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
Credit transfer of courses
Research seminars

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 research students, supervisors and the faculty concerning the joint goal of the third-cycle education.

General Study Plan

For each subject within which third-cycle 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: main contents and structure, special entry requirements, selection and assessment bases for the ability to successfully complete the education, what examinations are included, and whether it is possible to conclude part of the education with a licentiate degree. General Study Plan for all Doctoral Studies are found here.

Individual Study Plan

Everybody admitted to Doctoral Studies has to draw up a Study Plan in consultation with the supervisor. Consequently, the contents of the education differ from one research student to another, even among those who study in the same subject. The individual study plan forms essential support to enable research students to successfully complete their Doctoral Studies within four years' full-time study. 

The Individual Study Plan is an agreement between the research student, the supervisors and the faculty about the joint undertaking to complete the Doctoral Studies.

The Individual Study Plan is to be updated and approved once every year. 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 Director of doctoral studies.


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 deputy 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. 

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: 

  • help choosing the dissertation topic and ensure that it is realistic and practicable. .
  • examine manuscripts and other materials.
  • recommend courses and relevant literature of interest to the Doctoral Student. 
  • help establishing contacts with other departments 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. 

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

When the dissertation is approaching completion, it is the duty of the supervisor to assess the dissertation script critically. The supervisor has great responsibility for the final shape of the dissertation and for not allowing a Doctoral Student to publicly defend the dissertation if it is not approvable. In addition, the supervisor has to prepare the Doctoral Student for the act itself and how to conduct the defence.

The supervisors' total compensation is 40 hours' supervision per term. This should cover all supervisor duties – tutorials, 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 doctoral student is entitled to change supervisor after written request, to the board of supervisor's, the director of doctoral studies or the doctoral support. A brief explanation for the change is given. The chairman of the Research and research education board takes decision about the change after preparation in the board of supervisors.

Withdrawal of the right to supervision and other resources.
Withdrawal of 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
Read more about Doctoral studies in Sweden


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.

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

Credit for courses at the second-cycle level may, in agreement with the Bologna system, be transferred to the Doctoral education after special assessment. This assessment is made individually

Credit transfer for courses

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 main supervisor and the examiner and then formally approved by the Director of doctoral studies. 

Research seminars

The Faculty of Culture and Society comprises several research environments. All the research seminars organised within a field  are open to the research students in that field. Public discussions about ongoing dissertation work may also take place at seminars connected with another research environment than the one to which the doctoral student has been admitted. A plan for publicly discussing parts of the dissertation work should be written into the individual study plan. These public discussions may take place at either seminars or conferences.

Last updated by Susanne Lundborg