Designing doctoral courses

The aim of this course is to enhance your ability to explore choices and make informed choices in course design and develop your professional competence as a university teacher. 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.

Target audience

If you have these questions:

  • How can I use pedagogic theories, instructional methods, and information ‎technology to create a meaningful learning experience in my course?‎
  • I am going to design a new course at the Ph.D. level, how can it be designed to meet the needs of doctoral students best? ‎

Then you are in the right place! The course is targeted at ‎course directors of doctoral courses at Karolinska Institutet and focuses on the ‎specific challenges and opportunities of doctoral education.

Learning outcomes

After the course the participants will be able to:

  • Apply an outcome-based framework to design doctoral courses aligned to regulations of ILOs for Ph.D. students.
  • Justify choices made in course design, based on evidence of what facilitates student learning.
  • Align course design with KI policy on doctoral courses.


The course will address the central aspects of course design:

  • How to formulate intended learning outcomes?
  • How to make choices regarding content selection?
  • How to choose related teaching and learning activities?
  • How to select appropriate student assessment tasks? And finally
  • How to evaluate a course and develop it further?

Teaching and learning methods

The participants will familiarize themselves with the principles and application of active learning, such as flipped classrooms, and digital media. All participants are given the opportunity to work with and further develop their own/authentic course.

Structure of the course

The course equals two weeks of full-time study (80 hours). Coursework between seminars includes reading educational literature and preparatory work for the next seminar, practical work on your doctoral course, and collaborative learning with peers.

The course consists of six course meetings where we meet and in some parts, we meet participants from Kursdesign (Swedish course design course) for joint interactive lectures. These will be held in English.

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 doctoral education, opportunities for peer learning are actively promoted. Active participation in small group learning activities is therefore essential.

Language: English.


To pass the course you need to:

  • Write a course design and justify the choices made based on pedagogical theories and principles
  • Make a peer review of another participant's examination assignment and give feedback
  • Actively participates in all parts of the course

Instructions and assessment criteria for the examination assignment are given at the start of the course.

Entry requirements

This is a continuation course. To fulfill the entry requirements, you need:

  1. You should have taken a minimum of three weeks of teacher training courses (i.e. courses in medical education or university pedagogy).
  2. You should be a course director (“kursansvarig”) for a doctoral course.

Due to the practically oriented nature of this course, participants must be actively working with at least one doctoral course of their own. Teachers of doctoral courses who are not officially course directors can be admitted if the head of the department or the responsible person for the doctoral program gives a recommendation.

Course dates 

The next iteration of the course will be on Spring 2025. The registration form will open in September 2024.

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


The course is given by Unit for Teaching and Learning.

Course syllabus


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Arash Hadadgar

Course leader