Course requirements and choice of courses for doctoral students

After admission to doctoral education, you as a doctoral student write your individual study plan (ISP) together with your supervisor. The starting point is the general syllabus and the individual conditions.

A red apple on top of a book

To help you, we present on this page courses that are compulsory for all or for some doctoral students. There are also other general science and generic courses here that are not compulsory but can nevertheless be important. The purpose is to give you as a doctoral student a better overview when choosing courses and drawing up your individual study plan.

Course requirements within doctoral education

The general syllabus describes the course requirement and when during the doctoral education it must be fulfilled. As a doctoral student, you usually follow (unless you have changed to a later version during your education) the general study plan version that was in force at the time of admission to doctoral education, which means that it may look somewhat different for different doctoral students. The requirement also differs depending on your educational background and research focus.

The introduction to doctoral education at Karolinska Institutet is part of the course requirement for all doctoral students. About the introduction and how to register.

Planning of courses in the individual study plan

In the individual study plan you plan, together with your supervisor, what courses (and other activities) you need to accomplish during the doctoral education. You can see what courses are available at KI as follows:

  • Current course syllabi can be found in our syllabus database. In the database there is however no information about the frequency of the courses. Therefore, we have compiled overviews for the planned courses of the doctoral programmes as well as of the general science and compulsory doctoral courses offered (see below).
  • Courses that will be given the coming semester are presented in the course catalogue. The catalogue is published once every semester, around 15 April and 15 October, and is open for application for one month. Application is done directly in the course catalogue.

Doctoral students within our research schools are following each school’s course package but may need to take additional courses.

Courses within doctoral programmes

Project-specific courses are given within our thematic postgraduate programmes. The courses are open to all doctoral students and are searched for via the course catalogue.

For the programmes' course offerings within their respective research field, see:

Compulsory and general science/generic doctoral courses

Below, we present courses that are compulsory for all or some doctoral students and that are announced via the course catalogue, as well as how often these courses are usually given. Other general science/generic courses are also listed here which are not compulsory but can nevertheless be important. The purpose is to give you as a doctoral student a better overview when choosing courses and drawing up your individual study plan.


  • HEC is the abbreviation of Higher Education Credits (Hp in Swedish). They are compatible with the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS).
  • "VT",  "HT" or "VT and HT" is an indication of how often (and which semester) a course is normaly offered. VT stands for spring semester and HT for autumn semester.
  • The marking with an asterisk (*) after the course title is a previous marking of general science courses (i.e. courses not aimed at specific research areas). This label is being revised and is therefore not consistently used.


The aim of the statistics courses is to provide you, as a doctoral student, with a basic understanding of the subject and how statistics are used in medical research, or (with more advanced courses) to develop your knowledge of how to use statistics in your research area.

The courses can also help you to achieve the degree outcome for knowledge and understanding:

“Demonstrate familiarity with research methodology in general and the methods of the specific field of research in particular.”

KI also offers courses in the use of popular statistics programmes, such as Stata, SAS and R.

See the individual syllabi for information on which statistics programme the course uses.

If you have any queries concerning credit transfers from other statistics courses, your departmental director of studies can contact the course providers of the following courses for help assessing whether the minimum requirements are met.


Basic Statistics (no previous knowledge required)

3134 Basic Course in Medical Statistics*, 3 HEC, VT and HT

2609 Basic Course in Medical Statistics - a distance course*, 3 HEC, VT and HT

3154 Biostatistics I: Introduction for epidemiologists*, 3 HEC, HT

3042 Biostatistics I: Introduction for epidemiologists*, 3 HEC, VT

Courses 3134, 2609, 3154 and 3042 have similar content. Course 3154 and 3042, however, focus on epidemiological studies.


Intermediary and Advanced Statistics (with entry requirements)

2738 Intermediate Medical Statistics: Regression models*, 3 HEC, VT

Entry requirements: Basis Course in Medical Statistics, or the equivalent.

5314 Biostatistics II: Logistic regression for epidemiologists*, 1,5 HEC, HT

Entry requirements: Epidemiology I, Biostatistics I, or the equivalent.

