FAQ Doctoral studies


FAQ Doctoral studies

Here you will hopefully find the answers to most of the frequently asked questions. If not, please contact the Research administration that are happy to help you.

Research administration

Forms and templates

Some aspects of your doctoral studies requires some administration. Find necessary forms and templates relevant to the doctoral education here.

Forms and templates


How can I fund my doctoral studies at BTH?

Your doctoral studies at BTH can be funded either by employment as a doctoral student, other employment at BTH, employment at a company or organisation, or grant from an acknowledged external funder.

Self-funding in the form of own capital, pension or salary from your own company is not accepted at BTH.

What is my salary as an employed doctoral student at BTH?

The salary for employed doctoral students follows a scale.The scale is based on your progress in your studies. The starting salary according to the current agreement is 31 200 SEK/month and the ending salary is 37 200 SEK/month.

When do I get a salary increase?

You get a salary raise when you have completed 60 credits and 120 credits.

The salary is adjusted the month after you have reached the next level. Your Main supervisor is responsible for reporting this to the HR-department.


Is teaching part of my doctoral studies?

As a doctoral student you should primarily devote yourself to your own research studies. As an employed doctoral student other tasks may be included in your employment and you may devote up to 20 % of your working time to teaching or other academic work.

How long are my doctoral studies?

As a basic rule your doctoral studies are calculated for 4 years. If you are an employed doctoral student who teaches 20 % your time is extended to 5 years. Deductions from the calculated passed time is made for periods when you have had sick leave or parental leave.

Why is the Individual Study Plan so important?

The Individual Study Plan is the timetable for your thesis and courses which you and your supervisor draw up together. The Individual Study Plan should be regarded as a contract between you and your supervisor in which the requirements made of you and of your supervisor should be clearly stated.

The Individual Study Plan is also the formal document which will be reviewed should there be questions if you or your supervisors have lived up to you committments.

The Individual Study Plan should be revised yearly by you and your supervisors and the plan is formally established by the Dean of your faculty. However the Individual Study Plan can be revised more often, for example when there are changes in your supervisory group.

What is expected of me during my studies?

Your main focus should naturally be to finish your studies and thesis within the allocated years of study. Aside from this you are also expected to:

  • participate in and contribute to the research environment that you are part of
  • participate in research project meetings
  • carry out regular meetings and follow‐ups in accordance with the examiner’s and the supervisors’ requests
  • have regular contact with your supervisors
  • answer emails, text messages, etc., from the examiner and the supervisors speedily

As an employed doctoral student at  BTH, you are also expected to, in addition to the above, participate in and contribute to a functioning work environment at the department. This includes the departmental duties that may occur, for example in the form of teaching, where you are among other things expected to be available for the students but also take part in department meetings.


Am I insured as a doctoral student?

If you are employed as a doctoral student you are insured as all other employees at BTH.

If you are funded by a grant or employed at an external organisation you are covered by a personal injury insurance signed by BTH at Kammarkollegiet. If you are employed at an external organisation you should also have insurance cover through your employment in addition to the personal injury insurance.

What happens if I get sick?

If you get sick it is important that you report this to BTH so that the period that you are away is deducted from the time spent of your education. You report all kinds of leaves (sick leave, vacation leave, parental leave, etc.) using Primula.

What about parental leave?

Employed doctoral students are entitled to parental leave, just like other employees. You report all kinds of leaves (sick leave, parental leave, etc.) using Primula.

If you are funded by a grant you are covered by a specific Health and parental insurance for doctoral students with stipends

What about vacation?

Employed doctoral students are entitled to vacation, just like other employees. The planning of your vacation leave should be made in consultation with your supervisor.

Note however that while parental leave is grounds for extention of your doctoral studies, vacation is not. The semesters for doctoral students are counted from 1 Jan-30 June and 1 July-31 December, thus no time is deducted from the calculated passed time when you take a vacation.


Can I ask for a study break?

A doctoral student can apply for a study break. The university may grant this if it is deemed appropriate and if it is deemed possible to resume studies after the break.

Study break does not refer to the extension-based reasons stated in the Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 6, Section 29 (sick leave, leave for service in the Armed Forces or for positions of trust in trade unions and student organizations or parental leave).

If the doctoral student wishes to have a break in their studies, this should first be discussed with the main supervisor. The main supervisor must assess whether it is appropriate to pause the studies.

A study break shall be valid for a fixed period, but no longer than one year at a time.

After resumption of studies, the individual study plan shall be updated and established.

The application for a study break must be in writing and signed by the doctoral student and main supervisor and should be sent to the registrar.

The head of department concerned, who is responsible for making proposals for decisions, has to assess whether supervision, funding and other resources can be guaranteed when the doctoral student intends to resume studies. Decision-makers are the dean of the relevant faculty.

When employed as a doctoral student, a granted study break means that the doctoral student also needs to add leave of absence to the salary system.

Can my employment as a doctoral student be extended?

