Consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on KI’s doctoral education

[Updated 2022-03-11]

The pandemic is not over yet, which means that we all need to be flexible, take own responsibility and to be attentive to new national restrictions as well as directives from the University management. 

General information for staff and students regarding COVID-19

Below is information regarding different aspects of doctoral education at KI and how they might be affected by the pandemic.

If the pandemic leads to changes of the doctoral education

Many doctoral students have been affected, and will continuously be affected, by the COVID-19 pandemic. We recommend that affected doctoral students together with their supervisors review their individual study plan and discuss alternative ways to reach the degree outcomes without prolonging the education.  This applies to the research plan as well as to planned participation in courses, seminars and travels.   


The Swedish Agency for Government Employers (Arbetsgivarverket) have announced that if a doctoral student, as a consequence of COVID-19, has been prohibited from performing his/her tasks as a doctoral student, it should be possible to prolong the employment beyond the stated four years. It is the KI department where the doctoral student is registered that decides if a prolongation should be considered. The assessment of the individual case is done on a case-by-case basis. 

Criteria for a possible prolongation (at the bottom of the page)

Doctoral students who perceive that the pandemic has affected their doctoral education must make sure to document this. Such documentation is required if at a later stage an assessment will be made to judge if the delay was caused by COVID-19, and hence without the control of the student.

Courses and other educational activities

Information about which form of teaching applies to each specific course, is given by the respective course provider before course start, if it differs from the information given in the course catalogue.

Information about education regarding COVID-19 for course providers

Half-time review

Half-time seminars can be held at campus, as a digital meeting, or as a hybrid form with some digital participation. The decision how to set up the seminar should be based on if there are any pandemic restrictions at the time, and how the doctoral student in the best way gets a relevant and useful learning situation. 

The purpose of the half-time review 

Public defences

There are no recommendations or restrictions concerning public defences.

Information regarding digital solutions for public defences (hybrid defences)

General information regarding public defences and licentiate seminars: Time to defend your thesis

Supervision at a distance

Support for supervision at a distance:

  1. Effective Practices in Supervising Doctoral Candidates at a Distance, a webinar from the UK Council for Graduate Education held on the 1 May 2020, available on YouTube.
  2. A Guide to Online Supervision – Guide for Supervisors 
  3. Successfully supervising research students remotely, a webinar by Academic vice president for doctoral education at KI Robert Harris held on 21 December 2021. The webinar is a part of the Irish Universities Association (IUA) collaborative webinar series and is available on YouTube.

Admission of new doctoral students

If the doctoral student, at the time of admission, hasn’t arrived at KI or for any other reason cannot begin their doctoral studies as planned, a study start date must be decided. No research or educational activities should be performed before the starting date. Even if the period between admission and study start might be longer than otherwise, the admission process is the same as usual.

Travel, research visits and international conferences

Doctoral students are to observe the same guidelines on travel, research visits and international conferences as all other members of staff.  

Personal presentations at international conferences are obligatory for KI’s doctoral students. If the COVID-19 pandemic implies that a student cannot fulfil this requirement, the doctoral student should approach the departmental director of doctoral studies to discuss how this could be solved.

KI’s travel grant for research visits for doctoral research

Owing to the limited opportunities for doctoral students to conduct planned research visits, the travelling/utilisation time for KI’s travel grants for research visits for doctoral students has been extended to December 2022. This applies for travel grants for research visits for doctoral students advertised, applied for and granted during 2019 and 2020.

If you have applied for a grant for a trip that has to be cancelled, we ask you to repay the money, although the sum granted can be used to cover any costs you may have incurred in cancelling.

Information for international doctoral students

If you need to stay longer in Sweden than originally planned or need to leave Sweden earlier: