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Graduate courses

Departments' graduate courses for PhD-students.

  Study programme, year:  1 2

Study programme syllabus for



The automotive industry is important to Sweden. Almost every tenth job in the country is related to this industry, 140.000 people are directly and over 400.000 persons are indirectly employed in the vehicle industry. Brands like Volvo, Scania and Saab, and suppliers like SKF and Autoliv are far more well-known than their country of origin, and hence, the economy of the country depends strongly on the performance of these companies. Due to the location of research and development, manufacturing and assembly facilities this is especially true in the west-coast region of Sweden where the vehicle industry is dominant. Hence automotive engineering research and education in Sweden have developed to be among the best.

The Automotive Engineering programme at Chalmers together with a few other universities in Sweden and Europe is unique as it provides education directed towards the automotive industry. The AE programme provides a solid and holistic basic knowledge about the automotive industry and a system perspective of automotive vehicles in the block of mandatory courses. Deepened and specialized knowledge within the areas of Powertrain, Safety and Vehicle Dynamics is offered. All industrial automotive product development is carried out in a team-based project environment; hence the AE programme addresses the importance of communication, team-work and project management.

In England focus is often towards racing, and the other programmes in Europe are quite different in structure to the one described here. Usually the programmes are more general, only system orientated and offer narrow specializations on a lower level. Within the ongoing AE-programme an exchange of students from universities with comparable programmes in Germany and France is in progress.

Programme aim

The aim of the Automotive Engineering programme (AE) is to prepare students for a professional career within the automotive engineering field. A deeper specialized technical knowledge in Powertrain, Vehicle Dynamics or Safety is offered. Alternatively, a more general curriculum with a deepened focus on product development and project management may be chosen.

This background leads to a wide range of career opportunities within design, development and research in the automotive industry aiming towards employment at automotive manufacturing companies, engineering houses, consultant organizations and suppliers. Additionally, other career opportunities may be found as academic researchers, technical advisors, project leaders and teachers at different levels.

Learning outcomes

The AE-programme should provide the students with possibilities to develop enhanced skills for analysis, synthesis and management of the automotive development process.

General learning outcomes

After completion of the AE programme the student will be able to:

Comprehension level - identify and discuss vehicles as complex systems from a technical and a social perspective through a broad platform in automotive engineering.

Analysis level - analyze new technical challenges and to create technical advancements in the automotive industry by three specialization tracks; Safety, Powertrain or Vehicle Dynamics.

Synthesis and Evaluation level - synthesize and evaluate automotive systems and products in terms of direct use and lifecycle analysis through consideration of environmental and economic aspects.

Application level - through applications and practice utilize automotive related IT- and product development tools.

-demonstrate skills necessary for managing and contributing to team-based engineering activities and projects in a multi-cultural environment.

Programme idea

The Automotive Engineering programme comprises a block of fundamental automotive courses which are compulsory for all students. The learning objective of these courses is to provide a platform of knowledge in automotive engineering from which the students can dive deeper into a specialized concentration. Technical, social and human aspects on the different subject are discussed.

During the two first quarters four compulsory automotive courses are given. Within the AE programme it is possible to choose one of three different specialization tracks or a general degree with no specialisation. During the third quarter three courses are therefore offered, one from each track, from which two must be chosen. The idea behind these semi-mandatory courses is to deepen the knowledge within two of the offered tracks. Depending on the track, the corresponding course has to be chosen together with one elective course. For the general degree two elective courses according to the list of recommended courses are available depending on student s choice.

During the second year, depending on the track, one additional course is mandatory together with a master thesis work (30 ECTS) in automotive engineering and three elective courses. The master thesis work should have a focus towards the content of the specialization track. For the general degree, the Automotive Engineering Project (15 ECTS) is mandatory together with two elective courses and a master thesis work (30 ECTS) in automotive engineering. With these courses the student will get a deeper automotive product development and project management focus.


The automotive engineering area cannot be fully covered by any master programme which is why three specialization tracks have been tailored. In addition to the tracks, another four elective courses should be chosen. It is strongly recommended to choose the Automotive Engineering Project as it provides an extensive training in automotive product development and project management.

Within the general degree it is possible to choose a deeper focus in for example the areas of: product development, engineering materials, applied mechanics, NVH (noise, vibration and harshness), production, industrial design, or mechatronics.


The Powertrain track is focused on energy conversion, management and control of the vehicle powertrain. Courses include studies of internal combustion engines and other primary power units, as well as of transmissions and driveline. Areas that are covered are engine processes (combustion and emissions formation), mechanical analysis of the engine, the driveline and the transmission, and control strategies and systems used to control the powertrain, e.g. like that found in hybrid vehicles. Environmental effects (fuel consumption and regulated emissions) constitute a vital part of this concentration.

Vehicle Dynamics

The Vehicle Dynamics track is focused on topics related to the dynamic operation and control of the vehicle. It provides a deeper understanding of the dynamics of the vertical, longitudinal and lateral dynamics. This includes specializations in modelling and analysis of tyre, brake and suspension. Modelling and assembly of the full vehicle, e.g. load distributions due to aerodynamic forces. Environmental effects (i.e. low fuel consumption, noise and vibrations) and active safety (e.g. side-wind disturbances and different road surfaces) are central issues within this track.


