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Admitting a doctoral student is an important long-term commitment. Not only the doctoral student's funding but also quality in teaching and supervision and a creative and open work environment must be guaranteed. In the experience of our faculty, a good study period and good scientific results are achieved by a combination of financial and social security, high-quality and professional education and a good work atmosphere both between teachers and doctoral students and among doctoral students themselves.

One of the necessary working conditions is a working space. Doctoral students should also have access to the department's equipment, staff room etc to the same extent as other departmental staff.

Funding and security

The most common form of study funding for a research training programme is employment as a PhD student, also known as a PhD studentship. Other forms of funding are a combination of employment as a teaching assistant with a study grant, scholarships and other external funding. Only those applicants who are offered a PhD studentship may be admitted to a research training programme. Applicants with other forms of funding may be admitted if the funding can be guaranteed for the whole duration of the study period and the applicant is expected to be able to finish the programme within eight years.

Graduate students with a PhD studentship are covered by the General Agreement on Salaries and Benefits (ALFA). Those with employment as a teaching assistant are also covered by ALFA if it comprises at least 20 % of full-time work, in combination with a study grant. Both graduate students with a PhD studentship and those employed as a teaching assistant are covered by the agreement on pensions (PA-03).

Salaries for holders of a PhD studentship or a combination of employment as a teaching assistant with a study grant are set in local negotiations between trade union representatives and representatives of the university. There is a special performance based salary scale for PhD students.

Study grants do not qualify the holder for ALFA, but the study grant may be retained in case of parental leave or sickness which has been approved by the Social Insurance Office (Försäkringskassan). More detailed information is available from the personnel department. Doctoral students with only a study grant are not covered by the state personal injury insurance. However, all students at state universities and university colleges are insured for personal injury from accidents in connection with their studies.

Departmental duties

PhD students can combine their studies with departmental duties. The usual combination is 80 % studies and 20 % departmental duties. Departmental duties are not primarily a way of extending the study period, but a chance to gain experience for future career opportunities. Duties may include teaching, planning, administrative work, research applications, arranging conferences etc.


For each graduate programme there is a general curriculum, determined by the faculty board.

Each person admitted to a PhD programme must draw up an individual curriculum with his or her main supervisor. This must contain a description of the course work, research and thesis work. It should contain references to current legislation and to the general curriculum for the subject. Teaching and other departmental duties should be continuously documented in the curriculum. The PhD student and the supervisor must also give an account of the progress being made in the programme of study.

The individual curriculum must be signed by the PhD student and the supervisor, approved by the head of department (or equivalent) and filed at the department. It must be followed up and revised once a year after consultation with the PhD student and the supervisor.

Supervision and support

The individual study plan can be seen as a kind of contract between the doctoral student and the supervisor where, on the conditions stated, both undertake to achieve certain goals. It is important that the doctoral student and the supervisor discuss and make clear at an early stage what they expect of each other. What can the doctoral student expect of the supervisor concerning time, presence, supervision etc? What can the supervisor expect of the student?

As well as the main supervisor, an assistant supervisor should be appointed. There are several reasons for this. The assistant supervisor may be able to contribute expertise that the main supervisor lacks. The main supervisor should at least be a qualified docent.

The doctoral student has the right to receive supervision during the time deemed necessary for the prescribed studies. After this, the university is no longer responsible for providing supervision.

The faculty board is empowered to decide that a doctoral student who substantially violates the obligations set out in the individual study plan may have the right to supervision withdrawn together with other resources.

Doctoral students are entitled to change supervisors if they request it.

Courses and teaching

Research training comprises two parts: thesis and course work.

A number of research training courses are offered during your time as a graduate student. The extent of the course work, as well as the proportion of compulsory courses varies between programmes. It is possible to take faculty-wide courses within other graduate programmes. You can also take courses at other universities and institutions of higher education. Courses are chosen in consultation with your supervisor and/or director of studies.

A high quality graduate programme must include teaching with an international perspective. Internationalisation may mean giving graduate students the opportunity to participate in international courses and conferences and present their research results for an international audience. It is just as important to give non-Swedish students equal opportunities to join research training. It has therefore become more common that research training courses and seminars are held in English so that everyone can take part, and that the environment in general is characterised by an international outlook.

Teaching may be carried out in different forms, e.g. lectures, seminars, reading courses, group work and project work.


If an applicant has successfully completed part of a research training programme at another university or institution of higher education, he or she may able have it accredited. It is always the receiving university (i.e. Linköping University ) who does the assessment and decides on the level of accreditation. The applicant can also have relevant studies at a foreign educational establishment accredited. Accreditation can only take place if the results achieved are not part of the admission requirements for doctoral studies.


The doctoral thesis

The doctoral thesis is written either as a monograph or as a compilation. The doctoral thesis should be written in either Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, English, French or German. A doctoral thesis not written in English, French or German must include a summary in one of these languages. Attached to the thesis must be a short abstract in English and Swedish, also known as a nail page. Compilation theses should consist of a summary and all the articles.

The licentiate thesis

For a licentiate degree the graduate student must have successfully completed the examinations included and have had a scholarly thesis of at least 60 credits passed. The above description of the design and language in the doctoral thesis also applies to the licentiate thesis. Students on a PhD programme may also choose to take a licentiate degree after at least 120 credits.

Page manager: helena.loborg@liu.se
Last updated: 2019-02-26