Sveriges Ingenjörer

Graduating with a doctorate

The goal of doctoral studies is to become a successful, independent researcher. This is achieved through a course element and a thesis element. The course element consists of reading and passing courses. The size of this part varies, depending on the research subject and degree level. Other types of examinations are also common in doctoral studies, such as essay writing or spoken exams. 

In theoretical departments, such as mathematics, the number of course credits may be higher than that in an experimental department. This is because doctoral candidates are expected to learn experimental set-up, laboratory procedures and method development for which no credits are awardedYou will find more about the syllabus for your particular subject at the university. 

The thesis comprises a scientific work and must be of such quality that it is publishable in scientific journals of international standard. 

Degrees and theses

Which degree can I take? And which type of thesis can I choose? The answers to these questions are found below.

There are two types of theses - monographs and summary theses. The monograph is written as a book, while a summary thesis consists of several, often previously-published, reports and articles. Linking the articles and reports is an introductory summary chapter, in Swedish called the “kappa” (coat).

Within the framework of doctoral studies there are the licentiate and the doctoral degrees. The licentiate degree may be both an independent degree and a stage on the way to the doctoral degree. 

Many doctoral candidates at the technical faculty take their licentiate degree on the way to their doctorates. 

The study period for the licentiate degree comprises a total of two years of full-time study (equivalent to 120 higher education credits) and for the doctoral degree a total of four years of full-time study (corresponding to a total of 240 higher education credits). 

During the course of these studies you belong to a research group at a department or a company (known as industrial doctoral candidate) and participate in a research project. The doctoral candidate may also independently, but with the support of supervisors, run his/her own smaller-scale project. 

Being a doctoral candidate is a job

As a doctoral candidate, you work under special circumstances with employment conditions that are different from the rest of the labour market. But even though the goal of postgraduate education is to become a successful, independent researcher, we believe that education should be regarded as a job. Salary and other conditions must be comparable to employment outside the university directly after the first degree. 

More researchers are needed 

It is important that more and more technology students go on to research. The Swedish Association of Graduate Engineers strives to make careers for doctoral candidates more attractive. 

One step is that university colleges and universities adopt a conscious strategy for efficient postgraduate education. There must be a good employment and salary structure so that doctoral candidates are motivated to complete their degrees. 

Your syllabus 

Doctoral studies are governed by a general and an individual study plan. 

The general study plan is determined by the Faculty Board. However, all doctoral candidates are entitled to their own individual study plan. 


Study plans must include:

  • Schedule for the education 
  • Commitments from doctoral candidates and faculty boards 
  • Travel and seminars that the doctoral candidate should attend 
  • Other measures that make education efficient, such as a laptop and apps, type of connection, mobile phone etc. 
Senast uppdaterad 2023-03-06
Till toppen