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Degree requirement

All learning outcomes must be fulfilled for the doctoral degree to be granted.

For the Degree of Doctor the third cycle student shall 

  1. demonstrate broad knowledge and systematic understanding of the research field as well as advanced and up-to-date specialised knowledge in a limited area of this field,

  2. demonstrate familiarity with research methodology in general and the methods of the specific field of research in particular. 

Competence and skills 

For the Degree of Doctor the third-cycle student shall 

  1. demonstrate the capacity for scholarly analysis and synthesis as well as to review and assess new and complex phenomena, issues and situations autonomously and critically 
  2. demonstrate the ability to identify and formulate issues with scholarly precision critically, autonomously and creatively, and to plan and use appropriate methods to undertake research and other qualified tasks within predetermined time frames and to review and evaluate such work 
  3. demonstrate through a dissertation the ability to make a significant contribution to the formation of knowledge through his or her own research 
  4. demonstrate the ability in both national and international contexts to present and discuss research and research findings authoritatively in speech and writing and in dialogue with the academic community and society in general 
  5. demonstrate the ability to identify the need for further knowledge

  6. demonstrate the capacity to contribute to social development and support the learning of others both through research and education and in some other qualified professional capacity.

Judgement and approach 

For the Degree of Doctor the third cycle student shall 

  1. demonstrate intellectual autonomy and disciplinary rectitude as well as the ability to make assessments of research ethics,

  2. demonstrate specialised insight into the possibilities and limitations of research, its role in society and the responsibility of the individual for how it is used. 

Research thesis (doctoral thesis) 

For the Degree of Doctor the third-cycle student shall have been awarded a pass grade for a research thesis (doctoral thesis) of at least 120 credits. 

The doctoral student shall have completed their research assignment according to their individual study plan, which means that they have:

  • completed the assigned obligatory courses and any additional courses for doctoral education specified in the individual study plan, with a grade of Pass,
  • completed the halfway review, and
  • passed the examination for the course Generic knowledge and skills. (A link to the examination matrix is here in the right hand column.)

Doctoral students (admitted after 1 January 2019) must participate in at least 18 seminars for at least 3 years of the programme. The PhD student should also participate in national and international conferences, and present their own results through posters or lectures.

The thesis must originate from the Faculty of Medicine and be defended orally at a public defence seminar. Papers included in a composite thesis (a thesis consisting of a summary and papers) must originate from a department or equivalent unit at Lund University.

New requirements apply to doctoral theses for research students admitted as of 1 January 2024 (for previous requirements, see relevant general study plan - link in the right-hand column).

The scope of the thesis project is a qualitative assessment. The quality of the thesis is to be assessed from a perspective based on the doctoral student’s programme

For the doctoral student to be able to demonstrate sufficient competence, it is generally required that:

  • the doctoral student has authored three papers of which one must be published or accepted.
  • the doctoral student is the sole first author of the accepted/published paper as well as having a prominent role on the other papers (the benchmark is first or second author).
  • the contribution of the doctoral student in the papers should be clearly distinguishable from the other authors.
  • supervisors should not be first author on any of the papers.

Other types of papers that can be included in the thesis are:

  • articles containing original data published in international peer-reviewed journals.
  • meta-analyses and meta-syntheses or systematic reviews according to established methodology. A thesis cannot only include these types of papers. 
  • letters to the editor – provided that original data is presented. It cannot replace the paper for which the doctoral student is the sole first author.
  • study protocols – provided that the protocol is clearly linked to the other research papers. It may not replace the paper for which the doctoral student is the sole first author.

The doctoral programme aims to further encourage PhD students' participation in modern research projects with, for example, international and cross-disciplinary collaborations and development of methods. To this end, a review group has been created with the task of assessing the possibility of defending a thesis that includes a paper or component of an unconventional or innovative format. Enquiries for assessment by the review group may be sent to Anette [dot] Saltin [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se (Anette[dot]Saltin[at]med[dot]lu[dot]se).

The public defence of the thesis can be refused even if the thesis meets the quantitative requirements if it is not of sufficiently high quality.

It is to be clear from the supervisor’s statement that the doctoral student has participated actively in all stages of the publication process. Third cycle education is a prospective study programme, meaning that the works included in the thesis should be completed during the period of study. If there is previous work of relevance to the research field, a maximum of one paper/manuscript carried out before admission to the doctoral programme can be included in the thesis (after special consideration at the time of admission) and this paper must not have been published more than two years before admission.
Any single article should not be included in more than two theses.

The publication or acceptance for publication of original articles in internationally renowned scholarly journals entails a quality review. The Research Education Committee therefore considers compilation theses preferable to monographs.