Career Support for doctoral students

As a doctoral student you are pursuing the highest academic degree possible: a PhD. Thinking about where you stand in your career, how your doctoral education contributes to it and where you want to go are vital to your development, no mater where you envision yourself in the future.

This page is meant to provide you with resources and links relevant for doctoral students, so you can find the info you need to work on your own career.

Planning your doctoral studies

All doctoral students at KI follow the general syllabus in Medical Science. For each doctoral student an individual study plan (ISP) is established. In order to plan your doctoral education and future career, it is important to be aware of these requirements, so you know what is expected and can decide how you will use your time. It is also important that you as a doctoral student are aware of, and can find, the document Rules on doctoral education at KI where all rules relevant for doctoral education are gathered, like for example the official requirements to be able to defend.

In addition to being a student, many doctoral students are also employed at KI and thus have the same rights and obligations as other employees. This double role gives you the opportunity to get support from different places.

You can find more info on the doctoral defense process and how to plan for it on the KI website, or on some of the defense related blog posts written by our Career Service Bloggers.

More info about all aspects of being as doctoral student at KI can be found on the staff website for doctoral education at KI

Career seminars and workshops

All through the year, we organize career related events, seminars and workshops. You can see which events we have planned for the current semester in our own calendar, and find upcoming events by us and others in the general career calendar below it. If you have suggestions of topics you would want us to cover that are not currently offered, feel free to contact us and ask, maybe we can organize something.

The KI library (KIB), regularly organizes seminars and workshops related to performing literature research or writing for halftime or defense, which are announced in the KIB calendar.

Career course 

The doctoral course "Career Skills for Scientists" is offered twice a year during the spring and autumn semesters. Through lectures and workshops you will learn about career options for PhDs and increase your awareness about all the transferable skills you obtain during your doctoral education. The course is particularly popular, because it is a requirement to apply to our internship program for doctoral students.

Internship Program

This internship program is open to doctoral students employed at KI who are or have been enrolled in the doctoral course Career Skills for Scientists (2463)The Committee of Doctoral Education (KFU) at KI supports the program financially. 

Career Service offers up to 15 internship positions per term (spring and autumn) for one month with a financed salary at a company or organization in life sciences within the private and public sectors. More information on internship program for doctoral students

Inspiration and guidance

A big hurdle in career development is getting an idea of all of the things you could possibly do, and figuring out what would suit you.

Career portraits

Looking out to what others have done can be a place to start. For inspiration both inside and outside academia, you could take a look at the magazine"A PhD can take you anywhere" and the career portraits on our blog. Both sources hold career portraits written by doctoral students participating in our doctoral course "Career Skills for Scientists". You could of course conduct your own informal interviews with people who have jobs you find interesting, and find out what drives them or what it took to get there.

myIDP - my individual development plan

You can also start by looking at the skills you have and the tasks you enjoy doing, and find out which jobs would fit with that. A good start for this is my individual development plan (myIDP) tool by ScienceCareers. It will not only help you think about your skills, but also give you ideas of which kinds of jobs would fit your skills, or what you need to work on to fit a type of job you would like to pursue.

Online Career Modules

For more personal career development you can take a look at these Online Career Modules, which help you in many topics ranging from understanding what you want and need, to career decisions and negotiation techniques.


Finally, don't forget the value of one or more mentors when it comes to inspiration and guidance. This could be the official mentor you have at KI (stated on your doctoral education registration forms), a senior person in your lab, an alumni who studied the same thing as you and just started a company, a mentor provided by a mentorship program, etc. The important thing is that you take initiative and build up a good relationship with your mentor(s).

Need help finding a mentor, or want to become one for a more junior person at KI? Join the KI mentoring platform!

KI Researcher blogs

If you are interested in exploring popular science writing you can apply to become a blogger on the KI Researcher blog. The blog is run by a team of doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers, alumni and KI Career Service staff.


Thinking of going abroad, or maybe Sweden is "abroad" for you? Then you might need tips on the working culture of the country, adaptations to CV, etc. GoinGlobal is a platform with country profiles, job adds, internship tips, employer overviews and more, and thanks to our subscription with then you can enter it form free by logging in with your KI credentials. You can also create your own profile after that, to set personalized notifications and save searchers. Need help getting started? They have training sessions explaining the platform.

