TRIBOS - Erasmus Mundus Master Programme in Tribology of Surfaces and Interfaces

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Location (s):

  • Portugal
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom
Coimba, Ljubljana, Lulea, Leeds


TRIBOS - Joint Master Programme in Tribology of Surfaces and Interfaces is a two year Erasmus Mundus master programme of total 120 ECTS. It is divided into four semesters during two years (from the 1st of September 20xx to the 30th of August 20xx+2), with a chance of internship with one of several groups and renown supporting and associated partners.



The key academic groups of TRIBOS+ consortium are leading and world renown in their own field of Tribology and Surface engineering. They are very complementary from point of view of surfaces, lubricants and interfaces, as well as engineering component design. Thus, their involvement in a single programme enables integration of the whole range of tribology sub-areas required for successful application solutions. The consortium of four partner universities: University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, University of Leeds, UK, University of Coimbra, Portugal, and Luleå University of Technology, Sweden, represents an outstanding added value to teaching of tribology and surface engineering, and consequently has a large impact on the industry, transport and energy sectors, as well as implementation of novel interface nanotechnologies, tribophysics and tribochemistry science in these fields, and will contribute to environment and socio-economic aspects of quality of life.

Associated Partners

Associated partners promote the study, actively participate in the management of TRIBOS+ programme, they act as board members, review and evaluate the projects and programs, help defining master program projects and thesis, offer complementary visits and seminars and offer students internship possibilities.

The key goal of the TRIBOS Joint Master Programme is to provide the students with the high-level contemporary knowledge, required for the next generation of engineers to tackle highly-interdisciplinary tribology-related problems through an interdisciplinary and complementary joint master programme about tribological surfaces, interfaces, lubricants, lubrication, as well as wear and friction mechanisms at nano and macro scale, and computational, modelling, analytical and experimental skills that are urgently needed in fields of transport, industry, medicine and energy, and cannot be obtained in a single university or even single country at so comprehensive and advanced level.

Materials science at the cutting edge.

Become a student of one of the key multidisciplinary engineering areas

Tribology is the science and technology of interacting surfaces in relative motion and of related subjects and practices. The nature and consequences of the interactions that take place at the moving interface control its friction, wear, and lubrication behaviour. Understanding the nature of these interactions at micro and nano scale and solving the technological problems associated with the interfacial phenomena constitute the essence of tribology. Tribology incorporates a number of disciplines, including mechanical engineering, materials science, mechanics, surface chemistry, surface physics and a multitude of subjects such as surface characterization, friction, wear, lubrication, thin films and coatings, materials, lubricants, and the selection and design of lubrication systems and contact properties. It forms a vital part of the engineering sciences and is one of the key engineering areas. The field of tribology, functional surfaces and interfaces is thus highly interdisciplinary and is becoming increasingly advanced in recent times. TRIBOS Joint Master Programme provides the students with the high-level contemporary knowledge, required for the next generation of engineers and scientists to tackle highly-interdisciplinary tribology-related problems.

Program structure

First year

The first two semesters are dedicated to acquire fundamental tribology knowledge, mandatory for all students, to gain a selection of key interdisciplinary basic courses related to friction and wear mechanisms at different scales, as well as contacts and role of surfaces and lubricants, which is obtained at University of Leeds and University of Ljubljana. 

First semester

All the students of each edition obtain the required fundamental knowledge about lubricants and lubrication, tribochemical reactions that additives provide at different materials (surfaces), and required conditions to achieve the formation of boundary films – thus, all fundamentals related to lubricants and surrounding environment conditions of the contacts, in the first semester at University of Leeds, UK, which is highly specialised in this area. The first semester is also purposely performed at University of Leeds, an English speaking country, for the students to equal and advance in professional terminology in English at an early stage of the international study programme. 

Second semester

In second semester, all the students allocate to Ljubljana, where the group is specialising in surface wear and friction phenomena and the role of contact engineering at different scales. Students learn about contacts and role of materials and surfaces, wear and friction mechanisms, nano and macro scale contact specifics, contact mechanics and diagnostics of mechanical components. Thus, all necessary tribological fundamentals mainly related to solid part of the contact. The University of Ljubljana also provides high-level experimental equipment to develop skills in these subjects, for students being able to experimentally and theoretically, using literature and independent study, analyse, apply, select and develop ideas about required properties of tribological surfaces, lubricants and interfaces in the contact. 


Students are encouraged to explore summer placement opportunities to be taken in July and August between 1stand 2nd year. TRIBOS partner universities and associated industrial partners will provide support but securing the placement opportunity should be done by the student.

The internship is not obligatory, but is highly recommended experience and advancement of the students’ understanding of the subject, to link theoretical and practical skills, as well as set grounds for their employment reference. 

Second year

The second year is focused on obtaining more specialised scientific knowledge and increase the level of skills towards final competences. Students select their preferences – whether further specialise in lubrication-oriented tribology or surface-oriented tribology, which are very well defined areas, with many specifics that need to be treated separately at the level of implementation. So, we offer to students exactly these two complementary areas for continuation of study, with two highly specialised and leading groups in these fields: University of Coimbra, Portugal, with expertise in materials and coatings processing, coatings development, materials and surface characterisation, and Luleå University of Technology, Sweden, with renown and leading position in integration of lubrication to mechanical components with sophisticated lubrication technology and modelling know-how. 

Third semester

The third semester given at University of Coimbra, Portugal provides in-depth specific knowledge on surface and materials processing and development, and their properties and characterisation for specific tribological output. At Luleå University of Technology, Sweden, however, students gain profound understanding on lubrication modelling, and lubrication design required for specific mechanical components, which are also comprehensively studied. A part of the third semester – in a larger “Master thesis preparation” module - also focuses on integration of so-far obtained knowledge from both fundamental-components aspects (solid-surfaces and lubricants), combined with acquired in-depth specialisation, into a definition of requirements and developing strategy toward solutions for specific tribological problem. 

Fourth semester

The fourth semester is dedicated to Project work and Master thesis, related to selected field of specialisation. Preferentially, the students stay at the two universities of specialisation - University of Coimbra and Luleå University of Technology, but each student and local mentor will closely collaborate also with mentors from University of Ljubljana and University of Leeds. Depending on projects offered each year, and students’ selection of topics, students could fully or partially perform experimental project work also at University of Ljubljana or University of Leeds, and have mentors from all four partner universities. The thesis defence is performed at the university where most of the work was done. Co-mentors from other universities are envisaged in most of the thesis.

Opportunity is About:


Candidates should be from:

Description of Ideal Candidate:

Bachelor degree must be an equivalent of 180 ECTS and comparable to the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Mechanical Engineering RRP programme, with an average grade of at least 80% (grade point average GPA) in engineering, materials science, physical sciences or chemistry.

Students that have not yet obtained the bachelor degree, but are able to show with a high level of confidence that by the end of May they will obtain their bachelor degree, can also apply.

Proof of English knowledge is required for all students from non-English speaking countries.


Deadline: January 31, 2021

Cost/funding for participants:

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