The Board of the Faculty of Sciences has resolved that decisions to admit doctoral level students to Licentiate studies may be made by the Dean of the Section concerned.

The curriculum was adopted by the Board of the Faculty of Sciences on July 1st, 2007.

1. Description of the subject

Physical chemistry employs the fundamental laws of physics to explain chemical and biochemical processes. The subject covers three major areas; 1) Chemical spectroscopy, studies of interaction between electromagnetic radiation and matter. 2) Chemical thermodynamics, studies of matter at equilibrium. 3) Chemical dynamics, describing the matter under change. Modern physical chemistry uses a molecular point of view and is strongly coupled to quantum mechanics and computational chemistry.

2. Aim and purpose of the education

The education is aimed at giving the student, on the one hand a deeper scientific schooling by authoring a dissertation and, on the other, wider knowledge within the subject area. The scope and content should be suited to making the education an adequate basis for independent scientific research, for collaboration with other scientists, for teaching at the undergraduate level and for supervision of doctoral students. The education should also make the student well prepared for other societal functions that require profound insights into chemistry and chemical research methods.

The education leads to a Licentiate or to a PhD

3. Qualification requirements and entrance qualifications

For eligibility to doctoral level studies, the applicant must fulfil the requirements for both basic eligibility and specific eligibility, and have the further abilities required for following and completing the curriculum.

3.1 Basic eligibility

For basic eligibility to doctoral level studies, the applicant will have:

  1. taken a second (master) level academic degree, or

  2. fulfilled course requirements for at least 240 academic credits, of which at least 60 should be at the second level, or

  3. in some other way, in Sweden or abroad, acquired generally corresponding competence.

The Board of the Faculty of Science may exempt an individual applicant from the basic eligibility requirement, if there are specific reasons.

3.2 Specific eligibility requirements

For specific eligibility to doctoral level studies in physical chemistry, the applicant should have taken a BSc (fil. kand.) degree with chemistry, chemical engineering or physics as major subject, and should have carried out and passed an independent task within the subject area, comprising at least 30 second level academic credits.

For specific eligibility the applicant may also in some other way, in Sweden or abroad, have acquired generally corresponding competence.

4. Admission, selection

The Board of the Department of Physical, Inorganic and Structural Chemistry makes the decision to admit a student to doctoral level education.

The number of applicants that may be admitted to doctoral level studies is limited by the possibility of offering supervision and other adequate study conditions, and by financing of studies. To doctoral level studies the Board of the Department may only admit applicants who have a doctoral studentship or have been awarded a student grant for doctoral candidates. Applicants with some other kind of financing may be admitted if the Board expects the financing to be guaranteed during the whole course of studies, and that the applicant can devote enough time to complete the studies within eight years.

Selection among eligible applicants should be based on their ability to follow and profit by the education. In practice, this means that we will evaluate acquaintance with theory and experimental skill within the subject area, aptitude for oral and written expression in Swedish as well as in English, analytical skill, creativity, power of independent initiative, and ability to co-operate. The evaluation of these criteria will be based on the relevance of earlier studies, academic course grades obtained (especially second level courses), quality and scope of the independent task, references, interviews and letters of intent.

5. PhD education, organization of studies

5.1 General considerations

The PhD studies will normally require four years of full-time work (240 academic credits). The curriculum comprises course studies and a dissertation as parts. A Licentiate stage should normally be comprised.

5.2 Individual syllabus

Each doctoral candidate shall have an individual syllabus to follow, approved by the department board in consultation with the doctoral candidate and his/her supervisor.

The individual syllabus should comprise:

  • a research plan and time schedule for the student’s doctoral level education

  • a syllabus of courses for the student’s education

  • a description of other scientific activities such as seminars and literature studies

  • a description of possible other obligations (student’s or department’s) during the course of study

  • a complete financing plan for the student’s doctoral level education

The individual syllabus should be re-evaluated by the Department at least once per year. To this end, the doctoral student and the supervisor are to inform the Board about the progress of the studies. The Board may then, or when otherwise required, make necessary changes to the syllabus. Before a change is effected, the doctoral candidate and the supervisor must have an opportunity to comment. The doctoral candidate and the supervisor have to state in writing that the individual syllabus and the changes thereto are known to them.

5.3 Courses

The combined length of the courses comprised should amount to 60 academic credits. The courses comprised are to be selected by the supervisor in consultation with the student. The introductory course of the chemistry section for doctoral level students is recommended.

