individual study plan. After each follow-up meeting, a revised and signed study plan is handed to the director of graduate studies.
8. Additional information
More information about the doctoral studies is found in Chalmers Rules of Procedure – Doctoral Programmes, and in Chalmers' Handbook for doctoral studies.