Planning and follow-up

Last changed: 01 February 2019

The degree outcomes describe the knowledge and proficiency to be achieved by the doctoral student in order for the degree to be awarded. The process of achieving these outcomes, that is the content and form of the programme, may vary from one student to another, depending on factors such as the student's prior knowledge and the nature of the thesis work.

The supervisor and student must arrive at a common understanding of the implications of the degree outcomes for them specifically, that is they must formulate individual learning outcomes for the programme. All planning and follow-up must include a discussion of the student's current knowledge and proficiency in relation to the learning outcomes.

Planning and follow-up involve a number of compulsory steps (Figure), and must be documented in the individual study plan, ISP.

Degree outcomes doctoral degree

Degree outcomes licentiate degree


Guide for formulating individual intended learning outcomes to meet qualitative degree outcomes

Doctoral education subjects and general study plans

Individual study plan

PhD student courses

Procedure when a course or programme is unsatisfactory - counselling and support

Period of study

Annual follow-up

Midway review

Final seminar - for monograph theses

Thesis/Public defence

Regulations and forms


 Annual follow-up

The annual follow-up of the individual study plan (ISP) must be carried out by the student and the supervisor at a formal meeting, and must be based on the general syllabus for the subject, an up-to-date extract from Ladok and the most recent version of the ISP.

The follow-up should focus on the individual learning outcomes and the following must be assessed:

-        How is the programme progressing?

-        Can the programme be completed as currently planned?

-        What action can be taken to improve the programme?

-        What is planned for the coming year?

The following two checklists can be of help:

The follow-up is documented in the ISP. The principal supervisor and the student sign the commitments document, after which the entire ISP is registered and filed. The commitments document is valid for a maximum of one calendar year from the date of signature.

Individual departments/subjects may draw up additional procedures involving seminars and discussions in conjunction with the annual follow-up. If they are compulsory, these procedures are governed by the general syllabus for the subject.

Midway review

After two years' net study time, but before the midway review (halvtidsuppföljning), the doctoral student must hold a department seminar at which he/she displays sufficient ability to

  • orally present his/her thesis work;
  • discuss and analyse general and specific methods in the subject area;
  • independently discuss and analyse the results achieved.

The oral presentation must be assessed by a person who has been admitted as docent, or possesses scientific competence considered by the faculty board to be equivalent to that required of a docent in the relevant subject. A supervisor or other person with a conflict of interest may not be an assessor. Conclusions and comments from the assessment must be related to the individual learning outcomes and the nature of the subject, and must be discussed with the student in conjunction with the annual follow-up.

These instructions can be used as help for the evaluator at the midway seminar.

In conjunction with the midway review, the supervisor, doctoral student and a faculty board representative must decide whether the general prospects of the programme and the thesis being completed at the department or under the research project are sufficiently good.

Final seminar - for monograph theses

All doctoral students writing a monograph thesis must hold a final seminar no earlier than nine months before the planned date for defence of the thesis or licentiate seminar.

The doctoral student must present his/her work, answer questions and discuss comments at the final seminar. An evaluator must participate in the final seminar. The evaluator must either be admitted as a docent or possess scientific competence considered by the faculty board to be equivalent to that required to be admitted as a docent in the relevant subject. The evaluator may not be employed at the same department as the doctoral student. A supervisor or other person with a conflict of interest may not be an evaluator.

The evaluator will make a written evaluation of

  1. the quality of the doctoral student and the thesis in relation to the degree outcomes;
  2. the prospects of completing the thesis according to timetable.

The evaluator's written assessment must be attached to the application for defence of the thesis.

The faculty board may stipulate pass grade requirements for monograph theses in the general syllabus for a subject.

The principal supervisor is responsible for assessing whether the doctoral student has achieved the degree outcomes, and for ensuring that the thesis is of good scientific quality recognised within the discipline. Upon application (see chapter 8.2 of the guidelines on doctoral education), the faculty board decides whether the thesis can be defended at a licentiate seminar or public defence of a doctoral thesis, respectively.

If the principal supervisor decides that the thesis and doctoral student are ready for defence of the thesis, even though the evaluator at the final seminar strongly questioned the prospects of the thesis being completed according to timetable, the principal supervisor must apply to the faculty board for an external pre-examination. The application must address the evaluator's assessment.

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