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Criteria for supervisors regarding admission of doctoral students

The process of a supervisor admitting a doctoral student begins with an assessment of the proposed PhD project, available resources, and the supervisor’s own suitability and the appropriateness of the supervision plan. This is to ensure that all doctoral students have the opportunities and resources required to complete a high-quality research studies programme. 

It is important that the PhD project is designed to as to suit a research studies programme, both in terms of content and time. Therefore, the project plan is to be reviewed before the doctoral student is admitted to ensure that the plan is reasonable in terms of content, including the depth and breadth of the project, the thesis components and timeframe. 

The supervisor must be able to demonstrate that there are sufficient resources to finance the doctoral student’s PhD education. For the admission of a full-time doctoral student, this means that there must be sufficient funds in place to finance the doctoral student’s salary for a period of four years. For the admission of a part-time doctoral student, employed by Region Skåne for example, the supervisor must be able to present a minimum of SEK 100 000 in funding, to ensure that resources are available to the doctoral student for the purchase of a computer, travel funds for attending conferences, etc. 

The supervisor’s qualifications, experience and suitability as a supervisor are to be reviewed prior to the recruitment of a doctoral student. The constellation of supervisors, and the supervisors’ respective roles on the third-cycle programme in question, must be justified. The review of the supervisor prior to the admission of a doctoral student is therefore to be based on:

  • sufficient qualifications of the supervisor, i.e. the supervisor is to be an associate professor or principal recipient of a three-year project grant from a national/international funding body, and has undergone supervisor training
  • an assessment of the supervisor’s track record and time available to supervise a doctoral student, to determine the principal supervisor’s suitability as a supervisor

Applications may be rejected by the department and the Research Studies Board based on the assessment of the project, financing, and the supervisor’s suitability. 

Possible grounds for rejection: 

  • The project is not considered suitable as a PhD project.
  • The financial conditions for the PhD project are insufficient.
  • The supervisor will retire during the period of supervision, and there is no clear succession plan for the continued supervision of the doctoral student.
  • The supervisor already supervises a large number of doctoral students and is deemed not to have the time and/or place for more.
  • The supervisor has previously been involved in conflicts with doctoral students (or others in the workplace).
  • The supervisor has been involved in assessments of ethical impropriety on a number of occasions.
  • The supervisor has, in the past, shown a lack of availability and lack of support in the learning process of doctoral students.

A person who receives a rejection is entitled to reapply if the circumstances justifying the rejection have changed. In case of a change of departments, any previous rejection decisions must be communicated to the new department. However, the new department is required to make its own assessment. 

Rejection decision

All rejection decisions must be justified. There are to be three possible outcomes: 1) Approved, 2) Approved with conditions and 3) Rejected. 

The person who receives a rejection is entitled to reapply if the circumstances justifying the rejection have changed. 

The decision to approve a PhD project is taken by the assistant head of department responsible for PhD education, following a consultation with the head of department and administrative head at the department, as well as by the vice-dean responsible for PhD studies. 

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