What is an Individual Study Plan (ISP)?

An individual study plan (ISP) is drawn up for each doctoral student where the commitments of the doctoral student and the University is defined. The ISP is a governing document for the entire education and should ensure that the education is performed, and followed-up, in an efficient way.


A Planning tool

Since each doctoral student receives a personal education, individual study plans are needed in order to clearly set out what he or she is to do and learn and, not least, how and why he or she is to do so. In being kept relevant and updated by means of annual reflection and adjustment, the plan can serve as a roadmap for the student’s education and as a tool for his or her supervision. 

A properly worded ISP provides clarity of expectations and thus a solid ground for effective supervision. It also makes it easier for everyone to stay on schedule and for any problems to be exposed in good time.  

A contract

An established ISP is effectively a contract between:

  • KI - committed to provide the doctoral student with the education as described.
  • The supervisors - committed to provide appropriate supervision to the extent described.
  • The doctoral student - committed to conduct the research in accordance with the specified time plan and to attend the courses and other learning activities.

If the student pursues his or her doctoral education under an employer other than KI, representatives of that employer must also commit to its undertakings by signing the financing plan. 

If it transpires that the ISP is impracticable, it must be revised. If the supervisors fail to honour their commitments, it falls to the head of department to rectify matters. A student who significantly fails to honour his or her commitments might risk forfeiting his or her resources.


An individual study plan (ISP) contains both what is planned and what is done. It contains the following sections:

  • Time plan and financial support
  • Courses and other educational activities
  • Supervisors and their responsibilities
  • Doctoral project
  • Follow-up meetings
  • Ethical permits
  • Degree outcomes

The ISP system

From 1 February 2021, all new doctoral students at KI will have a digital individual study plan created in the ISP system.

Doctoral students with an existing ISP established as a Word document should during 2021, in conjunction with their annual follow-up, transfer the content to the digital system. Those planning public defence during 2021 or spring 2022 can choose whether they want to transfer or not.

Features of the ISP-system

  • Automatically generated reminders to the doctoral student and principal supervisor when it is time for the annual follow-up
  • Linked to Ladok – ata, e.g. completed courses, are transferred from Ladok to ISP 
  • Includes a message log where users inform each other about edits or tasks in the ISP
  • Permits easy follow-up of progression through the doctoral education 
  • A supervisor has access to study plans for all their doctoral students; a Study Director and Study Administrator have access to all study plans at their department
  • Can be accessed anywhere
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