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Doctoral education

The Doctoral Programme in Planning and Decision Analysis includes research that aim to improve and critically examine bases for planning and decisions. In these studies theories from many different fields of knowledge are used. Urban and Regional Studies, which is one of three specializations within the Doctoral Program Planning and Decision Analysis, has a specific focus on actors who in various ways seek to influence the built environment, their power resources and institutional conditions, the division of roles between them and forms of interaction and conflict management.

Scientific methods used within the field come from both technical science, natural science, the humanities and social science disciplines. A particular focus is directed towards theories and methods for a sustainable development.

“The doctoral programme in Planning and Decision Analysis with a focus on Urban and Regional Studies is the perfect choice for anyone who already possesses an expert professional understanding of urban and regional development issues – and is looking to further develop this knowledge by way of thorough reflection and rigorous analysis.

It is the largest and most established research education in our field in all of Scandinavia, and its home department, the Division of Urban of Regional Studies, was in its latest Research Assessment Exercise (2012) described by the expert panel as a “research environment that is conducive to producing research of world-leading quality” as well as a “model for planning schools across the world”.

The doctoral programme is designed to provide students with skills in state-of-the-art research methodology at the intersection of the social sciences, architecture and environmental studies. It further provides a large degree of freedom for prospective students to design their own curriculum in such a way that it answers to their individual interests and knowledge pursuits.

Within the program we have the pleasure to offer thesis supervision from internationally leading scholars in many subfields of Urban and Regional Studies, including (but not limited to) Planning Studies, Urban Design and Regional Science.

Our strong international links with other leading research institutions provide our research students with ample opportunities to expand and strengthen their own professional and scholarly networks.

Many alumni from the doctoral programme go on to pursue successful academic careers in Urban and Regional Studies, as well as related fields such as architecture, conservation management and environmental studies. However, graduates from the program have also proven to be very attractive on the broader professional job market, and have come to assume managerial and expert positions in the private or public sector after finishing their doctoral education with us.

Are you are curious to learn more about the details of the programme? Then I would recommend that you take a look in the PhD Student Handbook that you can find on the homepage. If you are interested in applying for the program or have any other questions – don’t hesitate to get in touch!”

Sherif Zakhour

The most rewarding aspect of working as a PhD student in URS is to me the diversity of people in the department. Not only in terms of its international character, but also the many different disciplines, positions and perspectives, which actually mirrors closely the field of planning itself. If I need input on infrastructure, political theory, planning practice, urban design, or whatever, I can just walk up and down the corridor. It truly is interdisciplinary here.

Karin Winter

What I really appreciate with URS is the warm collegial atmosphere, the freedom to explore various fields of research and last but not least the outstanding conversations that take place around the coffee machine!

Ekane Nelson Bellewang

My PhD is on Sanitation and hygiene Governance and falls within the research programme or training in Planning and Decision Analysis. This programme is interdisciplinary and equips me with tools and concepts for researching and understanding decision-making, policy, and implementation processes.

Anna Lundgren

In 2013 I got the opportunity from Stockholm County Council to do an Industrial PhD at Urban and Regional Studies at KTH. The courses at the PhD programme, combined with the courses I selected for my PhD work, has provided me with a vast knowledge on planning, decision analysis and governance from different perspectives and disciplines. The Higher Seminars at Urban and Regional Studies where PhD students and researchers present their ongoing work is a great opportunity to learn and share, and they also contribute to the friendly atmosphere and good ambience. Many of the researchers at the department have extensive international networks and are publishing in high ranked international journals. This is not only very inspiring when you are a PhD student, but also important for the quality and sometimes helpful when you want to get introduced to international academic environments.

Ebba Högström

I will never forget one of my first days as a PhD student, entering the National Library for a whole day of just reading and thinking. What a privileged thing to do and what a contrast to the corporate life as an architect I had just left! Leaving the professional life as an architect to become a mature PhD student was challenging - personally, economically and professionally. But what a great challenge it was – having this opportunity to dig deep into an issue and expanding your intellectual abilities. My years as a PhD student meant collaborating with other PhD students, with senior colleagues and international scholars, attending conferences and teaching all these engaged master students from all over the world.. We fellow PhD students were like siblings in the sense we grew up together as researchers, supporting each other during the good days as well as the bad ones. I will never forget this friendship! During three months, I was a visiting PhD student at Human Geography Research Group (HGRG) at the University in Glasgow which expanded my professional network internationally. I left KTH in 2013 for a position as a Senior Lecturer in Urban Studies at Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH). I brought with me knowledge and experiences useful in the development of a new master’s programme in Urban Planning. Currently I’m on a research leave – back at University of Glasgow as a Marie Curie Research Fellow working with a project regarding societal institutions in the intersection of geography, architecture and planning.

Ebba Högström,

Senior lecturer / universitetslektor

Programme manager / Programansvarig

Dept of Spatial Planning / Inst för fysisk planering (C3)


Feras Hammami

Completing my PhD studies at KTH was a unique journey, intellectually, professionally and socially. While conducting my studies, I had the privilege to do research with international scholars, teach at master level courses and collaborate with other foreign universities through academic capacity building programs. Combining PhD studies with professional work provided my research with a critical approach. What’s important, it was always fun to meet with the other PhD students and colleagues. We often met for lunches in the kitchen of the department, organised “international” dinners, gathered for after work, and played sports. These warm memories made it difficult for me to leave KTH. But in 2013 I decided to move to the university of Gothenburg (GU) to experience a new research environment and expand my professional network. I was employed as postdoctoral research fellow in Critical Heritage Studies – the priority research area on cultural heritage at the University of Gothenburg. And currently work as assistant professor of critical heritage studies and urban planning at the same university, GU.

Feras Hammami, PhD
Assistant professor of critical heritage studies and urban planning
Department of conservation, University of Gothenburg