Stockholm Dual Career Network

If you are an international doctoral student at KI, your partner can benefit from the services offered at the Stockholm Dual Career Network (SDCN).

SDCN is an exclusive community for the accompanying partners of international employees. Members of the community gain access to a professional network and social activities that will help them ease into the process of settling down and finding friends in an unfamiliar place. At SDCN, expat partners get comprehensive career support and opportunities to connect with other expat partners. KI is part of SDCN and pays a yearly membership fee to Stockholms Akademiska Forum, which runs SDCN. All your partner has to do is fill out the registration at their website. Once registered, they will have access to all SDCN events and activities, such as the SDCN Academy: Unlock Sweden program. 

Getting funded

Although attracting research funding and applying for grants is more important later in an academic career, doctoral students can also apply for grants, such as travel grants, to participate in conferences or other activities such as exchange or study visits. This will help your lab financially, but practising your grant writing skills will also benefit your future career!

The KI Grants Office organizes travel grant calls for doctoral students four times yearly. Information about all the calls for doctoral students is available on the KI Grants Office's web page. 
Moreover, as a doctoral student, you can access the Pivot-RP database for global funding opportunities, where you can find information about funding to attend scientific events, fellowships or postdoctoral Awards, prizes and awards, scholarships, training, travel grants, collaboration opportunities, and more.

Building your network

Whether you call it networking or collaborating, you will not benefit from spending your doctoral studies in isolation. Getting to know people, what they do and what they are looking for will help you find your own path and come up with better ideas, be it in your research or for your career moves. And don't forget to let them know who you are, what you do and what you are looking for either!

After finishing any position at KI, all the way from getting a bachelor degree to retiring as a professor, you can join the KI Alumni Network. You can also keep in contact with other KI alums by joining the KI alumni profile on LinkedIn.

Using social media for your career

Karolinska Institutet has both a University page and a company page on LinkedIn. Moreover, an Instagram account is exclusively open to students and employed coworkers at KI. 

Innovation and entrepreneurship

Have you made a discovery you would like to patent? Do you want to start a company? Or do you just have general questions related to intellectual property and innovation? The people at KI Innovations can help you out.

For education and research on innovation and entrepreneurship you can turn to the Unit for Bioentrepreneurship (UBE), which is part of the LIME department. You can read on an experience with a UBE workshop and the resulting thoughts on what it means to be an entrepreneur in one of our blog posts.

Another resource on entrepreneurship is the Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship (SSES), which also offer courses for doctoral students.

CV and LinkedIn

When you look for jobs you will need CVs. We collected some general tips on how to write a CV, and sometime organize seminars related to CV writing, which is also part of the doctoral course Career Skills for Scientists. Keep your eye on our calendar and course catalogue.

Whether you like social media or not, LinkedIn is an important tool when it comes to job seeking. Most jobs are not communicated through ads, but actually through contacts, and in contrast to a CV, your LinkedIn profile is always online and you can not tailor it to a specific job ad, so put some thought into it. Read some tips for your LinkedIn profile here

KI offers current students the opportunity to receive personal feedback on their CV, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile by job experts via our partner-company Go Monday. Within 24 hours after submitting your CV, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile to Go Monday, they will digitally send you personal feedback on how you can improve your application to get your dream job.

Job opportunities

For job openings right here, you can turn to KI's main page for jobs at KI.

For jobs outside of KI, you can look at

  • The jobs/career page of the specific university / company / organization website
  • Job listing sites
  • Services mentioned above, like GoinGlobal and EURAXESS
  • Recruiting / consulting companies
  • Your personal network, like former lab-members, collaborators, friends,... (don't underestimate this!)

We also sporadically share job opportunities in our newsletter.

Understanding the academic positions at KI

An academic career is often a very international one. However, the exact positions and what they entail look different between countries, so it might be a good idea to make yourself familiar with the different positions that exist at KI and the Career structure for academic staff.


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