Credit transfers doctoral education

Credit values from courses of relevance may be transferred to the doctoral education, upon application from the doctoral student.

What is credit transfer?

A credit transfer is a decision regulated by the Higher Education Ordinance. It means that credit-bearing courses and knowledge requirements of the general syllabus is replaced by credits earned before the start of the doctoral education or earned by taking courses outside KI.

What credits may be transferred?

Doctoral students are entitled to transfer the credits awarded for the following (in accordance with chap. 6, sections 6 and 7 of the Higher Education Ordinance):

  • Courses studied at a Swedish or European higher education institution
  • Other courses, including courses offered by Region Stockholm or by a non-European university 
  • Knowledge and skills acquired in a vocational or professional capacity

Credit transfer from previous studies

To transfer credits from previous studies is only possible for doctoral students who have earned more credits than what was required for general eligibility to doctoral education (i.e. 240 credits whereof 60 credits at advanced level).

This means that a doctoral student who had not earned more than 240 hp before admission cannot transfer any credits from previous studies.

Note that all courses taken before admission, even if KI was the course provider, must be formally transferred to the doctoral education. 

It is usually an advantage for the doctoral student to take courses during the doctoral education rather than transferring from previous studies. Courses means an opportunity to lift questions related to the research project and to form networks with other doctoral students. A recent course is also more likely to be updated with recent research findings.

Credit transfer from course outside KI

A doctoral student can take courses at other universities and courses arranged by other course organisers, but these courses must be transferred into the doctoral education at KI, see Application for credit transfer below.

Note that there is no point in transferring more courses than required by the general syllabus. 

Planned courses should be expressed in the individual study plan

Learning activities other than courses

Participation in credit-bearing learning activities other than courses (e.g. seminars, international congresses with own presentation, or temporary stay in another research group) must be reported by the student to the department using form 16 if they are to be registered in Ladok. Do not confuse this administrative routine with credit transfer decisions.

These learning activities is a part of a doctoral education at KI, and it is not possible to replace these requirements with something done from before admission.

Credit transfer of knowledge and skills from work experience 

The doctoral student can apply for an assessment of their knowledge and skills acquired in a vocational or professional capacity to meet a course requirement. This is most likely only relevant in relation to mandatory courses, for example statistics. 

The doctoral student must provide documentation to corroborate the skills and knowledge cited in his/her application. 

Application for a credit transfer

Students are to complete form 13 and hand it in to the departmental doctoral education administrator. Only one transfer may be applied for per application form. 

Applications must include the following supporting documentation:

  • A description of the content and nature of the course 
  • Proof of participation and result of examination

It is the responsibility of the doctoral student to submit sufficient documentation so that an assessment of relevance, level and scope of the course is possible. Without sufficient documentation a decision cannot be made. If a course has been completed abroad, information must be provided on the credit system in effect in that country/university (as an appendix to the application).

Assessment of application

The director of doctoral studies judges the quality and scope of the course in terms of the requirements of the general syllabus and of what is relevant to the student in question. 

If there is a specific course at KI that the doctoral student want to replace with something else, the assessment should be done against that KI course syllabus (see the syllabi database). This is usually most relevant for obligatory courses.

Accreditation decisions

The departmental director of doctoral studies is the person delegated by the head of department to decide on credit transfers. In the event of a conflict of interest (e.g. if the director of studies is the student’s supervisor), the decision is taken by the head of department or another delegee.

Credit transfer decisions may be appealed. Such appeals are to be made in writing and sent to the Karolinska Institutet registrar ( within three weeks of the decision announcement. In the appeal it should be stated which decision it concerns and the desired changes. The decision can either be changed completely, partly changed or prevail. Information on appeals

Importance for the degree certificate

All approved credit transfers as stated on the credit transfer application form will appear in the degree certificate. It is therefore important that titles and course names are reproduced correctly in both English and Swedish. 

Note that courses at another educational levels than the doctoral level will not be included in the doctoral degree unless they have been formally transferred. This applies also when KI is the course provider, and when the course is taken during ongoing doctoral education.

Courses from a previous licentiate education

Everything completed within a licentiate education at KI will automatically follow the doctoral student if he/she is admitted to the “latter part” of doctoral education. No accreditation decisions are necessary.