The browser you are using is not supported by this website. All versions of Internet Explorer are no longer supported, either by us or Microsoft (read more here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/windows/end-of-ie-support).

Please use a modern browser to fully experience our website, such as the newest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari etc.

Courses and credit-earning components

Courses and individual undertakings corresponding to 60 credits should complement the research project (180 credits) in educating and examination towards the outcomes for a doctoral degree as stated in the Higher Education Ordinance.

These courses can serve to give knowledge and skills required for the research project (methods courses), to bring broader and deeper knowledge in the research area, or to develop generic knowledge and skills to do research in the natural sciences (for example research ethics, scientific writing). Some courses and components are compulsory for students enrolled in the biology programme, while others are elective and decided by the supervisory committee and listed in the individual study plan.

Compulsory components

If the doctoral student works with laboratory animals, Training in Laboratory Animal Science (on Lund University's Staff Pages) is compulsory.

If the doctoral student works with laboratory animals, Training in Laboratory Animal Science (on Lund University's Staff Pages) is compulsory.

Time plan for the compulsory courses
Autumn semester Spring semester
Evolutionary processes 2022-10-24 – 2022-10-28 Graduate studies in biology: the science and its philosophy February/March 2023
Research ethics 2022-09-26 – 2022-10-07 Research ethics 2023-03-06 – 2023-03-17 and 2023-04-17 – 2023-04-28
Faculty introductory course 2022-09-22 Faculty-wide introductory course
2022-04-07
Learning and teaching in higher education – theory and practice 4.5 credits, and the shorter version of 3 credits, are usually run once per semester by the Faculty
Teaching and learning in higher education – online, 3 credits is usually run once per semester by Division for higher education development
Learning and teaching in higher education – theory and practice 4.5 credits, and the shorter version of 3 credits, are usually run once per semester by the Faculty
Teaching and learning in higher education – online, 3 credits is usually run once per semester by Division for higher education development

Active participation in conference

Active participation in international conferences, symposia and workshops is an essential part of the PhD education. Such participation in a weeklong conference gives 1.5/3 credits (see the general syllabus you are admitted to). Active participation in BLAM with oral or poster presentation is suggested to give 1.5 credits. For PhD students admitted from 2021, active participation in at least one international conference is compulsory. 

For conference participation to be examined and giving credits, the PhD student should:

  • have presented their own research in an oral presentation or a poster presentation
  • have participated in all relevant components of the conference (oral sessions, poster sessions and other activities)
  • make an oral or written reflection around
    1. the most important new learning and insights, for instance, if the view of the research area and the student's research has changed,
    2. the presentation the student gave, any response received, and the research communication in a wider sense during the conference,
    3. new relevant research environments identified, acquaintances made or contacts established
  • to present the same poster or to give the same oral presentation at another conference does not generate additional credits

Studies for broadening within the research area

An outcome of the PhD studies is that the doctoral students shall acquire broad and deep knowledge in the research area. The research area is more specific than the subject biology but wider than the thesis project. The research area for the individual doctoral student is formulated in consultation between the department representative, supervisor and doctoral student. To foster this type of knowledge we have a course requirement of at least 5 credits which should provide broadening within the research area (for doctoral students admitted from 2021). This can be special courses that are organized at the department, but also external courses. The departmental representative can give information about which relevant activities exist for a given PhD student, but initiatives from doctoral students and supervisors are also welcome.

The studies should promote a broader and deeper understanding of the research area to which the thesis work belongs. The PhD student should be able to put the thesis work into a bigger context and should have a more thorough understanding of the theories and methodology that characterize the research area. For each activity, more specific outcomes should be defined.

The studies should be teacher-led. The studies can be organized through seminars around books and other literature, lectures, excursions, exercises, or a combination of these. The studies should be activating and if it takes place in a group of students, which is preferable, the individual efforts should be possible to separate. Written tasks or oral student presentations may be included.

Active participation in the activities and the approval of any oral or written assignments are required for credits to be awarded. A final reflection in relation to the defined outcomes, with an oral or written presentation, should be part of the examination.

Concepts in Aquatic Ecology – A PhD course
Aim of the course

The course aims to give a broad understanding of processes and concepts related to the structure and function of limnic and marine ecosystems. The course is based on literature within major areas, such as trophic interactions, catchment influence, organism interactions, evolutionary processes, environmental chemistry, biogeography, and environmental threats to aquatic systems. Key papers are selected to shed light on both historical and recent theoretical and empirical breakthroughs.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, the participants should be able to:

Knowledge and understanding
  • Describe abundance and distribution of different types of aquatic systems
  • Explain by examples important types of organism interactions
  • Explain by examples how different catchments influence the structure and function of aquatic ecosystems
  • Describe the role of aquatic systems in the global carbon cycle
  • Explain by example how environmental threats affect structure and function of aquatic systems
  • Explain by examples how the field of aquatic ecology has developed historically
Competence and skills
  • Critically apply theories and concepts
  • Relate and discuss the students’ thesis subject in light of different standpoints in the scientific literature
Judgement and approach
  • Critically review and analyse research relating to the function and structure of aquatic systems
  • Identify and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of concepts and theories in aquatic ecology
  • Identify gaps in personal knowledge about structure and function of aquatic systems, and devise a plan to close those gaps through further learning activities
Format

The course is in the format of a discussion group. PhD students are required to read the literature carefully before each meeting, and to actively engage by taking turns in summarizing the key points of the literature. The teacher/s attends parts of the meetings to be able to answer questions and guide the reading to an appropriate level. The pace and duration of the course is decided by the students, but generally spans one semester.