The total period of employment of doctoral students employed as a doctoral student may be extended if there are special reasons for it (prolongation).

Applications for prolongation do not need to be made when extending the length of employment due to, for example, illness or parental leave reported to the HR department. This extension occurs automatically.

1. The extension of the doctoral position shall be discussed between a doctoral student, supervisor, examiner, and head of department.

2. Documentation of extension can be done in the individual study plan, but it can also be written in a separate document. It should be clear whether the parties agree or not and the time to be extended. In the description of why the employment of the doctoral student should be extended the specific reasons cited for extension must be stated.

3. The request for the extension of doctoral positions is sent to registrator@bth.se with the information that the dean needs to assess the matter.

4. A Research officer prepares the matter to dean of the relevant faculty, which is responsible for making proposals for decisions on prolongation cases.

5. The Vice-Chancellor decides on prolongation

Can I end my studies?

A doctoral student can choose to end their doctoral studies by reporting this. With this, the doctoral student waives his or her place of study and the right to supervision.

If, after a notified end of studies, the doctoral student wants to resume his or her studies, a new application is required to be admitted to third-cycle studies.

Notification must be in writing and signed by the doctoral student and must be sent to the registrar.



Can I count courses I have taken in my undergraduate study?

Yes you may apply to credit courses in your doctoral education from your undergraduate studies that exceed the 240 credits that are included in your qualifying higher education degree.

At most 50 % of the course requirements for the third-cycle subject area can be transferred as credits from studies before the third-cycle studies. The study period will be shortened in relation to the credit transfers from studies before the third-cycle studies.

Your Examiner decides upon what can be accredited in your education.

Where do I find doctoral courses?

BTH is working to expand the number of doctoral courses given regularly at BTH. You will find information about them under Courses.

The technical Universities in the Nordic countries publish regular and upcoming doctoral courses at the NORDTEK portal.

The larger universities generally have their own search portals or lists of available courses. A search for this will mostly result in some relevant courses.

Together with your Main supervisor you can discuss if he/she can create an individual doctoral course for you should the topic be to narrow for a general course in the subject.

How many course credits do I need and which courses are mandatory?

The division of course credits in your subject as well as which courses are mandatory is established in the General Syllabus of your subject. This may therefore vary from subject to subject. However the following components of the education are mandatory. How these are examined, through a course or other component, is regulated in each separate individual study plan.

  • Research methodology
  • Information search for researchers
  • Scientific writing and scientific review
  • Ethics in research

Should courses in these areas be available at BTH you will be able to find them here.

How do I register my results?

The results from completed courses and the corresponding credits should be reported to Ladok for registration.

Contact the Research administrators to get your course credits registered.

The result of your research work is registered as credits for your thesis upon completion of your defence. Until then your research work will only be registered in Ladok as time (activity) passed in your education. The activity is registerd based on what you report in your Individual Study Plan.

Can i get a transcript of my courses or that I am admitted to doctoral studies?

Yes, you are able to get the necessary transcripts and certificates form the Ladok for students.

Should you have any problems accessing this yourself, please contact the Research administrators, who will help you.



What do I do if I have problems with my supervision?

As a doctoral student you have a right to supervision during your entire period of study. It is important that the relationship with your supervisors is functioning effectively. You should therefore adress this as soon as you think that there is a problem.

You have a number of people you can turn to at BTH to help you adress any potential problems:

1. Your Head of Department is responsible for the work environment at the department and should be contacted if there is a problem with your supervision.

2. The Dean at your Faculty has the overall responsibility for the doctoral education at BTH and should be contacted if you feel that the Head of Department is unable to solve the problem or is a party in the matter.

3. Your Senior Reviewer is appointed to check both your and the university’s commitments in your Individual Study Plan. He/she should be someone outside of your department that you can turn to for an impartial view on your problem.

4. The PhD Student Committee is the “student union” for PhD students and you can turn to the Committee should you wish for your fellow doctoral students take on the situation.

5. The Research Officers can answer any questions you have on the formal / legal rights you have as a doctoral student at BTH and what procedures that should be followed in certain situations.

Should you feel that the problem can only be solved by a change of one of your supervisor you have the formal right to request this. Read more about this under Supervision.

Can I loose my right to supervision and resources?

As a doctoral student you have a right to supervision during your entire period of study as well as the resources necessary to complete your thesis. However this right is dependent on you following the timetable and study plan agreed upon in your Individual Study Plan. Should you fail to follow your committments in the Individual Study Plan the university’s Vice-Chancellor can decide that your right to supervision and other resources be removed.

Note that this is a measure of last resort for the university and not something the university will apply without a thourough investigation.


What should I do before the licentiate seminar?

Here you will find information about the licentiate seminar and what you should do to prepare for it.

What should I do before the thesis defence?

Here you will find information about the thesis defence and what you should do to prepare for it.

How do I apply for the PhD degree?

Here you will find information about how to apply for a PhD degree certificate.