The Safety track is focused on safety systems and solutions contributing to prevent and reduce traffic accidents and injuries. The track is directed towards systems for both active and passive safety. The central courses cover impact biomechanics, behaviour science (Driver Vehicle Interaction), accident investigations and reconstructions, electric and non electric measurements and analysis techniques for transient events, advanced control theory and communication techniques.

Elective Courses

The AE-programme is an applied programme designed to meet the challenges facing the automotive industry. Automotive engineering development activities are applications of many different areas of research and engineering. It is therefore natural for the programme to have an extensive course exchange with other master programmes at Chalmers. Other master programmes from which courses can be elected are:

Automotive Industrial Design Engineering, Applied Mechanics, Product Development, Systems, Control and Mechatronics, Sound and Vibration, Advanced Engineering and Production Engineering.

Programme plan

In the first two quarters four fundamental mandatory courses are given, starting with Introduction to Automotive Engineering and Automotive Prime Movers. The aim of the introduction course is to give an overview of the automotive industry, including drivers and trends for manufacturers and suppliers. The complexity of automotive development process is outlined and the vehicle as a whole is described as a set of systems. The Automotive Prime Movers course aims at providing fundamental knowledge of various prime movers (engines) that are used in ground vehicles, which provide mechanical energy for vehicle propulsion. The course focuses on the end problem; the overall characteristics of energy conversion and transmission. Both conventional and hybrid systems are included.

During the second quarter, two courses are offered; Vehicle Dynamics and Passive Safety. The Vehicle Dynamics course describes the dynamics of a vehicle during braking, accelerating and cornering. Handling, stability and ride comfort are considered. Passive safety considers human anatomy and how injury tolerance levels and injury criteria is established. Biological, mechanical and mathematical simulation models as well as crashworthiness and vehicle compatibility will also be introduced.

In the third quarter three semi-mandatory courses are given, from which two must be chosen; Road Vehicle Aerodynamics, Hybrid vehicles and Control and Active Safety. Road Vehicle Aerodynamics considers the aerodynamic influence on the vehicle and its handling and stability. Hybrid Vehicles and Control gives a deeper knowledge in hybrids and control theory on how to manage the powertrain. The aim of the Active Safety course is to provide an overview of road vehicle safety systems that help the driver to avoid collisions or uses pre-crash sensor information to limit the injury outcome in case of a collision.

In the fourth quarter, depending on specialization, a course from corresponding track must be chosen. Vehicle Dynamics advanced dives deeper into modelling, vehicle control and simulation of vehicle motion. Internal Combustion Engines, advanced studies thermodynamics, heat transfer, combustion, emissions and engine management. The Human Aspect of Traffic Safety covers HMI and driver behaviour, driving simulation and analysis methods.

During the second year, corresponding track courses and the project course are offered. Data Acquisition, Sensors and Actuators covers identification and selection of instrumentation needed to control vehicle operations. In the Powertrain Mechanics course, mechanical design considerations of the engine, driveline from the output of the engine to the road wheel hubs are studied.

The project work is mandatory for the general degree in Automotive Engineering. The learning objective is to train the students in project planning, project management, team work and communication which are prevalent in the automotive industry. The guidance of the project work is strict and contains a detailed planning, gate meetings and deadlines.

Typically four projects will be offered and are devoted to: Chalmers Formula Student which is a project course where the business concept of a light competitive vehicle is presented, a prototype is designed, built and tested under the regulation of Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers). In Chalmers EcoMarathon the aim is to design, build and run a vehicle as far as possible on a given amount of energy under the Shell EcoMarathon rules. In addition to these Chalmers projects, two industrially oriented projects are offered; one on a passenger vehicle and one on a heavy vehicle, one of these might cover hybrid powertrain. These are normally conducted in collaboration with Volvo Cars Corp. and AB Volvo, respectively. It is usually difficult to formulate project work for students with a sustainable quality, however, the above discussed proposals have been developed with the experience from the ongoing international AE-programme and it is plausible that these four topics will survive for a foreseen time with good quality.


Applicants must hold a Bachelor degree, or the equivalent, in science or engineering (BSc or BEng) in the field of Mechanical Engineering, Engineering Physics or Automation and Mechatronics. Others may be accepted depending on their background.

Furthermore, the applicants must have completed the following courses (or corresponding):

  • Mathematics (including mathematical statistics, numerical analysis and multivariable calculus), 37.5ECTS.
  • Mechanics and strength of materials, 22.5 ECTS.
  • Engineering Materials (including metallic and polymer materials), min 7.5 ECTS (15 ECTS recommended).
  • Machine elements (applied mechanics or similar), 7.5 ECTS.
  • Control theory, 7.5ECTS.
  • Thermodynamics, 4.5 ECTS.
  • Fluid mechanics, 7.5ECTS.


The Master of Science in Automotive Engineering degree is achieved after fulfilling the requirements for the master s programme in Automotive Engineering. It is possible to achieve a specialization within the degree: Powertrain, Vehicle Dynamics or Safety.

The programme is also accredited for Chalmers 300 hec Master of Science in Engineering Civilingenjörsexamen degrees: Maskinteknik (M), Automation och Mekatronik (Z) och Teknisk Fysik (F).

Page manager Published: Thu 04 Feb 2021.