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AK2040 Theory and Methodology of Science with Applications (Computational Science) 7.5 credits

The aim of the course is to provide a deeper understanding of the methodological and underlying philosophical issues that arise in science, and inspire to reflection on such issues within the student’s own area of study. After having taken the course the student should have acquired basic knowledge of the foundational issues in the methodology and philosophy of science.

Choose semester and course offering

Choose semester and course offering to see current information and more about the course, such as course syllabus, study period, and application information.

Headings with content from the Course syllabus AK2040 (Autumn 2022–) are denoted with an asterisk ( )

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

The following is an incomplete list of topics covered in the course.

  • Scientific knowledge
  • Definitions
  • Hypothesis testing
  • Observations and measurements
  • Experiments
  • Models
  • Statistical reasoning
  • Causes and explanations
  • Qualitative methods
  • Algorithmic reasoning and its limitations
  • Risk and decisions of risks
  • Research ethics
  • Philosophical theories about mathematical objects’ nature
  • Theorethical representation theorems of measurement
  • Theoretical virtues in mathematical models

Intended learning outcomes

After having completed the course, the student should, with regards to the theory and methodology of science, both orally as well as in writing, be able to:

  • Identify definitions and descriptions of concepts, theories and problem areas, as well as identify the correct application of these concepts and theories.
  • Account for concepts, theories and general problem areas, as well as apply concepts and theories to specific cases.
  • Critically discuss the definitions and applications of concepts and theories as they applies to specific cases of scientific research.

These learning objectives are examined in writing via a digital exam and orally via seminars. 

  • chart the main lines of thought in some different philosophical theories about the nature of mathematical objects and our knowledge of them.
  • describe the content of some representation theorems from the theory of measurement, and discuss the import of these theorems concerning the relationship between mathematical structures and the material world.
  • compare different mathematical models of one and the same phenomenon with regard to theoretical virtues such as simplicity, agreement with observations, etc.

These learning objectives are examined in writing via a project work.

Course disposition

No information inserted

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites

General requirements for master’s programmes. Proficiency in English corresponding to English B / English 6 in Swedish gymnasium.

Recommended prerequisites

No information inserted


No information inserted


All material is avaiable through the course platform. The following literature has previously been used:

·       Till Grüne-Yanoff ” Justified Method Choice – Methodology for Scientists and Engineers” (kompendium).

·       Articles distrubuted during the course.

Examination and completion

If the course is discontinued, students may request to be examined during the following two academic years.

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F


  • PRO1 - Project, 3.0 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • SEM1 - Seminars, 1.5 credits, grading scale: P, F
  • TEN1 - Examination, 3.0 credits, grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

TEN1 is examined via a digital exam. The examiner decides, based on recomendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, if a custom-made examination for students with documented disabilities is appropriate.

Other requirements for final grade

Fullfilled seminar requirements, project requirements and written exam.

Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

No information inserted

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

Students have to right to take the exam on TEN1 up to five times and thus potentially improve (“plussa”) their grade. After that, the examiner has to formally allow such an attempt at improving (“plussa”) one’s grade. 


Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

Course web

Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

Course web AK2040

Offered by

Main field of study

This course does not belong to any Main field of study.

Education cycle

Second cycle

Add-on studies

No information inserted


Henrik Lundvall (

Supplementary information

Course coordinator: Henrik Lundvall