Designing doctoral courses

How can doctoral courses be designed to best meet the needs of doctoral students? How can pedagogical theory, instructional methods, information technology and assessment help to create meaningful learning? This course focuses on the specific challenges and opportunities of doctoral education.

The course is targeted at course directors of doctoral courses at Karolinska Institutet.

Overview of the course

The aim of the course is to enhance the ability to make informed choices in course design and to thus develop the participants’ professional competence as university teachers. In particular, the course aims to increase knowledge about pedagogy and policies of relevance to the planning, delivery and evaluation of doctoral courses at Karolinska Institutet.

The course will address the central aspects of course design:

  • how to create intended learning outcomes,
  • how to make choices regarding content,
  • how to choose teaching and learning activities,
  • how to assess and grade student performance and
  • how to evaluate courses and other teaching-learning activities.

The principles of outcome-based course design will be discussed based on educational theory and empirical evidence of student learning. The participants will familiarize themselves with the principles and application of active learning, such as flipped classrooms, team-based learning and digital media. The administrative routines and policies related to doctoral courses/education at KI will also be addressed.

The course equals two weeks of full-time study (80 hours).

After the course the participants will be able to:

  • apply an outcome-based framework to design doctoral courses
  • justify choices made in course design, based on evidence of what facilitates student learning
  • align course design with KI policy on doctoral courses.

Course work in between seminars includes reading educational literature, practical work on doctoral courses, and collaborative learning with peers.

The course activities are based on direct, hands-on application of educational theory and methods to the design of the participants’ doctoral courses. Participants will have the opportunity to work individually and/or in groups to improve the design of a course for which they are responsible. As the intention is to create an inspiring and supportive community of teachers working in the area of doctoral education, opportunities for peer learning are actively promoted. Active participation in small-group learning activities is therefore essential.

Entry requirements

“Designing courses at doctoral level” is a continuation course. To fulfill the entry requirements you need:

  1. To have previously taken teacher training courses (i.e. courses in medical education or university pedagogy). A minimum of three weeks of such previous training is required.
  2. To be a course director (“kursansvarig”) for a doctoral course. Teachers of doctoral courses who are not officially course directors can be admitted if the head of department or the responsible of a doctoral programme give a recommendation.

Due to the practically oriented nature of this course, it is important that participants be actively working with at least one doctoral course of their own.

Language: English.

Course dates

Autumn 2023

This course will be given Autumn 2023.


The maximum number of participants: 20. The minimum number of course participants should be 10 people to run the course.

Course leader

Course syllabus