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Postgraduate courses and dissertation

Doctoral studies consist of 240 higher education credits, of which 180 credits are provided by the thesis work and the rest by courses. You can find information about this here. The doctoral student is also supported by a supervisor and an assistant supervisor, whose roles are described below.

PhD studies courses

The course component includes methodology courses (30 credits) as well as independent study and specialised courses (30 credits), chosen for their relevance to the thesis work. The course component can be completed in the form of common courses and in the form of individual courses, so-called reading courses. Tuition in methodology and specialised courses is provided in the form of seminars and lectures that deal with research problems, the structuring of theses and other issues of common interest to all PhD students.

It is also possible to attend doctoral studies courses outside one’s own immediate study environment. Both within Sweden and internationally, there are postgraduate courses that can be integrated into one’s own educational programme. The department does not pay for such stays elsewhere so interested students must apply for their own grants.

Completed doctoral studies courses are registered through the submission by the PhD student of a certificate, with a course certificate attached where applicable, to the director of studies for PhD studies. The latter ensures that the completed courses are recorded in Ladok.

Examination of courses included in doctoral studies takes place in the form deemed appropriate by the examiner in consultation with the doctoral student.

Thesis work

The thesis component consists of 180 credits and constitutes the hub of the programme. Three formal bases are devised to help the doctoral student in the various stages. Relatively early on in the work, a planning seminar is held in which the doctoral student presents his or her ideas in the form of a draft. In the middle stage, a midway review takes place, while the final draft seminar ("manuskonferens") discusses the thesis manuscript in its relatively definitive form. After internal examination ("grönläsning") of the final manuscript by two senior researchers at the Department, only the formal public defence of the thesis remains. For those approaching the end, here are some Guidelines for the Final Phase of the Dissertation Process 2017 (PDF), things to remember and consider.

The thesis can take the form of a monograph or a compilation thesis in which different parts (in the form of academic, preferably published, papers) are gathered under a summarising chapter.

A student who has attended certain second cycle courses and programmes can have the credits from these transferred to third cycle studies after a decision by the director of studies for PhD studies. This applies above all to methodology courses. The possibility of credit transfer is examined at the request of the student.


During the first semester, each group of incoming doctoral students is taken care of by an introduction team which is to meet the new students regularly, to facilitate their socialisation in the departmental environment, to help them establish contacts with other senior researchers, to give them advice on the structure of the PhD studies programme and to make a forum available to start a discussion of their thesis subjects. No personal main supervisor is appointed during this period. The supervisors are appointed by the head of department in consultation with the director of studies for PhD studies after a discussion with the doctoral student. The main supervisor should be a Professor or Associate Professor; this is not required of the assistant supervisor. The main supervisor and the assistant supervisor have the task of helping the doctoral student move the work forward from the idea stage to the finalised manuscript. The supervisors also take part in supervisory committee meetings in which the work is discussed in a larger group.

Individual study plan

Every PhD student shall have an individual study plan to structure and organize the studies. The study plan is drawn up by the supervisors and PhD student and is then signed by the head of department. The individual study plan shall include a time plan for the doctoral student’s PhD studies and thesis work, including courses, the organization of meetings with the supervisors, teaching and other departmental work and a funding plan for the PhD studies. The individual study plan shall be revised every year.

Research seminars

The department’s researchers gather regularly to discuss and comment on one another’s production, or to listen to a lecture by a guest speaker. In addition to (almost) weekly Wednesday seminars there is also a "Research Retreat", usually twice a year. Employees are encouraged to participate in the seminar activity as much as possible in order to enrich the research environment, and to disseminate interesting and current information. Regular, active participation in the general seminars and in any specialised seminars which are relevant to the student’s subject is obligatory during the entire period of study.

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Lund University
Visiting address: Paradisgatan 5H (House: Eden)
Postal address: Box 52, SE-221 00 LUND
Telephone: +46 46-222 89 52

Faculty of Social Sciences