The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here:

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Doctoral studies

On this page you can find information regarding individual study plan, courses and thesis work.

On this page you will find information regarding your doctoral studies. On the links in the below bullet list, you will find other related information for your doctoral studies:

Individual study plan

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.

Individual study plan

Discussion on expectations

To ensure that you and your supervisor have the same expectations, we have produced material for a discussion in which you and your supervisor receive a number of questions to be answered individually, and then discussed jointly. 

Material for a discussion about expectations (docx, 25,2 kB, new window)

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. 

A ”reading course” is a third cycle (PhD level) course that does not involve any teaching. There are typically only one or a few participants who take part in the course. A reading course can deal with broad overviews of the field (i.e., “classics within IR”) or can be more narrowly focused on a particular set of theories or topic areas. 

Reading courses for 7.5 university credits (“högskolepoäng”) should include around 2500 pages of reading material, but this can vary depending on the nature of the texts. (A large number of articles, for example, could allow for a somewhat lower total number of pages.) 

The supervisor should send a proposed list of readings to the director of studies for review. Examination is performed by a full or associate professor (“professor” or “docent”) at the department. The course is examined on the basis of a written paper of around 10-15 pages and/or through an oral examination. 

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 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.

Monograph theses

A monograph thesis is usually a unified text written by a single author, divided into chapters, and dealing with a single theme. It is recommended that doctoral students who wish to write this type of thesis should direct their efforts accordingly right from the beginning, or at least at an early stage in the thesis-writing process. The structure of the work should be reflected in the individual study plan.

The length of monograph theses varies. The faculty’s printing grant, however, has a fixed ceiling which is determined on a yearly basis. In addition to other expenses related to the public defense of the thesis, this amount must suffice to cover the cost of printing a mandatory edition of copies (contact the Director of PhD Studies for the exact number). The thesis should be no longer than 300 printed pages. A thesis which is not written in English must be accompanied by a summary in English. 

Compilation theses

A compilation thesis should contain a number of scholarly essays as well as a summarizing introductory chapter (“kappa”), which clarifies what total contribution to research the assembled articles represent. As with a monograph thesis, an overall assessment is made of the scholarly quality of the compilation thesis. If the author of the thesis has produced a scholarly work equivalent to a monograph thesis, the compilation thesis can be put forward for public defense. 

It is recommended that doctoral students who wish to write this type of thesis direct their efforts accordingly right from the beginning, or at least at an early stage in the thesis-writing process. The structure of the work should be reflected in the individual study plan. 

Usually, three to five scholarly essays are included in the thesis. The essays are to be already published or publishable works, either in journals or in scholarly anthologies. The thesis should contain at least one article accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. An example of the contents of a thesis of this type would be a published article, a submitted article, a chapter from an anthology and an article manuscript. 

At least two of the essays must have been written by a single author, and preferably no more than one should be co-authored with the supervisor and/or assistant supervisor. In co-authored works, the division of work between the various authors must be documented in some way. The length of the essays and the number of co-authored essays, just as the number of authors these have, are weighed together in the assessment of the number of articles the thesis should contain. 

The purpose of the introductory chapter (“kappan”) is to act as an overview, in which the individual essays are placed in context and their total contribution is highlighted. The recommended length of the summarizing chapter is around 10,000 words. This is to be considered, however, in light of the content of the articles. An introductory essay should strive to deepen and broaden those features of the dissertation’s topic that has not been given due attention in the articles. 

The essays should address a common theme but must be independent of each other from the point of view of content. Normally, the majority of essays should be written in English. 

Licentiate: Monograph or compilation thesis

The department has developed internal guidelines for monograph theses and compilation theses for a degree of licentiate. 

Guidelines for a degree of licentiate


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. 

Guidelines for final draft seminars (manuskonferens)

Guidlines for internal examination (grönläsning)

For those approaching the end, here are some guidelines for the final phase of the dissertation process, to remember and consider.

Guidelines for the Final Phase of the Dissertation Process


Do you have questions regarding your employment? 

Magdalena Bexell
Deputy Head of Department
Telephone: 046- 222 01 66
magdalena [dot] bexell [at] svet [dot] lu [dot] se

Do you have questions regarding your education?

Fariborz Zelli
Director of Studies (Research Studies)
Telephone: 046 222 47 64
E-mail: fariborz [dot] zelli [at] svet [dot] lu [dot] se

Do you have questions regarding your employment?

We have compiled information about the level of financing and activity, salaries, extended employment and what to do in case of a conflict with your supervisor.

Information about doctoral studentships