Examination

An oral examination is performed at the end of the course.

Examiner

Prof Lars-Anders Hansson

Plasticity and Evolution – a PhD Course
Aim of the course

The course will enable students to develop an understanding of how biologists think about plasticity, and the role that plasticity plays in ecological and evolutionary processes. Further, the aim is to become familiar with the different theoretical and empirical approaches for studying plasticity, including their strengths and weaknesses. The course structure places an emphasis on understanding contemporary research in ecology and evolution in terms of research agendas.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, participants shall be able to:

Knowledge and understanding
  • Describe the key factors that cause selection on phenotypic plasticity
  • Explain with examples how plasticity can affect evolution
  • Explain the similarities and differences between concepts of developmental constraint, developmental bias and plasticity
  • Explain how behavioural flexibility can influence evolution, and why there are several possible outcomes
Competence and skills
  • Critically apply concepts, models and methods to study the evolutionary causes and consequences of plasticity
  • Identify problems in evolutionary biology for which plasticity can be important, and give examples of projects designed to address those problems.
  • Analyze the logic of models of adaptive plasticity and explain the main conclusions from these models.
Judgement and approach
  • Identify and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of concepts and models of plasticity, and appropriately apply them to new problems or phenomena.
  • Critically review and analyse research on plasticity and evolution
  • Identify gaps in personal knowledge about evolution, and devise a plan to close those gaps through further learning activities
Format

The course is in the format of a discussion group, meeting once a week (~2-3 hours). PhD students are required to read the literature carefully before each meeting, and to actively engage by taking turns in summarizing the key points of the literature.

Examination

Examination is in terms of active attendance and a written assignment where you develop your own grant application within the context of plasticity and evolution. Successful completion of the course gives 4 credits.

Teachers

Tobias Uller (examiner) and Nathalie Feiner

Elective courses and components 

In addition to the mandatory components, other components are included that are decided for each doctoral student individually. This can be some of the recurring courses organized at the Biology Department, other PhD courses at Lund University, or courses given at other institutes in Sweden or abroad. It can be active participation in international conferences (maximum 12 credits). It can also be literature-based studies that are examined (see below). 

It is the Departmental representative for the respective doctoral student who decides whether a component should be credit-earning in the postgraduate studies. A guiding principle is that one-week full-time studies correspond to 1.5 credits.

Besides the compulsory courses the department also arranges these courses:

  • Electron Microscopy for life scientists (4.5 credits)
  • Microscopy – bioimaging (7.5 credits)
  • Sensory ecology (6 credits)
  • Statistics for biologists (7.5 credits)

Information about the courses on our external website.

Literature-based studies where the doctoral students take a large responsibility for their own learning is an important component of the education. There are set criteria around this. Credits can only be earned when the topic of the course is broader than or outside of the narrow focus of the doctoral thesis subject. This means that the reading that is directly relevant for the thesis project is done as part of the thesis project. As for other credit-earning components, the literature studies should complement the thesis project in reaching the goals of the Higher Education Ordinance, and that one-week full-time studies correspond to 1.5 credits. Moreover, credits can only be earned if a reflection or account has been presented to one or several senior researchers. Examination should be done by a competent teacher. 

Suggestions for literature-based courses are discussed with the Directors of postgraduate studies. Preferably based on a short documentation including:

  • Some learning goals. These should guide the students on how to take on the reading task. (You can read the same text with very different purposes.) This does not need to go into great detail, but specific enough to support the student’s learning (”should be able to account for..”, ”should be able to explain…”) 
  • The forms (individual or group studies can be a large part, but there need to be occasions along the way where teachers can explain particularly difficult concepts or provide feedback on questions that may have arisen, and not only a final examination)
  • A description of the examination (which should test if the students reach the learning goals)
  • Names of the person responsible for teaching and examination
  • A motivation for the number of credits that the studies should earn (this can never be based on a model where a book or a particular number of pages should earn a particular number of credits, but should be based on how much time the doctoral students should reasonably need to finish the tasks and reach the goals)
  • *Names of doctoral students that would be interested in participating

The Directors of postgraduate studies consider this and consult one or several Departmental representatives who are oriented in the topic and come back to the proposer. Before you begin a literature course all doctoral students participating should have agreed with supervisors and departmental representative to participate.

Directors of Postgraduate Studies

Emma Kritzberg
Professor
Aquatic Ecology

Telephone: +46 46 222 40 79
E-mail: Emma [dot] Kritzberg [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Klas Flärdh
Professor
Molecular Cell Biology

Telephone: +46 46 222 85 84
E-mail: Klas [dot] Flardh [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Biology Doctoral Students Council

BDR – Biology Doctoral Students Council

Graduate School

Geneco graduate school on our external website.