Doctoral studies at SLU

Last changed: 22 January 2019

SLU’s doctoral programmes offer the opportunity to pursue a research degree in an environment that nurtures and promotes the development of independent research skills in students.

During their studies, doctoral students will be part of a research project that forms the basis for their thesis. The thesis presents the results of approximately three years of full-time, supervised research training. The thesis normally consists of 3-4 papers published in or submitted to international, peer-reviewed scientific journals. The time not used for thesis work during the 4-year programme is used for courses in order to acquire and practise the required skills.


In the Swedish higher education system, one week of full-time study corresponds to 1.5 higher education credits. One year of full-time study is equal to 60 credits. A doctoral degree should be completed in four years of full-time study or equivalent, that is 240 credits. For a licentiate degree, this is 120 credits. The doctoral thesis itself must be equivalent to at least 120 credits according to the Higher Education Ordinance (högskoleförordningen, SFS 93:100). In practice, the thesis often corresponds to 180-210 credits, while coursework represents 30-60 credits.

Within the timeframes above, doctoral studies at SLU are flexible and there are no ready-made programmes to be followed, although some research education subjects  are partly formalised in that there are some mandatory courses. In general, the supervisor and the doctoral student have considerable freedom to tailor the programme to individual requirements. Students normally take both subject-specific courses and basic general courses to acquire general competences. SLU's transdisciplinary/thematically organised research schools offer courses, seminars and workshops.


All doctoral students are entitled to supervision throughout their doctoral studies. Students are assigned 2-4 four supervisors, one of whom is the principal supervisor. Normally, the principal supervisor raises funds for the research project. The student's supervisor is obliged to draw up, in consultation with the student, an individual study plan (ISP) describing what the student is expected to accomplish during their doctoral studies. Students will find this plan a valuable tool for managing their degree. 

PhD councils

At SLU, all doctoral students belong to one of four PhD councils.  Each council is linked to faculty.

LTV Faculty - PhD student council - Alnarps studentkår (ASK)

NJ Faculty - PhD student council - Ultuna studentkår (ULS)

S Faculty - PhD student council - Skogshögskolans studentkår (SHS)

VH Faculty - PhD student council - Veterinärmedicinska föreningen (VMF)

These councils monitor the quality of the university's doctoral programmes. Read more about the PhD councils.


Directors of studies at the LTV Faculty:

Helene Larsson Jönsson, Alnarp. Phone: 040-415370. 
Åsa Klintborg Ahlklo, Alnarp. Phone: 040-415421.

Directors of studies at the NJ Faculty:

Elisabet Lewan, Uppsala, Phone: 018-67 26 29
Petra Fransson, Uppsala, Phone: 018-67 18 64

Directors of studies at the S Faculty:

Göran Spong, Umeå. Phone: 0730-350641
Petra Fransson, Uppsala. Phone: 018-67 18 64

Director of studies at the VH Faculty:

Jan Hultgren, Skara. Phone: 0511-67103


General information on doctoral studies: Lotta HanssonLotta Jäderlund