Individual Study Plan

The objective of an individual study plan is to support the student in his/her work. It should include requirements on what the student is to accomplish (degree of activity, literature tasks, essays, etc). The plan should be described in operational enough terms in order to fulfill its objectives. This does not mean that the plan cannot be incomplete at start, e.g., long range activities in the study plan may be described on a less detailed level.

Indvidual study plan has got two parts: one is the basic contract to be filled out once, when the PhD student enters the program, and the other one is the annual review, which is a more specified study plan that is evaluated and revised each year. The forms (both Swedish and English ones) can be accessed from SU PhD templates.

In the individual study plan the following things are declared:

  • The intended degree. The student may choose whether the plan will include both licentiate and Ph.D. degree or only one of them.
  • Total duration of studies. This should be estimated considering the student's degree of activity. The duration may be prolonged, e.g. if the studies are interrupted, or the degree of activity changed.
  • The intended degree of activity. The degree of activity may be changed only in agreement with the principal advisor. It should be decided with respect to the financing of the studies.
  • Planned and completed courses with their respective credits.
  • A plan for the thesis work and advising activities.
  • If applicable, identification and credits for courses taken at other universities.
  • Any discrepancies between planned activities and the actual progression, should be explained and motivated in the revised study plan.

The basic contract is to be signed by the principal advisor, the associated advisor, the PhD student, and the chair of department board or equivalent, and be filed by The annual review is to be signed by the principal advisor, the PhD student and the chair of department board or equivalent.

Further attributes which may be included in an individual study plan are:

  • Planned teaching activities and other departmental duties.
  • Possible participation in larger research projects.

The degree of activity and the financial form should be registered in LADOK.

Progress, Requirements and Monitoring

It is in the interest of both the department and the student that his/her progress follows the study plan. Normally, the student should fulfill the requirements for a PhD within 4 years (full-time student), 5 years (student enrolled in the education at the department on 20% maximum) or 8 years for students working 50% outside the department. Therefore, the student progress is monitored, and if it does not reach the minimum level, the student may be excluded from the postgraduate studies. To be readmitted, she/he has to compete with the other applicants at that time.

Each semester, the progress monitoring is done, based on the follow-up and revision of the individual study plan. The progress is measured in course credits registered in LADOK for the course part, and as estimation, done by the principal advisor, for the thesis part. The course credits are registered in LADOK by the

Defense Preparations and Procedures

PhD and Licentiate at Stockholm University

 PhD (88 Kb) (in Swedish)
 Licentiate (41 Kb) (in Swedish)

Thesis template

PhD programs include a number of milestones to facilitate monitoring of the progress and quality of the PhD studies of each student. These milestones are: 1) planning seminar, 2) midterm seminar/licentiate seminar, 3) pre-doc seminar, 4) thesis defence. For detailed guidelines, see the internal website. 

Guidelines for the review of doctoral theses at department level 

            1. No later than six months after admission to the doctoral studies, the PhD student is to                present a research plan in a seminar. 

            2. When half of the study time has been consumed, a midterm seminar is to be arranged             by the principal supervisor. Two subject experts are to examine the work and provide                   written feedback on progress and quality.

3.     No later than six months before the planned thesis defence, the main supervisor is to arrange a pre doc seminar for the doctoral candidate.

4.     Examining professor (=närmast berörd professor) is appointed by the Director of postgraduate studies at the department as delegated by the Board of the Department.

5.     Review takes place at a pre doc seminar – see instructions below.

6.     If the examining professor is unable to attend the pre doc seminar, s/he is to submit a statement at least one week before the seminar to be added to the seminar documentation.

7.     Pre doc seminar is to be followed up in a senior researchers’ meeting no later than three months before the planned thesis defence. Main supervisor presents the thesis and reports on the revision based on the review at the pre doc seminar.

Instructions for the pre doc seminar:

1.     Seminar is to take place at least six months before the planned thesis defence.

2.     The language of the seminar should be English.

3.     Seminar should follow the structure of a thesis defence: It should be announced beforehand and be public. An opponent should be appointed with the task of reviewing the thesis critically. A presentation of the thesis should be done by the doctoral student, followed by a discussion between the opponent and the doctoral student. Audience should have an opportunity to make comments and questions.

4.     Supervisor/s should participate in the discussion with the opponent and the doctoral student.

5.     After the seminar, the examining professor writes down the recommendations for a revision of the thesis and communicates these to the doctoral student, supervisors and the director of postgraduate studies no later than one week after the pre doc seminar. A copy of the recommendations is to be archived in the student file (by