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Entry requirements for doctoral studies

In order to be accepted for doctoral (PhD) studies, the applicant is required to meet the general entry requirements and any special requirements outlined in the position announcement. The applicant must also possess any other abilities required in order to benefit from the education.

General entry requirements

The general entry requirements are met by those who

  • have been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or
  • have satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second-cycle or
  • otherwise acquired largely equivalent knowledge.

KTH may exempt an individual applicant from the general entry requirements if there is an extraordinary reason to do so.

Specific entry requirements

 The specific requirements may relate to:

  • knowledge from higher education or equivalent studies
  • special professional or vocational experience
  • necessary language skills or other conditions determined by the programme, subject or project

Language requirements

English language proficiency equivalent to (the Swedish upper secondary school) English course B/6 is required. The requirement can be satisfied through a result equal to, or higher than, those stated in the following internationally recognised English tests:

  • TOEFL Paper-based: Score of 4.5 (scale 1-6) in written test, total score of 575.
    TOEFL ITP is not accepted.
  • TOEFL iBT internet-based: Score of 20 (scale 0-30) in written test, total score of 90
  • IELTS Academic/IELTS UKVI: A minimum overall mark of 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5
  • Cambridge ESOL: Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) Certificate in Advanced English or Cambridge English: Proficiency (CPE) (Certificate of Proficiency in English)
  • Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB): Minimum score of 90
  • University of Michigan, ECPE (Examination for the certificate of Proficiency in English)
  • Pearson PTE Academic: Score of 62 (writing 61)

The language requirement can also be fulfilled through previous university and upper secondary school studies. More information on recognised English tests, previous studies, and required documents is provided by University Admissions in Sweden  under information for Master's level.

 Requirements regarding skills in the Swedish language may also be imposed.

Assessment of entry requirements

Entry requirements and prospective students' suitability are assessed at each school by the school's director of third-cycle education.

Foreign Higher Education studies

In most cases, studies that meet the general entry requirements for doctoral (PhD/third-cycle) education in the country where the degree is issued will also meet the general entry requirements for doctoral studies at KTH. If you are unsure about the status of your education, you may contact the Swedish Council for Higher Education  for an evaluation.

Assessment of equivalence

The assessment of equivalence determines whether an applicant's knowledge – acquired in another system – is equivalent to the higher education studies that are normally required for the doctoral subject in question.

Exemption from the general entry requirements

An exemption from the general entry requirements may be granted to an applicant who has not completed courses corresponding to 240 credits but who has already completed advanced (master's/second-cycle) courses corresponding to a minimum of 60 credits, as well as an independent degree project linked to the intended subject of study.

Assessment of suitability

Applicants are judged suitable for doctoral education if they possess the necessary maturity, judgement and capacity for independent critical analysis.


Candidate(s) will be selected from among the applicants who fulfil the requirements for doctoral education. The results of studies at an advanced (master's) level or in the form of independent work are of particular interest in this context, as is the candidate's ability to benefit from the studies (suitability).

The selection process is handled by each school and the final decision is made by the head of school, in consultation with the intended supervisor(s).


The admission process is conducted at the school-level.

Doctoral studies may lead to two qualifications, a licentiate and/or a doctoral degree. Those accepted to studies leading to a doctoral degree may take a licentiate degree as an intermediate stage in their studies. Students accepted to studies leading to a licentiate degree who subsequently wish to pursue studies leading to a doctoral degree must submit a new application and are not guaranteed admission.