Admission to doctoral education at KI
On 1 July 2018, KI introduced new admission regulations for doctoral education. Under these regulations and in order to ensure the university’s ability to provide high quality doctoral education, the Board of Doctoral Education has decided on procedures for the different parts of the admission process.
The admission process begins with the establishment of a doctoral position (step 1), to which a prospective student is then recruited (step 2). The process ends with the head of department’s decision to accept the candidate into doctoral education (step 3), upon which an individual study plan is adopted (step 4). See below for a more detailed description of each step.
Step 1: Establishment of doctoral position
Quality assurance of: Research project, supervision and general doctoral educational environment
A prospective principal supervisor applies to his/her department to establish a doctoral position by submitting the form Establishment of doctoral position. Contact details are available on the departmental website.
An application for Green Light approval is appended to the application, therefore forming part of the assessment process for this step.
The following requirements must be met before a doctoral position can be established:
- The scientific project must be viable and suitable for doctoral study.
- The principal supervisor must satisfy the Green Light criteria – i.e. has time for supervision, a good track record and sufficient financial resources.
- The supervisor constellation must be relevant to the project.
- The research group must offer a decent doctoral education environment (see Rules for doctoral education at KI, chap. 2.6.3).
- An ethical permit (if required) must be held or planned.
Also assessed at this stage is whether there is reason to make an exemption from the requirement to advertise the doctoral position, as set out in the Higher Education Ordinance (chap. 7, section 37), see below.
To proceed to the next step in the admission process, recruitment and admission, a decision on establishment of a doctoral position is needed.
Step 2: Recruitment
Quality assurance of: The prospective student’s eligibility, suitability and ability
Assessment of eligibility
Note that the eligibility assessment procedures are still under development and that some instructions might therefore be amended.
The eligibility of applicants to an advertised doctoral position is assessed as follows:
- The applicant uploads the relevant documents to the Varbi recruitment system as instructed in the advertisement.
- University Administration officers assess the applicant’s eligibility. As of January 2019, all applicants will be thus assessed, but until then the following applies:
2.1. The recruiting supervisor flags in Varbi, with the assistance of the department’s HR administrator, the candidates that are to undergo eligibility review (max. 4).
2.2. The administrator notifies the eligibility administrator by email that it is time for the review, including the reference number of the recruitment.
2.3. The administrator is notified when the assessment has been done and the applicant’s status in Varbi changed to “not eligible” or “eligible”.
- The selection process of eligible applicants begins. When a candidate has been selected, notification is sent to the University Administration officers, who upload an “eligibility statement” for him/her. This statement is then to be printed out and appended to the admission decision.
The eligibility of applicants to a position that is exempt from the advertising requirement is assessed as follows:
- The supervisor or doctoral candidate contacts the doctoral education administrator at the department, who sends verification to the University Administration that the individual’s eligibility is to be assessed. For candidates outside Sweden, this must be done before arrival.
- The University Administration emails the prospective doctoral students further instructions on how to upload the relevant documents in Varbi for the purposes of eligibility assessment.
- If a candidate is considered eligible, an eligibility statement is sent to him/her and his/her supervisor. This statement is then to be printed out and appended to the admission decision.
An exemption from advertising requirement may be granted if:
- the prospective doctoral student is to study within the framework of employment by an employer other than the higher education institution (e.g. SLL)
- the prospective doctoral student has already begun his/her third-cycle studies at another higher education institution, or
- there are similar special grounds – KI defines special grounds as positions where the student already has been selected in a competitive recruitment process.
Assessment of suitability and ability
The department must ensure the suitability and ability of the doctoral candidate, even if the position is exempt from the advertising requirement.
Recommendations for quality-assured selection and assessing ability and suitability:
- Potential candidates are invited to the research group for interviews and/or demonstrations of ability
- A recruitment group is set up to assess candidates
- The recruiting supervisor should use existing HR competence at the department as well as KI’s recruitment guide on the web.
Step 3: Admission decision
This stage involves making the following decisions:
- To accept the applicant to doctoral education on the grounds of steps 1 and 2.
- To appoint supervisors.
- To approve the financial plan, with confirmation that the department has ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the student is supported during the planned study period.
The admission decision is taken by the head of the relevant department on the recommendation of the departmental director of doctoral education. Decisions are taken continuously when a candidate has been selected and the recruitment process concluded without delay. Note that the date of decision by the head of department is not necessarily the date of commencement of study (e.g. if the candidate has not yet arrived in Sweden).
The decision is made on the following grounds:
- The form Decision: Admission to doctoral education
- The form Financing plan, including (if relevant) testimony from other employer and details of scholarship provider
- Certificate of completed supervisor training (see Rules for doctoral education at KI chap. 6.1.1 regarding who is required to take the course)
- A check of the completed quality assessments of steps 1 and 2:
- Copy of the decision to establish a doctoral position
- Eligibility statement from the University Administration
- A description of the processes of selection and ability/suitability assessment.
After admission, a decision is also usually taken on employment. Further information on the employment and funding of doctoral students.
Contact details are available on the departmental website.
Step 4: Individual study plan (ISP)
Quality assurance of: The individual study plan
The Higher Education Ordinance (chap. 6, section 29) provides that an individual study plan (ISP) shall be drawn up for each doctoral student. The ISP describes the scientific project, the courses and other learning activities planned, and how the student, within the research field in question and on the basis of the specific project, is to attain the intended learning outcomes of doctoral education. The ISP remains as a roadmap for the doctoral student and his/her supervisors. A thoroughly worked-out ISP makes expectations clear and provides a solid ground for quality supervision.
- Work on the ISP begins the moment studies commence (note that the research and financing plans have already been prepared, see steps 1 and 3).
- The student and supervisor are to submit a proposed ISP within a month of the commencement of studies.
- The director of doctoral studies makes sure that it is correctly completed and thorough.
- The ISP seminar (see below).
- The director of doctoral studies approves the ISP (provided that the head of department has delegated the right of decision). All doctoral students are to have their ISP approved and adopted within three months of the commencement of studies.
The ISP system
- To serve as an introductory seminar and to welcome the new student.
- To provide the student with an opportunity to present the research project from his/her perspective and to obtain feedback on it.
- To be a learning activity for the student (note that the seminar is to be held in English).
- To help the department ensure that all doctoral students have an ISP.
The form of the seminar varies from department to department. See the relevant departmental website or contact its director of doctoral studies for more details.
UKÄ’s regulatory decision on KI’s admission process
The Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) concluded in is regulatory decision of 13/3 2018 that the admission process KI applied for its doctoral students contravened the Higher Education Ordinance and the Higher Education Act. KI’s admission procedure for doctoral students has therefore been amended in accordance with the UKÄ’s clarification.
The following points were raised:
- It is not permitted to have what may be understood to be a trial period prior to admission to doctoral education. A candidate for a doctoral position is to be admitted as soon as the recruitment process is completed.
- Candidates may only be selected from amongst eligible applicants. Eligibility must therefore be assessed before the selection process.
- The individual study plan (ISP) is to be drawn up in consultation with the admitted doctoral student and thus may not be established and approved until after the admission decision.