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About us - Doctoral School in Health Care Sciences

The Doctoral School aims to contribute to the development of high quality health care science with implications for clinical practice. The projects are highly integrated with health care services and are closely connected to health care providers.

The Doctoral School - A Success

Almost all students admitted to the Doctoral School complete their doctoral education and earn a PhD, see table below. In those cases when it takes longer than four years, the main reasons parental leave, and that several PhD students combine their doctoral studies with clinical work.

Evaluations of the Doctoral School in Health Care Sciences show very good results. External assessments have demonstrated that the dissertations are of high quality. The research projects in the Doctoral School are supervised by researchers with different professional background and research focus to provide high competence in the study of complex health care processes. Overall both the doctoral students and their supervisors report high satisfaction with the structure and content of the Doctoral School (FiV, NFV).


Statistics over progress at the Doctoral School
Year Admitted Half-time PhD
2001-2008 86 84 84
2010 25 25 23
2012 15 15 11
2014 15 15 3
2016 15 11
2018 15

Research and themes

The Doctoral School's activities focus on complex care processes using knowledge and methodology from different academic disciplines which can be distinguished from medical and preclinical research. The emphasis is not on specific health professionals and our doctoral students have different backgrounds including physiotherapists, nurses, occupational therapists, psychologists, physicians and designers. The Doctoral School’s research includes:

  • Research on patient-centered care
  • Research on theory, - concept and methodology in health care
  • Research on implementation of knowledge in health care

The research projects conducted at the Doctoral School from 2010 onwards are presented here.

Announcements and recruitment of PhD students

The Doctoral School has had four announcements since 2009, every other year. Fifteen research projects are selected for part-time funding for four years. The announcement and recruitment process is as follows:

  1. Call for proposals. Qualifying applicants are principal supervisors with research projects of high scientific quality relevant to health care science and appropriate for postgraduate education.
  2. A scientific review of the proposals are performed by senior researchers from different universities in Sweden. Applications are reviewed according to criteria such as relevance to health care sciences, scientific quality and potential, feasibility and suitability as a doctoral project, and clinical relevance as well as the quality of supervision. The criteria are based on guidelines established by the Board of Doctoral Education (FUS).
  3. The final decision of the selected research projects are taken by the FUS, on the basis of the scoring in the scientific review as suggested by the steering group of the doctoral school.
  4. Recruitment of doctoral students. The supervisors who are granted project funding will then participate in the recruitment process of doctoral students. The projects are advertised, a hearing is organized with presentations of the projects. Interested candidates apply to the projects and the researchers conduct interviews with presumptive doctoral students.
  5. Enrollment and admission. The supervisors inform the Steering Committee of the Doctoral School in Health Care Science of their choice of candidate for the doctoral position. When the formal decision is effected doctoral admission process will take place at each department.
  6. Start of the Doctoral School. After the doctoral admission process is complete the Doctoral School officially starts in the autumn of that year with an introductory retreat of two days after which the first course usually starts.

The Board of Doctoral Education (FUS) decided in 2017 to close down the Doctoral School in Health Care Sciences and that the call for research projects and recruitment of doctoral students in 2018 is its last. However, all admitted PhD students will be able to complete their doctoral studies.


The Doctoral School co-finances doctoral students for up to four (4) years, corresponding to the Internal KI funding for doctoral education (KID-funding). The yearly increase in the funding follows the directives from KID-funding. It is possible to study part-time, which is an advantage for students combining their education with clinical work.

Course planning

The doctoral students are offered a combination of compulsory and elective courses in health care science. Doctoral students follow Karolinska Institutet’s general syllabus for doctoral education in the subject of Medical Science including 30 credits from courses and other activities such as seminars and at least one own presentation at an international conference. At admission an individual study plan is established together with the supervisor for each doctoral student including details of the doctoral project such as planned courses and other activities.

Compulsory and elective courses

For the students starting the Doctoral School in September 2018, 23 of the 30 credits consists of obligatory courses, see table below with the course syllabus for these courses. Students admitted to the Doctoral School before 2018, 30.5 credits are obligatory (if you need information about these courses contact the Doctoral School). Allcourses are offered by the Doctoral Programme in Health Care Science (PUF-V) and provide knowledge of concepts, designs and analytical methods especially suited for multidisciplinary studies and the understanding of complex processes related to the field of health care sciences.

During the first year doctoral students should pursue at least 75 % of their time on doctoral studies and 100% during courses. For the first course in semester 1 doctoral students are automatically enrolled. For all courses but the first course students need to apply accordingly, however, the doctoral school students have prioritized admission to the courses if applied for according to the course plan.

Preliminary course planning as follows

Semester 1

3085 - Philosophy of science and research ethics, statistics, presentation techniques and information literacy (former 2507 7,5 credits

Semester 2 and 3

Choose two out of five courses offered, 8 credits. The four first courses are generally held in semester 2 and the last one in semester 3.

2673 - Introduction to qualitative methods 4 credits

2664 - Introduction to modern test theory and test/survey methodology 4 credits

2666 - Methods for statistical analysis: From variance analysis to multilevel modeling 4 credits

2520 - Interview techniques in health and care research 4 credits

3029 - Observation as research method (former 82350) 4 credits

Semester 3

3066 - Methods for systematic review 7,5 credits

For more information about doctoral (PhD) education for doctoral students and supervisors at KI.

Activities and networking

The purpose of activities such as seminars, project presentations, workshop offered by the Doctoral School is to give the possibility to advanced studies within specific topics, beside the the research project itself entail.

Doctoral students and their supervisors are expected to participate in the yearly doctoral student and supervisor retreats as well as the "Advances in Health Care Sciences Conference" arranged together with the Baltic Sea Region Network.

We encourage the students to apply and look for opportunities to spend time at research groups abroad with the aim to increase new ideas and opportunities for collaboration.

Management and organization

The responsibility of the Doctoral School in Health Care Sciences lies with the Board of Doctoral Education (FUS) at KI. The steering group of the Doctoral School is appointed by FUS and the group has representatives from several of KI’s departments as well as doctoral student representatives.

Lena von Koch holds the chair of the steering group.

Lena Wettergren is the Director of studies of the Doctoral School in Health Care Sciences.

Anna-Maria Loimi is the coordinator, placed at Widerströmska, Tomtebodavägen 18a, elevator 1, 8th floor


The Doctoral School in Health Care Sciences (FiV) at Karolinska Institutet (former National Doctoral School in Health Care Science, NFV) was established based on a decision by the Board of Doctoral Education (FUS) in 2009. Fifteen students have been admitted to the school every other year.

The school is a development of the National Health Care Science Postgraduate School (NFVO), where KI was the host university with four cooperative partners. NFVO was established in 2000 as health care science was considered a relatively new and important research area with significance for the development of health care. Since 2001 and up to date more than 100 health care professionals have graduated.