Official Chalmers page


There are four master courses related to security at Chalmers (Cryptography, Computer Security, Network Security, Language-based Security), but there are no advanced courses in Security. The PhD students from the two security groups (Language-based Security and System Security) would like to have a PhD course on advanced security topics.

Course responsible: Tomas Olovsson

Potentially interested students can sign-up here, including a pre-liminary choice of topic: PhD Security Course Sign-Up

Suggested Course Names

  • Frontiers of Security Research
  • Advanced Topics in Security
  • ...

Suggested Format*

  • Seminar course of 7 - 14 Weeks and 7.5 credits
  • 1 session per week (2 hours): 2 presentations per session
  • Every student must choose 2 papers (published in recent years, +1 topic introduction paper which may be older) from a top conference related to security, for instance:
  • Every student must give a presentation of his/her chosen topic, which goes deeper than the chosen reading material (otherwise it will be boring)
- Each presentation (+ discussion) covers one topic - short overview + one interesting security problem/solution from this topic
  • Every student must read the chosen papers before the presentation
- All intro papers must be read
- However, students may opt to skip reading the advanced papers of 2 topics of their choice
  • Every student must create a short quiz to check if the papers were actually read (quiz must be approved by instructor)
  • Every student has to write a short paper (~ 4 pages) regarding his/her topic (e.g. a literature review, how it integrates into the student's own research, open research questions, etc.)
  • The papers will be peer-reviewed (exact process to be determined at beginning of course)
 *This setup may require some minor changes, based on the actual number of course participants. 

Pro's and Con's of this "conference-based" format

+ Makes the course easily repeatable (aim: every 2 years)
+ Guarantees tight integration with recent, 'hot' research
+ Encourages research practice of engaging with material from the top conferences
+ Forces people to stay up to date with developments in their field
+ Minimizes workload for teachers (no need to come up with reading material)
- Course content is dependent on participants, so the content is not known in advance
- Forces people to deal with areas outside their interests

Hour Estimation for Credit Justification (7.5 ECTS ~ 200 hours)

  • Literature: 7 topics x 3 papers x 5 hours = 105 hours
  • Presentation preparation: 24 hours
  • Presentation attendance: 7 lectures x 2 hours = 14 hours
  • Writing paper: literature review (~8 papers x 5 hours) + writing (24 hours) = 64 hours
  • Peer review: 5 hours?
  • Total estimate: 212 hours

Course Evaluation Summary

  • Every student must give a presentation and prepare a short quiz on his/her 3 chosen papers
  • Every student must read all chosen papers (exception outlined above), to be checked by short quiz at the beginning of a session
  • Every student must write a short paper (~ 4 pages) on one topic, and peer review some others
  • Every student must attend 80% of the seminars (exceptions can be granted, compensated by additional writing assignments)


We prefer to stretch the course over LP3 and LP4, e.g. to have the first setup meeting in LP3 (to choose topics, meet the other participants, decide on schedule), but start the seminars in LP4. This gives enough time to choose interesting papers, do the literature review for the presentation and to actually prepare the presentation.