3043 Biostatistics II: Logistic regression for epidemiologists*, 2 HEC, VT

Entry requirements: Epidemiology I, Biostatistics I, or the equivalent.

3142 Biostatistics III: Survival analysis for epidemiologists* (using Stata), 1,5 HEC, VT

Entry requirements: Epidemiology I, Biostatistics I, Biostatistics II, or the equivalent.

2992 Biostatistics III: Survival analysis for epidemiologists* (using R), 1,5 HEC, HT

Entry requirements: Epidemiology I, Biostatistics I, Biostatistics II, or the equivalent

5531 Practical Introduction to Multilevel Data Analysis: From Data Collection to Results Interpretation, 3 HEC, VT

Entry requirements: see syllabus.

Courses 5314 and 3043 have similar content. Course 3142 uses Stata statistics software while 2992 uses R. Otherwise, they have the similar content.

Note that the course catalogue contains several advanced statistics courses, which are primarily held under the doctoral programme in epidemiology, although they are also offered by for example the Medical Statistics Unit (MedStat, LIME).


Courses in software for statistical analysis

The courses below focus on specific statistical software.

Note: It can be vital for your research to be able to make the best use of such tools for statistical analysis, but the course credits for such a course do not count to fulfil the course requirements for statistics specified in the general syllabus for doctoral education. This because the focus of software courses is on syntax and programming (for your statistical analysis of your research data) rather than on learning statistical thinking, which is what one is supposed to learn from the courses about statistics.

Regarding the courses in R: courses 2953, 2958, 2971 and 5300 are all at the same (basic) level, with a slightly different focus, while course 5686 is an in-depth course with specific entry requirements.

2953 Statistics with R - from data to publication figure, 3 HEC, VT and HT

2958 Introduction to R, 1,5 HEC, HT

2971 Introduction to R - data management, analysis and graphical presentation, 2,5 HEC, VT and HT

5300 Get started with R – Programming Basics, Data Analysis and Visualisation, 3 HEC, VT and HT

5686 Mastering R - Advanced Data Science and Statistical Analysis, 4,5 HEC, HT (Entry requirements: see syllabus).

3143 Introductory course in SAS programming, 1,5 HEC, VT

2868 Advanced course in SAS programming for health care data, 1,5 HEC, HT

5315 Fundamentals of Stata Language, 1,5, HT

3028 Grundkurs i SPSS, 1,5 HEC, VT and HT

Facilities at KI that offer professional statistical services

Consult the experts for advice on which statistics programmes to choose. Facilities at KI offering professional statistical services are:

- The Medical Statistics Unit (MedStat)
- Biostat Core

Research Ethics

Purpose and requirements for doctoral courses in research ethics.

If you will be working with laboratory animals, you will also need the relevant education and training, see below.

The following doctoral courses in research ethics fulfil the course requirement stated in the general syllabus:

3118 Forskningsetik*, 1,5 HEC, VT and HT

2964 Medicinsk forskningsetik*/Medical research ethics*, 1,5 HEC, VT and HT

In addition to these courses are complementary courses that can be of interest to you (if, for example, you are engaged in registry research).

If you are taking a course in research ethics at another university and want to transfer the credits, remember that it must meet KI’s own requirements. See Purpose and requirements for doctoral courses in research ethics.

To Communicate Science

Good skill in communicating one's research to different target groupsand in different contexts is of great importance to the success of the individual researcher, for the research community and for society in general.

The courses in scientific communication aim at facilitating for you as a doctoral student to achieve the degree outcome concerning skills and abilities:

"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."

All docotoral students admitted from 1 January 2018 must be able to demonstrate at least 1.5 credits in communicating science. This includes courses in writing science / popular science, oral presentation of science and presentation techniques. These courses are counted as general science for doctoral students admitted before 1 January 2018.

Being good at communicating science requires constant training in writing and presenting as well as recurring feedback of, among others, the supervisors and other research group members.

