Licentiate seminar application

The licentiate degree can be earned after two years of full-time education at the doctoral level (120 higher education credits).

Before applying

You should prepare your licentiate seminar application well in advance, ideally three months or more before your planned licentiate seminar date. 

  • Book a venue for your chosen defence date on a weekday during semester-time. The venue must be located in the Stockholm region so that KI’s students and staff can attend. Venues are booked through your own department. 
  • Contact your members of the Examination Board to make sure that they are available on the date in question, and that the board members are able to take part in the preliminary review of the constituent papers of your thesis. Propose a coordinator from the examination board and inform them of their role (see Information to Examination Board and Defence Chairperson, licentiate thesis. One or more of the Examination Board members may digitally participate, provided that the licentiate seminar can be carried out with high quality. Read more about digital participation in public defence (and licentiate seminar).
  • Contact the printer to find out how long it will take to have your thesis printed. Request permission to publish from the relevant journals and obtain an ISBN. See Printing your thesis.
  • Complete your comprehensive summary (thesis frame). Please note that the text will be checked to ensure that there is no plagiarism. At the same time, it will show if the text consists of any self-plagiarism. Read more about the content of the thesis (including guidelines for writing a framework report). 


A suitable time interval between the meetings of the Dissertation Committee and your desired licentiate seminar date is about ten weeks. This is to protect you from having to postpone your licentiate seminar if the process is delayed for some reason.  

A licentiate seminar application consists of two parts. 

  • Part 1 includes form no. 9, and a number of compulsory and other possibly required annexes.  
  • Part 2 includes: 
    • A copy of form no. 9 
    • The constituent papers of your thesis, including manuscripts, in full (manuscripts may be incomplete). 

See further instructions for form no 9

Examination Board

The goal of the Examination Board’s composition is that the members total expertise should cover the entire area of the thesis.  

The members must be free in their assessment so that no doubt can be cast on the objectivity of their decision (see “Avoiding COI” below). There are normally three members of the board, but in exceptional circumstances (e.g. if the thesis is explicitly multidisciplinary) this number may be increased to five. 

At least one member of the Examination Board is to belong to a university other than KI and have no current affiliation with KI. No more than one member, although not the coordinator, may belong to your or your supervisor’s department. 

All members are to be docents or professors, although in exceptional cases, the Dissertation Committee may approve a proposed member who holds neither position. To apply for an exemption from the regulations, a letter explaining as to why the proposed member possesses such a unique scientific subject competence that it is not possible to find another unbiased docent or professor. Additionally, a CV including a list of publications for the proposed member must be attached to the application. 

Note that only one proposal for an Examination Board member is to be submitted.  

The Dissertation Committee can decide on the replacement of one or more of its members. 

The doctoral student is responsible for sending the following documents to the chair of the dissertation (the members of the Examination Board will receive the information directly from the Dissertation Committee): 

Avoiding conflict of interest (COI)

The requirements on the impartiality and objectivity of the Examination Board members are extremely high. The reason is to protect the doctoral student from any circumstances where claims are brought up that the process did not run correctly. If there is the slightest reason for others to doubt the objectivity of the Examination Board, it would mean that your interests have not been looked after sufficiently. 

The following documents are available to help you judge whether a conflict of interest situation exists: 

COI as defined by the Administrative Procedure Act

According to the Administrative Procedure Act, conflict of interest refers to any circumstances in which a member of a decision-making body engaged in a discussion about, or the presentation of specific material can be assumed to lack objectivity of opinion. The members of an Examination Board must thus have absolutely no connection with you personally, your supervisor or your project. 

Karolinska Institutet’s COI rules

KI’s COI rules (pdf)

The Swedish Research Council’s COI rules

The Swedish Research Council (VR) has also issued general COI rules (in Swedish)

The VR’s Scientific Council for Medicine and Health has defined how its COI rules are to be applied, specifying the following: 

  • A conflict of interests arises if there has been scientific collaboration and joint production over the past five year period. A co-authored article is sufficient to be considered joint production. 
  • A conflict of interests may arise for periods longer than five years if the collaboration has been particularly close. 
  • The relationship between a postgraduate student and his/her supervisor is considered a matter of conflict of interest, regardless of how long ago the collaboration took place. 
  • An exception from the 5-year rule can be made in the event of collaboration in the form of multicentre studies, which are judged on individual merits. 

Many factors are taken into consideration by the Dissertation Committee when judging the suitability of an opponent or a member of the Examination Board. Sometimes it is a matter of clear-cut COI, but situations also arise in which a reviewer is considered unsuitable owing to lack of objectivity despite there having been no formal breach of the COI rules. The purpose of these decisions is to prevent situations in which objectivity can be called to question. 

Dissertation Committee

Questions about the public defence application