Within the engineering sciences the term "continuous system" means a system whose state space is described by a continuous family of parameters. Continuous systems occur frequently in physics and other natural sciences, in mechanics, electricity and other engineering sciences, in economic sciences, etc. To describe a continuous system one is in general led to partial differential equations (PDE).

One aim of the course is to provide mathematical tools, and the ability to use them, for the whole chain model building - analysis - interpretation av solutions to PDE:s appearing for such systems. Another aim is the converse: to lay a foundation for a general competence in mathematics, useful in further studies as well as in professional activities, by showing how abstract mathematical concepts, such as Hilbert spaces, may be used in concrete applications. A further aim is that the doctoral student should become acquainted with the use and usability of software packages for computation and simulation.