Courses in oral scientific communication:

2787 Present your research!*, 1,5 HEC, VT and HT

5231 Oral Presentation of Own Research*, 1,5 HEC, VT and HT

5747 Mastering Science Communication and Public Engagement: From Research To Resonance*, 3 HEC, VT and HT (previously with course number 3147)

Courses in written scientific communication:

1391 Writing science and information literacy*, 3 HEC, VT and HT

2561 Writing science and information literacy* (online), 3 HEC, VT and HT

2618 Write your research results and get them published*, 3 HEC, VT and HT

2912 Manuscript writing in English*, 1,5 HEC, VT or HT

5227 Advanced Scientific Writing*, 1,5 hp, VT and HT

Courses in oral and written scientific communication:

5506 Research Communication in Health Science*, 1,5 hp, VT (every second year).

Laboratory Animal Science

If you are to use animals in your doctoral research, you are obliged to take the course in laboratory animal science.

See the Comparative Medicine website for further information on compulsory and other courses in laboratory animal science.

Laboratory Safety

If you are to spend part of all of your study time in a laboratory and lack a basic education in laboratory safety, you must acquire the relevant knowledge equivalent to at least 1.5 credits. KI arranges the following course:

2690 Basic Laboratory Safety*, 1,8 HEC, VT and HT

If you wish to transfer credits earned from an equivalent education at another university, it must correspond to the above course. Directors of studies are advised to contact the course coordinator for guidance.

Quality Assurance of Clinical Research

For doctoral students who conduct clinical research as defined by "research on living humans or research requiring the handling of sensitive personal data" and are admitted after 1 January 2018 it is compulsory to acquire knowledge of quality assurance of clinical research equivalent to at least 1 credit before halftime. For doctoral students as defined above, admitted by December 2017 and for doctoral students who conduct research solely on biological material from humans this is a recommended course, but not mandatory.

The following courses that meet the requirement can be found in the course catalogue:

2621 Klinisk forskning och Good Clinical Practice: protokoll, informerat samtycke och ansökan i enlighet med lagar/regler*, 1,5 HEC, VT

5580 Quality Assurance of Clinical Research*, 1,5 HEC, VT and HT

5274 Introductory Course in Clinical Studies: From Idea to Archiving*, 1,5 HEC, VT and HT

5743 Fundamentals of Quality Assurance in Medical Science and Public Health Research*, 1,5 HEC, VT

In addition, several of KI's clinical research schools organize courses of 1-1.5 credits in the subject that meet the requirement.

Human Biology or Pathology

If you are lacking a medical higher education, you are obliged to acquire the equivalent of 3 credits in human biology or pathology (or similar).

The following doctoral courses are held regularly at KI:

2644 Human physiology - an overview, 3 HEC, VT and HT

2827 Människans Fysiologi - en översikt, 3 HEC, HT

5253 Human Physiology - distance course, 3 HEC, VT and HT 

3109 Pathology, 3 HEC, VT and HT

The following course, offered in parallel with the Medicine programme, does also meet the requirements for those without a higher medical education:

3220 Basic Human Neuroscience, 10 HEC, VT and HT

Teaching and Learning

3181 Introduction to Teaching and Learning in Higher Education*, 1,5 HEC, VT

5558 Teaching and Learning in Higher Education: An Online Doctoral Course*, 4,5 HEC, HT

If you are interested in a course in educational research, please contact the subject manager for research in Medical Education at LIME.

Philisophy of Science

3073 Philosophy of science and the concept of health* / Vetenskapsteori och hälsobegreppet*, 1,5  HEC, VT and HT

3119 Vetenskapsteori*, 4,5 HEC, VT


2219 Bioinformatics for cell biologists*, 1,5 HEC, HT

5235 Basic Bioinformatics*, 2,5 HEC, VT/HT

5633 Bioinformatics Analysis and Visualisation of Medical Genomics Data*, 3 HEC, VT

Open science and reproducible research

 2963 Open Science and Reproducible Research, 3 hp, VT and HT

Anna Gustafsson

Administrative officer

Anna-Karin Welmer

Chair of the Course and programme committee

Emilie Agardh

Vice chair of the Course and programme committee

Ingeborg Van Der Ploeg

Central director of studies
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