Guide for Chinese KI-CSC scholarship applicants for doctoral degree studies

The Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC), through the KI-CSC programme, awards scholarships to doctoral students with Chinese citizenship for doctoral degree studies at KI, based on an agreement between KI and CSC. CSC funded doctoral students will receive the scholarship for four years supplemented with a top-up scholarship or a partial salary.

Call for recruitment 2023-2024 has been cancelled

KI has decided to cancel the call for 2023-2024 recruitment of the KI-CSC programme. KI is negotiating with CSC the current KI-CSC agreement, as the content of the contract between CSC and its awardees has been questioned.

KI supervisors and hosts recruiting Chinese scholars applying for CSC scholarships have been invited to an information meeting.

Further queries can be addressed to: Nailin Li , or

Application process and timeline

Call 2023 - 2024 has been suspended.

Process and timeline CSC
Process and timeline CSC Photo: N/A

Matchmaking: From November to March of the following year

From November to March of the following year, you should identify a potential KI supervisor, according to your research interests, from the list of available research projects which will be published at the KI-CSC website. The list contains descriptions of the available research projects together with the names of the prospective PhD supervisors and their e-mail addresses.

When you identify a project of interest, make contact to investigate whether there exists the personal and professional match as the basis of working together. Take an online interview or a visit to KI to sort this out.

Note: KI hosts/supervisors who are not on the list will not be available as hosts for students in the respective year. In addition, KI will not accept additional applicants outside the KI-CSC programme, i.e., through the open calls of other CSC scholarship programmes.

Prepare your application: Before mid-March 

If mutual agreement is reached between you and a potential supervisor, the supervisor will provide you with the documents needed for your application to CSC. Please also check detailed instructions on the CSC website. The documents needed for your application to CSC include:

  • A detailed research plan for the doctoral training (usually 2-4 pages), dated and signed by the supervisor. Please provide the supervisor the template of research plan from CSC.
  • A dated and signed curriculum vitae (CV) from the supervisor at KI.  Please note that you need to provide the KI supervisor with the template for the research plan and the CV as required from CSC.
  • A letter of invitation using KI’s template provided by the supervisor. The invitation letter will be co-signed by the head of department to certify your visit. CSC will only consider applicants with invitation letters included in the official KI endorsement list. The letter is issued preconditioned of your successful application for a CSC scholarship, equally as fulfilling the entry requirements for the 4-year PhD program at Karolinska Institutet.

Submit your application: March 

A complete application for a KI-CSC scholarship includes two parts, an online application and a hardcopy application.

Submit your online application for the KI-CSC scholarships at the CSC website, under the category of CSC-KI collaborative project (国家留学基金委与卡罗林斯卡医学院合作项目). You will need to submit documents as mentioned above including:

  • A research plan, dated and signed by the supervisor.
  • A CV of the supervisor, 1-2 pages, dated and signed by the supervisor.
  • A letter of invitation using KI’s template provided by the supervisor.

Upon completing the online application, you must also submit the hardcopy of the application, including all required documents, to your home university/institution for institutional endorsement/recommendation.

For the endorsement of applicants, an official list of the applicants is made based on the invitation letters sent to KI International Relations Office. The list of endorsed applicants will be sent to CSC afterwards. Only applicants that have been endorsed by KI will be considered by CSC.

After the institutional endorsement procedures, the home universities/institutions will mail the hardcopy of the applications to CSC in April. Notably, CSC must receive both the online and the hardcopy applications). Hence, it is highly recommended that you complete the online application and proceed to institutional endorsement early.

Prospective doctoral students undertaking master’s degree education in Sweden can submit their application through the Education Section of the Chinese Embassy in Stockholm.

Selection of candidates by CSC: April - May 

CSC organizes independent evaluations of all submitted applications during April - May. CSC informs the applicants’ home university/institution as well as KI the outcome of the applications in late May. 

KI International Relations Office informs KI supervisors/hosts of the outcome of CSC scholarship applications upon receiving the notifications from CSC. More information for Chinese citizens and residents to study abroad with a CSC sponsorship can be found at the CSC website. The KI host and you plan the research project at KI together. When the decision has been taken, and the KI supervisor is informed, the KI supervisor will send you a letter with further instructions on how to proceed.

Due to the current travel restrictions, please check with China scholarship council when you should start your studies at KI.

Admission to doctoral studies at KI

To be admitted to doctoral studies at KI, the candidate must:

General and specific admission requirements for doctoral education at KI

Applicants must meet both the general eligibility and specific requirements for doctoral education at KI.

General eligibility

Information on entry requirements for doctoral education at KI:

A prospective doctoral student meets the general entry requirement for doctoral education if he or she:

  • has been awarded a degree at advanced university level (equivalent to second cycle in Sweden, master’s degree) or,
  • has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits (ECTS) of which at least 60 credits (ECTS) were awarded at advanced level, or
  • has acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

Specific eligibility (English language requirements)

All prospective doctoral students must show proof of proficiency in English. For information on how to certify English language proficiency (through tests or university level studies), please see English language requirements for doctoral education.


Can I apply for funding from CSC for more than four years?

No, you cannot prolong the CSC scholarship for more than four years in principle.

What should I do if I and my institution would like to extend my study at KI?

If both you and your department agree to extend your study program at KI, you should submit an online application at CSC website with a letter of approval from your supervisor regarding the extension of your study.

You will be employed as Doctoral student-L on a general fixed-term contract (max. 2 years) for the remaining period. If you take time off from work because of illness or parental leave during your general fixed-term employment, the employment period cannot be extended accordingly.

Please note that it is not possible to use KI scholarships for funding of the remaining period since KI scholarships can only be used to top-up another scholarship.

Can I extend my master-degree student visa for preparing my PhD study in Sweden if I have been confirmed that I would receive scholarship from CSC?

No, you cannot extend your student visa once you have completed your study in Sweden. You can only apply for visa for your studies after you are admitted to doctoral education.

Can I suspend my doctoral study as a CSC scholarship recipient?

Yes, you can suspend your study at KI. Please make sure that you inform CSC about your suspension in advance.

Can I apply for CSC- and other scholarship programmes in China at same time?

It is up to you to decide if you would like to apply for other scholarship programmes, but you should not use more than one funding source for the same purpose.

Which type of residence permit should I apply for?

Where can I get the attestation of studies for the application of residence permit for doctoral studies?

An attestation of studies should be issued by an authorised staff at KI. For example, the principal supervisor, the department’s director of studies or the head of the department.

You can find more information regarding attestation of studies at the following link:

Checklist for attestation of studies regarding initial residence permit for doctoral studies

Do I have to take internationally recognized English test such as TOEFL or IELTS even if I fulfil the English requirement determined by the China Scholarship Council?

Yes. You are required to meet the English requirement through an internationally recognized English test. You can find more information about the English requirement at the following link. English language requirements for doctoral education.

Am I eligible for the CSC scholarship if I am temporarily employed as a research assistant after completing my master’s degree recently?

Yes. You are eligible for the CSC scholarship if you apply for the scholarship within one year after graduation.