Postgraduate studies

These pages contain most of the information that doctoral students and supervisors need with regard to postgraduate studies at the Department of Biology. If you have further questions, please do not hesitate to contact one of the Directors of Postgraduate Studies.


Nameplates on a table.

From admission to the public defence of your thesis

In brief, postgraduate studies proceed as follows:

Once the department has admitted a doctoral student, the following steps are taken:

  1. The Director of Postgraduate Studies appoints a Supervisory Committee.
  2. The doctoral student and the supervisor draw up an Individual Study Plan (at the Faculty web) together. This is a web-based description of the doctoral student’s project plan and the credits that the doctoral student has earned during his or her studies. The Individual Study Plan is updated once a year and new credits are registered in LADOK.
  3. Each semester, a doctoral student appraisal is held in which the doctoral student and the Supervisory Committee meet and discuss the doctoral student’s progress and ideas. The Director of Postgraduate Studies attends the first appraisal after admission.


Besides conducting research and writing a thesis, a doctoral student must attend several courses and meet other requirements, such as passing a Mid-Term Review. Three of the courses are compulsory: The Faculty of Science’s Introductory Course for Doctoral Students, Evolutionary Processes (at our English external web), and the university-wide Introductory Course in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education (at the Faculty web). There are many other courses both within the department and beyond (at our English external web). The doctoral student can also earn credits by presenting posters and lectures at conferences. Other ways of earning credits are to study and be examined on important books within the research field. The number of credits for the above is regulated in the General Curriculum for Postgraduate Studies in Biology (at the Faculty web).

Career planning

During the last semester of postgraduate studies, the supervisory committee holds a Career Planning Meeting with the doctoral student, during which various employment opportunities are discussed. The committee also advises on how the doctoral student can best get started on his or her career.


To obtain a Doctoral degree in Biology, the doctoral student must write an academic thesis which is based on his or her own research (180 credits) and in addition, have earned 60 credits from successfully completed courses. In order to obtain a Licentiate degree (at the Faculty web) in Biology, half as many credits are required (i.e. 90 and 30 credits respectively). What is required for the thesis and the courses are specified in detail in the General Curriculum for Biology (at the Faculty web).

Thesis defence

The final stage in a doctoral student’s education is the official public defence of a doctoral thesis, before a faculty Examiner (opponent) and an examination committee. If the thesis defence is passed by the examination committee, and all other formal requirements are met, the new doctoral graduate can be officially awarded his or her PhD degree at a conferment ceremony. The conferment ceremony (at the LU central web) is a formal event held in Lund Cathedral at the end of May each year.