Recruit doctoral students

A university needs a good recruitment process in order to bring on board highly proficient doctoral students. Karolinska Institutet (KI) recruits doctoral students through a competitive process designed to broaden the recruitment base and improve the match of doctoral student to research project.

Establishing a doctoral position

Before a doctoral student can be recruited a doctoral position must be established. The purpose is quality assurance of research project, supervision (including financial resources) and doctoral education environment at an early stage.

More information:

The admission process at KI

Study funding for doctoral students


All doctoral student positions at KI have to be advertised, except in cases when exemption applies

Announcements of doctoral student positions must be:

  • Advertised via the recruitment system at KI (Varbi), using the template available in the system.
  • Advertised at a suitable point in time, and it is recommended that the application period is three weeks or more.
  • An advertisement in Swedish or in Swedish and English.

Recruitment process

To recruit a doctoral student is primarily to recruit for an education position, rather than recruit for an ordinary employment position. It is hence important to take into account both the HR aspect in the recruitment process and the special circumstances regarding doctoral education.

In the recruitment guide you find general guidance to the different steps in a recruitment process.

See also Rules for doctoral education at KI

Eligibility for doctoral education

To be selected for a doctoral position, the candidate must meet the formal entry requirements. These are defined in the advertisement templet and the applicants are checked for eligibility before the selection process commences.

The department can begin to review candidate qualifications as soon as the position for doctoral education has been advertised. The reviewing can proceed while the candidates are being assessed for doctoral eligibility. Interviews can however only take place with eligible candidates after the deadline has passed and when all candidates have had their eligibility assessed by the administrative officers at the central administration (Universitetsförvaltningen, UF).

See also: the Admission process at KI

Other requirements

Besides the formal entry requirements it is important to design a requirement profile for the particular doctoral project. The requirements profile describes what is demanded from the applicant in order to manage the work,

It is important that you think through what are necessary must-have requirements and what are merits, as in should-have requirements. It is the formulation in the profile that motivates the selection of the candidate.

It is encouraged to use the HR competence available at the department.


It is important to make a thorough selection. It is recommended to invite one or more candidates during the recruitment process, since personal meetings and interviews are vital. It is also encouraged to give tests to better judge suitability and abilities, for example writing a scientific abstract.

When selecting among the eligible candidates a collective assessment should be done of merits and suitability. The following assessment critera should be used:

  • Documented subject knowledge of significance to the research project
  • Analytical skills
  • Other documented knowledge/experience of potential significance to doctoral education in medical science

See KI’s recruitment guide for general guidance in selection of candidates.

When a candidate is selected

When the recruitment is finalized the candidate must be admitted to doctoral education. Contact the director of doctoral studies at the department.

After the decision on admission (by the head of the department), a decision is to be made regarding employment.

More information:

The Admission process at KI

Recruitment of international doctoral students

Support and advice for you who is working to recruit and receive incoming doctoral students and researchers from abroad

Residence permit for doctoral students


For technical questions about Varbi, please contact support at 0520-580050.

For questions regarding recruitment, contact HR at the department

For questions regarding doctoral education, contact director of doctoral studies at the department.