Utskrift från Malmö universitets webbplats www.mah.se


Doctoral Education is based on a combination of independent study, group supervision, individual supervision, seminars and courses. The contents of the education thus looks different for individual Doctoral Students, even for those who study within the same subject.

Go straight to the section on:
General Study Plan
Individual Study Plan
Doctoral courses
Research seminars
Doctoral student package
Research ethics

In the Higher Education Ordinance the general goals of Doctoral Studies are stated. The subject-specific goals are stated in the general Study Plan for each subject. The individual study plan is an agreement between doctoral students, supervisors and the faculty concerning the joint goal of the doctoral education.

General Study Plan

For each subject within which doctoral education is organized, there shall exist a general Study Plan (Higher Education Ordinance, Ch. 6 section 26) ratified by the faculty board. The general Study Plan comprises for example main contents and structure and entry requirements.

Individual Study Plan

No later than 3 months after admission, an individual study plan will be established by the doctoral student, supervisor and examiner The individual study plan is an important formal document that regulates the relationship between the university and the doctoral student. It helps to ensure good quality in doctoral studies, as well as ensuring that the doctoral student is given a structure and good conditions for success in his/her work. It must contain commitments from the university as well as the doctoral student, and a timetable for the doctoral education. The plan is an important tool for supporting the progress of the doctoral student and is an instrument for annual reviews.

The Individual Study Plan is to be updated and approved once every year. In connection with the update the doctoral students finance plan should also be updated.

The format of the Individual Study Plan follows an electronic form. After being assessed by the Board of supervisors,the Study Plan is approved by the responsible of doctoral studies at the department.


In connection with the admission, every Doctoral Student is assigned at least one supervisor, who is responsible for supporting the Doctoral Student at the early stages of the Doctoral Studies. According to the Higher Education Ordinance (Ch. 6 section 28), every Doctoral Student is to have two supervisors, one of whom is appointed Main Supervisor. Several supervisors may be appointed, if there is, for example, need for specialist competence in the intended dissertation project.

The Main Supervisor should have at least docent (associate professor) competence. At least one of the supervisors must have undergone supervisor training or be assessed as having the equivalent competence. The gender balance is taken into account when the supervisor is appointed and they are proposed by the board of supervisors and appointed by the Dean.

It is recommendable to clarify right from the beginning of the studies what the roles of supervisor and Doctoral Student involve and their mutual expectations. Guidelines for cooperation and responsibilities should be entered into the annually revised individual study plan. It is important to continuously evaluate how the supervision process works. The research student has the final responsibility for the dissertation work but must not proceed with plans that have not been approved by the supervisor

The supervisor's duty is to support and encourage the Doctoral Student, while simultaneously maintaining a critical attitude.

During the period of study the supervisor is expected to for instance: 

  • support the doctoral student in the choice of dissertation topic, and ensure that it is realistic and practicable
  • support the doctoral student when ethical issues in the research arises
  • examine manuscripts and other materials
  • recommend courses and relevant literature of interest to the Doctoral Student
  • provide support to the doctoral student in establishing contacts with other departments/institutions and collaborative partners in Sweden and abroad
  • contribute to enabling the Doctoral Student to attend and participate in international conferences and meetings
  • recommend funds from which grants can be applied for
  • take into account gender equality and equal treatment issues.

The need for supervision may vary over time. It is the joint responsibility of supervisors and Doctoral students to make sure that supervision actually takes place and that joint decisions are followed up. A plan for the supervision is to be entered into the individual study plan

The supervisors' total compensation is 80 hours' supervision per year. This should cover all supervisor duties – supervising meetings, reading the research student's texts, etc. It is the responsibility of the principal supervisor to distribute the time among all the supervisors and make sure that this is documented in the individual study plan. 

The main supervisor has the main responsibility to approve the thesis before the examination.

The doctoral student is entitled to change supervisor after written request, to the board of supervisor's. A brief explanation for the change is given. The dean takes decision about the change after preparation in the board of supervisors.

