Outcomes for doctoral education according to the Higher Education Ordinance

Denna sida på svenska

Outcomes for the degree of doctor and the degree of licenciate [Licentiatexamen] are defined by the Higher Education Ordinance, appendix 2, and represent generic outcomes for all doctoral education within Sweden.

Outcomes for Degree of Doctor according to the Higher Education Ordinance

Knowledge and understanding

For the Degree of Doctor the third-cycle (doctoral) student shall

  • demonstrate broad knowledge and systematic understanding of the research field as well as advanced and up-to-date specialised knowledge in a limited area of this field, and
  • demonstrate familiarity with research methodology in general and the methods of the specific field of research in particular.

Competence and skills

For the Degree of Doctor the third-cycle (doctoral) student shall

  • demonstrate the capacity for scholarly analysis and synthesis as well as to review and assess new and complex phenomena, issues and situations autonomously and critically
  • demonstrate the ability to identify and formulate issues with scholarly precision critically, autonomously and creatively, and to plan and use appropriate methods to undertake research and other qualified tasks within predetermined time frames and to review and evaluate such work
  • demonstrate through a dissertation the ability to make a significant contribution to the formation of knowledge through his or her own research
  • demonstrate the ability in both national and international contexts to present and discuss research and research findings authoritatively in speech and writing and in dialogue with the academic community and society in general
  • demonstrate the ability to identify the need for further knowledge and
  • demonstrate the capacity to contribute to social development and support the learning of others both through research and education and in some other qualified professional capacity.

Judgement and approach

For the Degree of Doctor the third-cycle (doctoral) student shall

  • demonstrate intellectual autonomy and disciplinary rectitude as well as the ability to make assessments of research ethics, and
  • demonstrate specialised insight into the possibilities and limitations of research, its role in society and the responsibility of the individual for how it is used.

Research thesis (doctoral thesis)

For the Degree of Doctor the third-cycle (doctoral) student shall have been awarded a pass grade for a research thesis (doctoral thesis) of at least 120 credits.

Outcomes for Degree of Licentiate [Licentiatexamen] according to the Higher Education Ordinance

Knowledge and understanding

For a Degree of Licentiate the third-cycle (doctoral) student shall demonstrate knowledge and understanding in the field of research including current specialist knowledge in a limited area of this field as well as specialised knowledge of research methodology in general and the methods of the specific field of research in particular.

Competence and skills

For a Degree of Licentiate the third-cycle (doctoral) student shall

  • demonstrate the ability to identify and formulate issues with scholarly precision critically, autonomously and creatively, and to plan and use appropriate methods to undertake a limited piece of research and other qualified tasks within predetermined time frames in order to contribute to the formation of knowledge as well as to evaluate this work
  • demonstrate the ability in both national and international contexts to present and discuss research and research findings in speech and writing and in dialogue with the academic community and society in general, and
  • demonstrate the skills required to participate autonomously in research and development work and to work autonomously in some other qualified capacity.

Judgement and approach

For a Degree of Licentiate the third-cycle (doctoral) student shall

  • demonstrate the ability to make assessments of ethical aspects of his or her own research
  • demonstrate insight into the possibilities and limitations of research, its role in society and the responsibility of the individual for how it is used, and
  • demonstrate the ability to identify the personal need for further knowledge and take responsibility for his or her ongoing learning.

Thesis

For a Degree of Licentiate the third-cycle (doctoral) student shall have been awarded a pass grade for a research thesis of at least 60 credits.

How can the outcomes for doctoral education be achieved?

How the outcomes for doctoral education according to the Higher Education Ordinance (see above) are to be achieved shall be explained in the doctoral students’ individual study plan, with progress towards goal fulfilment assessed at annual follow-ups during their studies.

This methodical approach can help the supervisor(s) in their work and give the students a clearer picture of what is expected of them. Tracking progress on the fulfilment of the outcomes can contribute to the more effective monitoring of the students’ education as a whole, and can facilitate the dialogue they have with their supervisors.