Second-level courses and specialized courses, taken before admittance to doctoral level studies and not used to attain basic or specific eligibility, may be included in the doctoral level syllabus to the extent of at most 30 academic credits, if the person responsible for doctoral level education within the subject area so decides.

The following rules are in effect for allotting academic credits at the doctoral level:

  1. Courses followed up by examination at the second and doctoral levels are counted in accordance with the system used at the first and second levels of the Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Social Sciences and Faculty of Science; i.e., one term of full-time studies counts as 30 academic credits.

  2. First (bachelor) level courses in other subjects (e.g. mathematics) are normally counted at half nominal value; i.e. one term of full-time studies counts as 15 academic credits.

  3. Certain first level chemistry courses may give credits at the doctoral level. Credits are counted as for first level courses in other subjects, i.e. normally at half nominal value.

  4. First level courses may not be added up to more than 15 academic credits.

  5. Credits may be given for international courses without examination, at a maximum of 5 academic credits per course.

Compulsory courses are prescribed by the department board.

5.4 Dissertation

As part of the curriculum, the doctoral candidate has to write a scientific dissertation. The dissertation is intended to show the student’s ability to solve an assigned research problem independently in a scientifically satisfactory manner – optionally as a teamwork contribution.

The dissertation should fulfil reasonable qualitative requirements for acceptance in a series of scientific publications.

The doctoral dissertation may be framed either as an integral, self-contained scientific publication (monograph) or as a series of scientific papers with a brief summary. The scientific paper may be authored jointly with other persons. The work accomplished by the doctoral candidate must be clearly discernible, however, if it is a teamwork contribution. The dissertation should preferably be written in English.

5.5 Teaching

Each course included is not taught every academic year, which must be taken into account when planning the studies. Courses taught in related subjects may also be of interest to the doctoral candidate.

The student should also actively contribute to the group seminars that regularly discuss current scientific results. Certain courses or certain instruction may be conducted in collaboration with other departments. The student should take advantage of opportunities to attend lectures both within his/her own subject area and related subjects.

5.6 Supervision

For each doctoral candidate, the Board of the Department shall appoint one principal supervisor and at least one co-supervisor. At least one of the supervisors must be a teacher or researcher of docent status and with permanent tenure at Stockholm University and at least one of them must be a formally trained supervisor or have equivalent competence.

The doctoral candidate has a right to supervision during the time considered necessary for completion of the stipulated curriculum comprising 240 academic credits, if the Board of the Faculty of Science does not decide otherwise in virtue of the Higher Education Ordinance, chapter 6, § 37. A doctoral student who wishes to change supervisor should apply to the Board of the Department to have this request granted. The individual syllabus will then have to be revised.

The principal supervisor has to inform the Head of Department yearly about the progress of the education of the doctoral candidate. This is effected by revision of the individual syllabi, which should be accessible at the department.

It is the duty of the principal supervisor, in cooperation with the person responsible for doctoral level education within the subject area, to assess when the dissertation work has progressed far enough to fix the time for public defence or Licentiate seminar and, in consultation with the Head of Department, to propose public examiner and examination board, or Licentiate thesis examiner.

5.7 Knowledge examination and public defence of dissertation

In order to obtain a degree, the student must obtain a pass, both for the courses comprised and for the dissertation.

Each course generally ends with an oral or written examination. In some cases, the examination may be concurrent with instruction or laboratory work. Examinations are graded pass or fail.

A student who has passed an examination that forms part of the doctoral level curriculum has a right to transfer this grade to other institutes of higher education.

The dissertation must be orally defended at a public examination. The dissertation is graded pass or fail. The grade is decided by an examination board, which is appointed by the faculty board, separately for every dissertation. The principal supervisor and the examiner may be present at meetings of the examination board, and may participate in the discussions but not in the decisions. Only if there are specific reasons, may a supervisor be appointed as a member of the examination board. The grade given to the dissertation must be decided with regard both to the content and to the defence.

6. Further directives

The scientific literature within the subject area is largely written in English, and is often presented in a guise that makes great demands on the reader’s knowledge of English. One prerequisite for the doctoral level curriculum to be completed within the allotted time is therefore that the student should have adequate ability in this respect.

Decisions about course texts for the various courses will be made in a way to be prescribed by the Board of the Department. Directives for doctoral level education are to be found in the Higher Education Ordinance (SFS 2006:1053) chapters 5–7, 10, 12 and Appendix 2.

Doctoral level education will be conducted to the extent that available resources allow.