Annual follow-up

The progress of the doctoral education must be followed-up regularly so that the degree outcomes are achieved by the time of public defence.

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What is an annual follow up?

The annual follow-up is performed as a meeting between the doctoral student and the supervisor. It should result in an updated version of the individual study plan (ISP), see check list below.

The individual study plan (ISP) is both a planning tool and a contract between the doctoral student and KI. Read more here.


The ISP-system will automatically notify the doctoral student and the principal supervisor via e-mail 11 months after the last establishment of the study plan. If a new version is not created within two months, the director of doctoral studies at the department will be notified.

The individual study plan (ISP) and the student’s progression must be followed-up every year regardless of study activity and regardless of if a notifying e-mail has arrived or not. Note that a follow-up always should follow the half-time review.

If the ISP has been revised after the last annual follow-up, the notifying e-mail will not be sent until 11 months after that revision. This does not mean that the annual follow-up meeting should be postponed.  



  1. The doctoral student and principal supervisor book a meeting (co-supervisors and mentor can also be invited). It is suggested to reserve 2-3 hours.
  2. The principal supervisor creates a new version of the individual study plan (ISP).
  3. The doctoral student checks if the information retrieved from Ladok (courses, financial support, study activity) is correct. If not, contact Ladok administrator.
  4. Update the study plan:  
    • “Courses and other educational activities”: Delete from “planned courses” those courses that have been uploaded from Ladok as “completed”, Do the same with the other learning activities
    • “Doctoral project”: Fill in status for each sub-study according to instructions (press “?” next to “Planned and ongoing subprojects”)
    • “Degree outcomes”: Fill in completed activities for each degree outcome

The follow-up meeting 

  • The doctoral student and principal supervisor review the study plan together (see check list below).
  • Revise what is needed.

Establishment of a new ISP version

  • The doctoral student and supervisor approve the new version
  • The study director reviews the changes, and establishes the new ISP version
  • The other supervisors are informed about the new version (co-supervisor have read access in the system)

Checklist for annual follow-up meetings

Degree outcomes (section 9)

Before a degree can be issued, all the intended degree outcomes/objectives must be achieved. Therefore, all activities a doctoral student takes part in should have learning purpose and contribute to achieving the degree outcomes.

Read here about the degree outcomes and how they can be achieved

Discuss the different degree outcomes:

  • What should/can be done to achieve each outcome/objective?   
  • Is any outcome already achieved?
  • Which outcomes should the doctoral student focus especially on?

Go through and discuss planned and completed activities:

  • Need for revision of planned activities?   
  • Are you happy with planned courses, conferences, seminars (compare with information under “Courses”)
  • Does the doctoral student get enough practice in communicating science? National and international? With other scientists as well as with other groups?
  • Possibilities for visits in research groups abroad or in Sweden? Are there travel grants to be applied for
  • Possibilities for teaching?
  • How can the outcomes regarding interaction with the society be achieved?  

Doctoral project (section 5)

Open the uploaded document Research plan during this discussion.

Progress of the research project?

  • Are the research questions and hypotheses still valid?
  • What have been done so far?
  • Does the project follow the research plan? Have major surprises appeared, and if so, how have they been handled?
  • Do the preliminary results correspond to the expected results?

Finish on time?

  • How much work remains?
  • Is there enough time to complete in time? If not – revise the plan so you can finish on time.


  • Do you need more assistance with the project, and if so what kind of help and by whom?
  • Does the ELN (electronic lab notebook) work sufficiently well? Read about ELN

Publication process:

  • Look at the status of each sub-study. Any comments?
  • How is the writing process proceeding? Who will be co-authors?
  • Which journals are relevant to publish in? Consider the time frame and discuss alternative plans if the publishing process takes longer time than expected.

Ethical permits:

  • Need for additional ethical permits?

If the research plan needs revision:

  • Upload the new research plan document to the system.
  • Update the description of the doctoral project in the ISP.
  • Write in the box “Description of changes in the doctoral project” which changes that have been made.

Courses and other educational activities (section 3)

  • Based on the discussion regarding degree outcomes: Does the plan for remaining courses need revising?
  • Have you remembered all obligatory courses (compare with the general syllabus)? Read about obligatory courses.
  • Does the plan for the other educational activities need revising?

Time plan and financial support (section 2)

A doctoral education should be equivalent to 4 years full-time studies.

  • Is there a risk that the time plan won’t keep? Discuss what can be changed to finish on time (see also: Doctoral project).
  • Is “planned study activity” correct? Revise if needed. Read here about reporting activity
  • Is the planned time for half-time review and the public defence correct? Read about timing the half-time review.

If the financial or employment situation has changed:

  • Is the information correct regarding planned financial support? (Note that it is only the principal supervisor that can revise this information.)

    If the situation has changed substantially, a new financial plan should be drawn up. In those cases, the Director of doctoral studies and the Head of the department must be informed. When a new financial plan is signed it should be uploaded as a document in the ISP system.

Supervisors (section 4)

Note that this section of the ISP can only be edited by the principal supervisor, not the doctoral student.

Supervisor – doctoral student – relationship:

  • What is your expectation of each other?   
  • How often do you meet? Is it frequently enough and are the meetings according to the expectations? Is the learning process regularly discussed? Need of improvement concerning these meetings?

Supervisor group: 

  • If there have been any changes to the supervisor group: Update the ISP!
  • Are the responsibilities and contributions of the different supervisors correctly described?
  • Is it clear within the group how the responsibilities are shared? If not, include the co-supervisors in the discussion.
  • It is the responsibility of the doctoral student to appoint a mentor. Write “yes” if you have a mentor (due to GDPR, avoid writing a name). Read here about mentor.

Career planning:

  • Do you, the doctoral student, need support regarding career plans in addition to what is discussed with your mentor and offered by Career service at KI?

Work environment:

If changes are made regarding supervisor roles or responsibilities it must be assured that the co-supervisors are informed (all co-supervisors have read-only access to the ISP)

Remaining sections of the study plan

In connection with annual follow-up, the following should also be checked / revised:

  • Basic information (section 1)
    Check that all information is correct.
  • Follow-up meetings (section 6)
    Write the date and describe briefly the most important issues raised at this meeting. It is possible here to make plans for other type of meetings and follow-ups.   
  • Comments (section 7)
    If the doctoral student or the supervisor have any additional comments to the study plan.
  • Ethical permits (section 8)
    Make sure that the information is correct and update if any new ethical permits have been issued.
  • Documents (section 10)
    Upload any new relevant documents, for example:
    • Ethical permits
    • Revised research plan
    • Half-time report and half-time review record (protocol)
    • Published papers   
    • Notification of accepted manuscripts
    • Revised financial plan
    • Decision regarding revised supervisor group (form 15)
  • Message log
    It is important to use this log to communicate with the study director. Here you can make him/her aware of updates you have done. If any major problems/issues have arised, contact the study director separately and ask for a meeting.

Meeting with the Director of doctoral studies

In connection to the first annual follow-up the doctoral student shall be offered a meeting with the department's Director of doctoral education. This can take place individually or in a group. The aim is to identify any possible uncertainty, to ensure that the doctoral education is proceeding according to plan, and to establish contact between the Director of doctoral education and the doctoral student.


Questions regarding the annual follow-up: Contact the director of doctoral studies ("studierektor") at their home department

Questions regarding the digital ISP-system