Monitoring progress in doctoral education
To ensure that all doctoral students at Karolinska Institutet (KI) receive a quality education, a system for monitoring academic progress has been developed. Between admission and final thesis defence are a number of checkpoints that all students pass through.
Figure. Schematic outline of doctoral education at KI.
Establishment of the individual study plan
The individual study plan is established in connection to the admission to doctoral education.
The individual study plan and academic progress is followed up each year at the request of the departmental director of doctoral education.
This gives the students and their supervisors the opportunity to discuss their academic progress, making the learning towards the outcomes for doctoral degree visible, and to report on completed parts of their studies, updates to their research projects or planned courses etc., updates to the timetable or financing plan, and other important information. Revisions of the individual study plan are to be approved by the director of doctoral education or, if particularly extensive, by the head of department.
At their first annual follow-up, all doctoral students are also invited to meet with the director of doctoral education in order, for instance, to ensure that their education is proceeding according to plan.
After the equivalent of two years of full-time study, a larger follow-up is made in the form of a half-time review, for which students are to describe their projects and write a literature review. The main aim of this review is to check that progress is being made towards the outcomes for degree of doctor. Early reflection by the students over their research projects is expected to have pedagogical and quality benefits. The students’ knowledge of the field generally and of their project specifically is to be presented orally at an open seminar before a specially appointed panel comprising three independent researchers in the same field.