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Licentiate Degree

The degree of Licentiate of Medical Science comprises 120 credits. These include a course component and a licentiate thesis.

Requirements for a licentiate degree

A licentiate degree requires that the student has fulfilled the following learning objectives:

For a Degree of Licentiate the third-cycle (doctoral) student shall demonstrate knowledge and understanding in the field of research including current specialist knowledge in a limited area of this field as well as specialised knowledge of research methodology in general and the methods of the specific field of research in particular.

For a Degree of Licentiate the third-cycle (doctoral) student shall

  • demonstrate the ability to identify and formulate issues with scholarly precision critically, autonomously and creatively, and to plan and use appropriate methods to undertake a limited piece of research and other qualified tasks within predetermined time frames in order to contribute to the formation of knowledge as well as to evaluate this work
  • demonstrate the ability in both national and international contexts to present and discuss research and research findings in speech and writing and in dialogue with the academic community and society in general, and
  • demonstrate the skills required to participate autonomously in research and development work and to work autonomously in some other qualified capacity.

For a Degree of Licentiate the third-cycle (doctoral) student shall

  • demonstrate the ability to make assessments of ethical aspects of his or her own research
  • demonstrate insight into the possibilities and limitations of research, its role in society and the responsibility of the individual for how it is used, and
  • demonstrate the ability to identify the personal need for further knowledge and take responsibility for his or her ongoing learning.

The licentiate degree requires that the student has passed all components required under the terms of the current regulations and syllabus. This means that the student must have passed all compulsory courses of the doctoral programme and had their thesis approved.

For a Licentiate degree in Medical Science, the norm is:

  • that the PhD student has authored at least one scientific manuscript and a short introductory summary, and
  • that the PhD student is the sole first author of the manuscript, and 
  • that the manuscript(s) carries academic weight and is structured in the form of a research article, in publishable condition, and include an indication of the journal in which it can potentially be published.

The introductory summary needs to provide an up-to-date description of the area of specialisation of the licentiate thesis, and how this particular work fits into its context.

Further, it must demonstrate that the doctoral student has achieved the necessary knowledge level in the specific subject. A critical description and discussion of the methods must be included, as well as a discussion of alternate methods [and why they were not used]. The results of the work are summarised and critically analysed in a discussion.

The thesis’ scientific contribution to the area of specialisation should be highlighted, as well as the PhD student's role in the thesis components/articles. 

Suggestions for headings that can be included in the summary:

  • abstract - about 250-300 words
  • most important abbreviations
  • short summary in layman’s terms – “popular science” summary
  • the overall purpose of the thesis
  • history and previously published results in the field
  • description of methods – highlighting which methods are important to your thesis work, and any original methods developed during the work
  • the most significant results
  • broad introduction/discussion
  • conclusion, and perspectives on future development
  • references
  • acknowledgements

Submit the application for a licentiate degree to the Research Studies Board at the Faculty of Medicine about 2.5 months before the planned date of examination.

The application must include:

  • a proposed opponent. The opponent must hold a doctoral degree and may not be active at the Faculty of Medicine at Lund University.
  • a proposed chairperson of the examination.
  • a proposal for 3 ordinary members of the examination committee (only one of whom may be from the student's own department) and 2 substitutes members. The members of the committee must all be researchers holding a doctoral degree.
  • the title of the licentiate thesis.
  • a statement relating to the main content of the thesis and its newsworthiness. In the case of a compilation thesis the statement is to explain the papers’ interrelationship and detail the doctoral student’s own contribution to each article. However, the most important aspect is to detail the doctoral student’s contribution to each article in terms of planning, follow-up, practical work, manuscript writing and use of initiative. It is to be stated whether the papers have been or will be used in a thesis other than the thesis in question. It is also to indicate if any of the supervisors is an editor of the journals in which the doctoral student has been published. The supervisor statement is to be signed by all supervisors.
  • a list of the work included in the licentiate thesis. The list must contain information about co-authors and whether the article is submitted to a journal or still in manuscript stage. All work comprising the thesis must be attached. Please attach the articles as PDF files.
  • Conflict of interest certification signed by all supervisors and the doctoral student, which certifies that there are no connections or relations involving conflict of interest with the proposed external examiner and the examination board. (Rules regarding conflict of interest)

The chairperson of the Research Studies Board appoints the opponent, the examination chairperson, and the members of the examination committee. The official appointments are dispatched from the PhD Studies Office to all concerned.

Submitting the thesis

Three weeks before the examination date, the doctoral student must submit the licentiate thesis and any interim work to:

  • the opponent
  • the chairperson of the examination
  • the members of the examination committee (ordinary and substitutes)
  • the PhD Studies Office (3 copies, 2 of which are then sent to the Lund University Library).
  • A copy of the licentiate thesis must be available at the department 3 weeks before the examination date.

The PhD Studies Office ensures that a notice is posted on the Faculty of Medicine's calendar on the faculty website, that the licentiate is available, and the time and place of the examination.

The licentiate thesis must be defended orally at a public seminar. The usual procedure is as follows:

  1. The examination begins with the chairperson introducing the student, opponent, examination committee, and the thesis.
  2. The opponent gives a short presentation of the subject.
  3. The student gives a presentation of the content of the work.
  4. The student and the opponent discuss the content of the thesis.
  5. Under the chairperson's leadership, the examination committee reviews the thesis.
  6. The audience is given the opportunity to ask questions.

The examination committee meets immediately after the examination. They appoint a chairperson among themselves and grade the work either Pass or Fail. The main supervisor also attends the meeting, without participating in the grading decision. The opponent, chairperson and any assistant supervisor(s) are likewise entitled to attend the meeting and participate in the deliberations, but may not participate in the decision. The minutes of the meeting are drawn up according to a template, signed by the chairperson of the examination committee, and sent to the PhD Studies Office.

The licentiate degree certificate is issued once all elements of the programme have been fulfilled, and the student has defended their thesis and the minutes of the examination committee’s meeting has been received by the Research Studies Board.

The Faculty of Medicine has obtained the rights to issue degree certificates for Doctor in Medical Science and for Licentiate in Medical Science. The diplomas for both doctoral and licentiate degrees are signed by the dean of the faculty. The degree certificate states, among other things, the title of the thesis and the doctoral-level courses achieved within the degree. In addition to the degree certificate, a so-called Diploma supplement is issued, describing the context of the degree in the Swedish education system.

The processing time for the degree certificate is normally 2-3 weeks.