Withdrawal of the right to supervision and other resources may occur if the doctoral student overrides his / her commitments. It is extremely unusual that resources are withdrawn. Resource withdrawals are determined by the Vice Chancellor


In connection with the admission, the doctoral student receives a specially appointed examiner who ensures that the courses are relevant to the doctoral student's education. The examiner follows the progression and atteinment of learning outcomes with regard to the course component of the PhD studies.

The examiner must hold the qualifications of an associate professor or higher and have experience in supervising doctoral students in the research subject concerned.

Doctoral courses

For the Doctoral degree in Culture and Society successfully completed courses of 60 higher education credits are required. For the Licentiate degree the requirement is 30 credits. You decide which courses to attend in consultation with your Supervisor and Examiner. The courses have to be documented in the individual study plan. Credits may also be given for seminar participation.

Malmö University offers a selection of faculty-overarching research courses.
Read here about overarching courses

In addition, individual Doctoral Studies programs offer their own courses, which are often tailored to the general syllabus of the subject. Courses at Doctoral Studies level are also offered in cooperation with other universities and research schools.

Click here for Doctoral Studies courses at the Faculty of Culture and Society.

The faculty is responsible for enabling doctoral students to complete their studies in agreement with the individual study plan. 

Doctoral courses offered by Malmö University go straight to Ladok for registration. The main supervisor and examiner approves which courses may be included as part of the degree. Doctoral students should continuously ensure the main supervisor's approval of their course attendance, preferably in advance. 

Applications for credit transfer of Doctoral courses from other universities are made on a special form to be signed by the doctoral student and main supervisor and foramllay approved by the examiner.  

Research seminars

Research seminars are organised at the department level, or in cooperation between departments, where doctoral students present their work. Start seminars, mid-term seminars and final seminars are obligatory. The student is recommended to participate in national and international conferences.

Doctoral student package

In order to secure the doctoral student's opportunity to complete his/her doctoral studies the student is guaranteed to be able to utilize an amount of SEK 50 000 during the study with the ultimate goal doctorate and half the amount for a licentiate degree. The amount relates to the entire study no matter how long it is. Against the sum costs and expenses linked to doctoral education is deducted as costs for:

  • Conference trips
  • Short contact and seminar trips
  • Research trips and field work
  • Purchase of necessary literature and equipment for thesis work
  • Doctoral courses 
  • Other expenses necessary for work with the thesis

It is the responsibility of the doctoral student and supervisor to plan so that the thesis can be completed with available funds. The funds can be both external funding and faculty funding.

Research ethics

From 1st January 2004, there has been a new Act of Parliament in force with regard to the ethical vetting of research relating to human beings (Act of Parliament on the Ethical Research). The Act encompasses research on living persons but also research on the deceased and on biological material obtained from human beings and research involving the management of sensitive personal information. Refer to the Act on the ethical review of research and the Government Bill 2002/03:50

On 1st June 2008, certain amendments to the Act of Parliament on the Ethical Vetting of Research came into force - the Act's definition of research has, for example, been amended to make it clear what research activities can be subjected to ethical vetting in according with the Act. The Act's area of application has been widened so that all research involving the processing of sensitive personal information should be ethically vetted, regardless of whether or not the researcher has given his / her approval. A further broadening of the Act's area of application is the ethical vetting of research, which is carried out using a methodology that involves an obvious risk of injuring the researcher. Government Bill 2007/08:44

As from 25 May 2018, the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies in all EU member states. GDPR strengthens the rights of the individual in terms of personal integrity and brings a lot of changes to anyone who processes personal data. Read more about GDPR on the Data Inspection website and on the EU website.

Read more about ethical guidelines and laws that regulate and make ethical demands on the research process on the Scientific Council's side CODEX

Malmö University has established Council for Research Ethics that will work to promote good practice in research.

Last updated by Susanne Lundborg