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Being a doctoral student at KTH

As a doctoral student at KTH, you will devote yourself to a research project under the supervision of an experienced researcher. You will follow an individual study plan set up in collaboration with your supervisor, take courses within a doctoral programme and work on a research project that leads to a thesis.

Students in library

Doctoral students at KTH usually are employed and earn a monthly salary. To succeed, you must be goal-oriented and take responsibility for your work, as your development will go hand in hand with the progression of your research project and coursework.

General syllabus for doctoral subjects and doctoral programmes

The general syllabus for a doctoral subject defines the admission requirements, compulsory and recommended courses and other requirements in order to qualify for examination.

At KTH, doctoral studies are organised into doctoral programmes that provide a natural platform for collaboration with other doctoral students in the same field and an opportunity to forge valuable contacts that will enrich your future career.

As a doctoral student at KTH, you will have the opportunity to attend courses at other universities that cooperate with KTH.

Individual study plan

Once you have been admitted as a doctoral student at KTH, you and your supervisors will set up an individual study plan based on the general syllabus. This individual study plan summarises how your education will be organised, which courses you will take, your tutorial, and other commitments. The study plan also determines the requirements you must fulfil to graduate. Your individual study plan should be reviewed on a yearly basis.


Each doctoral student will be appointed a minimum of two supervisors, one of them will be the main supervisor. Supervisors are responsible for ensuring that each student´s research project and course work proceed at an appropriate pace. A doctoral student who so requests may change supervisor if circumstances allow it.

Academic ceremony
Photo: Kalle Börjeson,

Examination and degree

Doctoral studies at KTH can lead to either a Doctor of Philosophy (four years of full-time study; 240 credits) or a Licentiate of Engineering (possible intermediate degree, two years of full-time study; 120 credits). 

A doctoral degree requires students to complete studies equal to 240 credits in one of the doctoral (postgraduate/third-cycle) subjects available at KTH. In addition to a scientific doctoral thesis (dissertation) worth a minimum of 120 credits, a doctorate also requires students to complete courses equal to at least 60 credits. The doctoral thesis is presented and defended at a public defence.

A licentiate degree requires students to complete studies equal to 120 credits in a doctoral (postgraduate/third-cycle) subject. In addition to a scientific paper worth a minimum of 60 credits, a licentiate degree requires students to complete courses corresponding to a minimum of 30 credits. The licentiate thesis must be presented at a public licentiate seminar.

Credit system

In the Swedish credit system one week of full-time study (40 hours of lectures, individual studies, etc.) is equivalent to 1.5 credits (högskolepoäng). One academic year of full-time studies equals 60 credits. Swedish credits are comparable to European ECTS credits, in which 60 ECTS credits correspond to the workload of one full-time academic year, normally 1,500 - 1,800 hours.