Interaction with supervisors, research group members and the rest of the scientific community is of the utmost importance to becoming independent and achieving the outcomes for the degree of doctor. Regular formal and informal meetings with supervisors and research group members, keeping up with the latest scientific developments and gradually acquiring more responsibility and autonomy in their analyses and syntheses are essential for students in their endeavours to become independent researchers. Supervisors and research group leaders should think about how the supervisory situation and research group meetings can be structured so as to stimulate learning.

KI arranges and provides financial support to a large number of activities that go to make up a first-class doctoral education, including general science courses, project-specific courses, seminars/seminar series, symposia and scientific retreats/conferences. Supervisors might need to explain to their students what active participation in an activity entails, what is expected at a conference and so forth. The Board of research and the Board of doctoral education regularly announce travel grants for participation in international conferences and overseas research visits and courses. However, the design and content of a doctoral education is very individual, and the fulfilment of a student’s degree outcomes and ambitions of scientific autonomy are particularly dependent on the student’s own powers of initiative as regards self-development and the development of others, including interaction with the society in general.

That the outcomes for degree of doctor are well on the way to being achieved is assessed at the half-time review, which should be carried out two years after admission or when two years of full-time doctoral education or the equivalent has been completed. At the time of a student’s thesis defence, his or her supervisor attests that the outcomes as set forth in the Higher Education Ordinance have been achieved, as demonstrated by the student’s thesis and its defence. The outcomes containing a social component and that give evidence of an ability to interact with the community must be fulfilled but are not subject to formal examination.

Here are some examples of how students can achieve the outcomes for the degree of doctor (the outcomes for the degree of licentiate are worded slightly differently).

The outcomes for doctoral education – who assesses what?

KI is required to ensure that each doctoral student who graduates has attained all the outcomes for the degree of doctor. It is important that the doctoral student and the supervisor together reflect upon the student’s academic progress and think about what they need to do to ensure that the doctoral student meets these objectives. The primary responsibility for achievement in this respect lies with both the doctoral student and the principal supervisor.

The principal supervisor

It is the responsibility of the principal supervisors to ensure that doctoral students receive a quality education that is realistic in scope in relation to their individual study plans. The supervisor together with the doctoral student, is responsible for conducting an annual follow up of the doctoral education. During these follow-ups and other feedback meetings with the doctoral student, the supervisors assess the status of the research projects and how far the students have come on the way to attaining the outcomes (e.g. whether the students are able to analyse and evaluate their results, present their own research at a seminar, write a scientific article, etc.). Such sessions also provide opportunities for supervisors to give practical advice on how their doctoral students can advance in terms of their individual study plans or how these plans, including research projects, ought to be revised. This is called “formative assessment”.

When students apply to defend their theses, their supervisors are required to testify that they have, in their judgement, attained the outcomes for the degree of doctor as laid out in the Higher Education Ordinance. This requires thorough knowledge of the students’ skills and abilities in terms of these objectives. Some objectives concern collaboration with the society in general (see below), and as such are not subject to formal examination; however, students are expected to be able to make a reliable assessment of their achievements in this respect and account for how they know that they have been met. The skills required of doctoral students include being able to:

  • discuss research and research findings  with the society in general,
  • demonstrate the capacity to contribute to social development both through research and education and in some other qualified professional capacity, and
  • demonstrate specialised insight into the possibilities and limitations of research, its role in society and the responsibility of the individual for how it is used.

The half-time review board

The half-time review is an extended annual follow-up that is arranged once students are half way though their studies in order to check that the outcomes for degree of doctor are well on their way to being achieved. The board is required to assess, in consultation with the students and their supervisors, whether the students’ projects have the potential to lead to a doctoral degree, and to propose any necessary changes to their individual study plan. Progress towards the degree objectives, including the students’ development as independent researchers, is also taken into account.

Examination board

The examination board is to assess the thesis and its defence, taking into account the outcomes have been attained.

More information for the Examination board

Additional information: Intended learning outcomes in doctoral courses

All of KI’s doctoral courses are examined in terms of the intended learning outcomes as stated in the respective syllabus.

Information about course syllabi and intended learning outcomes in doctoral courses.

Doctoral educationDoctoral student