Physics

The graduate school is organized within the Department of Physics at Chalmers University of Technology.

Director of Graduate Studies: Jan Swenson, Christophe Demaziere
Administrator for Graduate studies: Anna Lindqvist

Syllabus

(Approved by the Vice President on February 17, 2006, Ref. nr. C2006/178; revised April 7, 2008; revised February 14, 2013, Dnr F2016/0347; revised March 29, 2018, Dnr F2018/0086.)

Approved on March 29, 2018, by the Vice Head of Department, Quality and Infrastructure of Graduate Education, after consultation with the Vice President of Research Education.

This syllabus is valid for doctoral students admitted to the graduate school in Physics after March 29, 2018.

1 Subject description and goals of the graduate programme

The graduate school in Physics is based on experimental, theoretical and computational physics.  The main goal of this educational programme is to provide fundamental knowledge, practical skills and professional experience, at the highest international level, necessary for the individual to become a leader in physics in academia or industry. The doctoral students work on widely different research topics.  The graduate school offers, therefore, an individually designed education which is unique for each student.  In addition to the common goals of all graduate schools at Chalmers, the graduate school in Physics has the following specific goals for the students:
  • Acquire an advanced knowledge of physics.
  • Develop an analytical ability to apply acquired knowledge, to analyze and interpret data and to synthesize results and then decide how to proceed.
  • To push the frontline of research in a particular area of specialization evidenced by scientific publications, conference contributions and patents.
  • Become creative in identifying new promising areas of physics.
  • Develop generic and transferable skills of value for all types of postgraduate working positions.

2 Admissions/General requirements

A university degree (minimum 240 credit points) or a Master of Science degree in Physics or a strongly related topic (such as Engineering Physics or other physics related subjects), where most of the basic courses in physics have been taken, is required. In detail this implies that the student should have documented knowledge (i.e. passed courses) in at least three of the following eight areas of physics: classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, condensed matter physics, subatomic physics, thermodynamics, statistical physics and optics.  Good working knowledge of English is also required.

The decision about admission to the graduate school is made by the Vice Head of Department in charge of the graduate education, and/or the Head of Department, after a recommendation has been provided by the director of studies at the graduate school.

3 The structure of the graduate programme

The department carries out research programmes in practical and theoretical aspects of physics.  Within this broad framework, doctoral students will focus their research on well-defined research problems.  The students follow an individual study plan under the guidance of a main supervisor, co-supervisors and an examiner.  The programme of study includes research work, courses and the completion of a licantiate thesis and a doctoral thesis.

4 Courses

Requirements:  30 credit points for a licentiate degree and 60 credit points for a doctoral degree.

Courses taken and passed at the master level prior to admission to the graduate school are accepted as graduate courses up to a maximum of 30 credit points, provided that the doctoral student has at least a total of 270 credit points from pre-doctoral educational degrees.

Students who have 240 credit points from pre-doctoral educational degrees are not allowed to include courses taken and passed prior to admission to the graduate school in their graduate course programme.  When the admitted student has between 240 and 270 credit points from pre-doctoral educational degrees there is a gradual transition from including zero credit points to including 30 credit points in the graduate course programme.

The final decision on which master level courses and associated number of credit points that may be included in the graduate course programme is, in each case, made by the examiner.  The student must, in all cases, have passed these courses with the grade 4 or 5 (or equivalent).
a) Courses in physics
A documented knowledge of at least five of the following eight areas of physics is needed in order to obtain a doctoral degree in Physics: classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, condensed matter physics, subatomic physics, thermodynamics, statistical physics and optics.
b) Mandatory courses and activities
Doctoral students admitted after September 1, 2012, are required to take 15 credit points from the area of Generic and Transferable Skills (GTS) during their post-graduate studies.  Nine credit points are mandatory for the licentiate degree.  Of these, 1.5 credit point is elective from the GTS courses.  Six GTS credit points are mandatory after the licentiate degree in order to obtain the PhD degree.  These credit points are also elective, and courses are selected according to the student´s need.

Mandatory courses and activities for the licentiate degree:
  • GFOK015, General Introduction for Doctoral Students (0 credit points).
  • GFOK010, Career planning – Your Personal Leadership (GTS, 1.5 credit point).
  • GFOK020, Teaching, Learning and Evaluation (GTS, 3 credit points).
  • GFOK105, Sustainable Development: Values, Technology in Society, and the Researcher (GTS, 3 credit points).
  • One elective GTS course (1.5 credit point).
Mandatory GTS activities for the PhD degree:
  • The mandatory courses and activities for the licentiate degree (9 credit points).
  • Courses from the GTS activities open to doctoral students and young researchers at Chalmers (6 credit points).
  • GFOK070, Oral popular science presentation (0 credit points).
  • Written popular science summary, to be published on the back of the PhD thesis (0 credit points).

The main aim of the courses in the area of GTS is to give doctoral students at Chalmers professional and individual development in areas not directly linked to the respective areas of research.  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 main supervisor and approval by the Vice Head of Department, in consultation with the director of studies at the graduate school.

For more information:

5 Thesis supervision

It is the responsibility of the main supervisor to see that an individual study plan, with details of all the planned activities, is established.  The doctoral student is responsible for preparing the study plan and keeping it updated.  A review of the individual study plan, and the progress of the student, is made at least once a year at a follow-up meeting with the director of studies at the graduate school.  The doctoral student, the supervisors and the examiner should participate in this meeting.  The main supervisor and the examiner are responsible for upholding high international standards on the quantity and quality of the research work and its presentation in the licentiate and doctoral theses.

6 Licentiate and doctoral theses

a) Licentiate thesis

The general rules for licentiate theses at Chalmers shall be followed in all matters. The thesis shall be written in English.  The contents and writing shall conform with the rules and requirements for publishing scientific articles in recognised international journals.  The preferred thesis format consists of an introduction followed by a compilation of two papers that are either published in, or accepted for publication in, or in manuscript form (approved by the examiner) for submission to, an international scientific journal with a peer review system.  The examiner decides when the thesis is ready for a public presentation.  The presentation of the thesis shall take place in a seminar open to the public, and in the presence of an external reviewer and the examiner.  The examiner evaluates the licentiate thesis and its presentation with the grades pass or fail.

b) Doctoral thesis

The thesis research is an integral part of the educational process for achieving depth, fostering originality and advancing knowledge. The doctoral thesis shall manifest these features. The thesis shall be written in English. The general rules for doctoral theses at Chalmers should be followed in all matters.  The contents and writing shall conform to the rules and requirements for publishing scientific articles in recognised international journals.
 The preferred thesis format consists of an introduction followed by a compilation of published/accepted/submitted articles, and manuscripts, accepted by the examiner. The thesis may also be in the form of a monograph.

7 Examination requirements

a) Licentiate degree

  • 30 credit points of graduate courses (including the mandatory courses and activities described in section 4 above).
  • The research work shall correspond to at least 90 credit points.
  • A licentiate thesis approved by the examiner.
  • A licentiate seminar approved by the examiner.

b) Doctoral degree

  • 60 credit points of graduate courses (including the mandatory courses and activities described in section 4 above).
  • The research work shall correspond to at least 180 credit points.
  • Successful thesis defence carried out in a public seminar.

More detailed information of general character can be obtained from the Handbook for doctoral studies.  The handbook is also available in Swedish.

Published: Thu 29 Dec 2016. Modified: Wed 12 Dec 2018