Handbook for postgraduate studies

 

This document is a translation of the important parts of “Handbok för forskarutbildningen inom Naturvetenskapliga fakulteten” issued by The Board for Postgraduate Studies at the Faculty of Science. This document should be seen as a guide for post­grad­uate students who do not have full reading skills in Swedish. If there should be any discrepancy between the English and the Swedish versions, the Swedish version is to be considered definitive.

Contents

1. Welcome
2. Official Regulations Governing Postgraduate Studies

3. The Organisation of the Faculty
.

3.1 The Faculty Board
.

3.2 The Committee for Undergraduate Education
.

3.3 Appointments boards

3.4 The Working Environment Committee
.

3.5 The Board for Postgraduate Studies

3.6 Heads of department and departmental boards

4. The Aim of Postgraduate Studies

5. Ensuring the Quality of Postgraduate Education

6. Becoming a Postgraduate Student

6.1 A personal decision
..

6.2 Formal requirements
.

6.3 Application and admission

6.4 Selection of supervisor and research project
.
6.5 Introduction
7. Postgraduate Student Financing
.

7.1 Different forms of support
.

8. Working hours
....

9. The Cost of Postgraduate Education
.

10. The Organisation of Postgraduate Studies
.

10.1 Length of postgraduate studies
.

10.2 Postgraduate disciplines
.

10.3 The discipline curriculum

10.4 The individual curriculum
.

10.5  Postgraduate courses....
10.6 The research project
.

10.7 The thesis
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10.8 Conferences and visits abroad
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10.9 Financing travel, visits, etc.
.

10.10 Registration of course credits

11. The Doctor of Philosophy Degree.
11.1 Notification of the submission of a thesis
.

11.2 The defence of the thesis
.

11.3 The examining committee
..

11.4 The degree ceremony

12. The Licentiate Degree
..

12.1 The licentiate dissertation
..

12.2 The licentiate seminar

13. Degree Certificates

14. Supervision..
14.1 Who can be a supervisor?
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14.2 The task of the supervisor
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14.3 Conflicts between the supervisor and the postgraduate student
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14.4 Personal relations between the student and the supervisor
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14.5 Replacement of a supervisor

15. Abandoning Postgraduate Studies
..

15.1 Voluntary termination
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15.2 Recommended termination

15.3 Termination of supervision and material support
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15.4 Disciplinary measures
.

15.5 Enforced termination of postgraduate studies
...

16. Research Ethics

17. Intellectual property rights
.

18. Postgraduate Student Influence

18.1 Membership in a students’ union

18.2 Postgraduate student organisations
.

18.3 The Lund Postgraduate Students’ Union

18.4 The Scientific Postgraduate Students’ Union

Translations of some useful terms
.

1. Welcome

The Faculty of Science would like to welcome newly admitted postgraduate students to fruitful and exciting years of postgraduate studies.

Within the Faculty of Science postgraduate studies are an important component, with growing importance. Postgraduate students are a valuable resource in the development of the faculty. They provide a continuous source of intellectual stimulation leading to renewal of the activities and social change in our departments. In addition, after completion of their degrees, doctors enter new activities in society where they can help to create contacts between the faculty and industry, government authorities and schools.

The faculty places high priority on both the educational and the scientific aspects of postgraduate studies. We obtain substantial funding for these studies from external agencies and they support approximately one half of the postgraduate students at the faculty. This high proportion of external support is a token of the high regard in which postgraduate education at the faculty is held.

This handbook has been produced by the Board for Postgraduate Studies at the Faculty of Science (fakultetens forskarutbildningsnämnd). The primary objective is to provide information for new postgraduate students, but our hope is that it may also serve as a source of information for those considering applying to the faculty as a postgraduate student. Furthermore, supervisors and other employees may also find some useful information here. We invite comments on this handbook as it will be regularly updated (e-mail: Eivor.Terne@KansliN.lu.se).

The most recent version in Swedish can be found on the faculty’s web site: www.naturvetenskap.lu.se under the heading “För våra forskarstuderande".

Lund 2000-10-12

Professor Bengt Söderström

Faculty Dean  

2. Official Regulations Governing Postgraduate Studies

Postgraduate studies at universities in Sweden must comply with the rules and regulations laid down by the Swedish Government. The basic legislation in this respect is the Higher Education Act (Högskolelagen). In addition, the government has specified rules in the Higher Education Ordinance (Högskoleförordningen) that apply throughout Sweden, independent of the subject of study.

Each university may also specify rules that apply locally, but are common to all subjects at that university. At Lund University, this has been done both by the University Board and by the Vice-chancellor (Rektor). Each faculty can apply rules that are motivated by the special character of the postgraduate studies in the disciplines for which they are responsible. At the Faculty of Science it is the Faculty Board that defines these rules. For matters of a more detailed/practical character the Faculty Board can delegate the formulation of additional rules to lower levels in the hierarchy.

The head of department (prefekt) is ultimately responsible for postgraduate education at that department. The majority of matters, such as responsibility for postgraduate student recruiting and course curriculum, are delegated to the head of the department. However, for individual postgraduate students it is, in practice, the supervisor who has greatest influence on the content of postgraduate studies.

3. The Organisation of the Faculty

The Faculty of Science is one of seven areas at the university. The others are:

  • The Lund Institute of Technology (Lunds Tekniska Högskola)
  • The Faculty of Law (Juridiska fakulteten)
  • The Faculty of Social Sciences (Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten)
  • The School of Medicine (Medicinska fakulteten)
  • The Faculty of Arts and Theology (Humanistiska och teologiska fakulteten)
  • Music, Theatre and the Arts (Konstnärliga området)

The Faculty of Science is presently divided into three subject areas, each headed by a dean:

-            Mathematics and physics

-            Biology and geoscience

-            Chemistry

3.1 The Faculty Board

The Faculty Board is the governing body of the faculty and is ultimately responsible for basic education, postgraduate studies, research and external contacts/information (tredje uppgiften). The board has 13 members: 8 representing the staff, 2 representing society (not active at the university) and 3 student representatives. Unions have the right to have observers present at board meetings. The dean of the faculty is responsible for the daily running of the faculty. The board delegates a large number of matters to other bodies within the faculty.

The Faculty Board is responsible for ensuring that postgraduate education is conducted effectively, is of high quality and is conducted in compliance with the current laws and regulations. It is also responsible for the distribution of sufficient funds, within the prevailing constraints, to postgraduate education to ensure that the goals specified are attained. In practice, this means that the board should stimulate and support the departments in their efforts to provide the best possible postgraduate education, through general as well as specific measures.

To help in running the faculty, the Faculty Board has constituted a number of committees that report to the board. These include: the Committee for Undergraduate Education (utbildningsnämnden), a number of appointments boards (lärarförslagsnämnder), the Board for Postgraduate Studies (forskarutbildningsnämnden), the Working Environment Committee (arbetsmiljönämnden) and departmental boards (institutionsstyrelser).

3.2 The Committee for Undergraduate Education

The Committee for Undergraduate Education has 14 members: 6 teachers, 6 students and 2 representatives from society. It is headed by the Dean for Undergraduate Studies and is responsible for undergraduate studies.

3.3 Appointments boards

The main responsibility of the appointments boards is to manage the recruitment of tenured staff members. There is one appointments board for each of the subject areas in the faculty, and each consists of four representatives from among the teaching staff and two students. The chairmen of the appointments boards are the respective deans of the subject areas.

3.4 The Working Environment Committee

This committee jointly represents both the Faculty of Science and the Lund Institute of Technology (LTH) (The Faculty of Engineering) and deals with issues related to the working conditions at the university which are relevant for both students and employees.

3.5 The Board for Postgraduate Studies

The Board for Postgraduate Studies is responsible for all general questions concerned with postgraduate studies, under the auspices of the Faculty Board. The Board for Postgraduate Studies either makes decisions directly or presents an issue to be decided by the Faculty Board. The practical responsibilities of the Board for Postgraduate Studies are:

           i.        To develop guidelines for the formulation of individual postgraduate curricula

        ii.        To ensure that the curricula for the various postgraduate disciplines are updated

      iii.        To update the Handbook for Postgraduate Studies

      iv.        To ensure that decisions made by the Faculty Board regarding postgraduate studies are implemented. (This involves issues such as admissions, financial support and follow-up.)

         v.        To increase the number of postgraduate courses of general interest

      vi.        To ensure that supervisors are given the opportunity for continued education in teaching skills, with special emphasis on postgraduate education

    vii.        To support the interests of postgraduate students within the faculty

 

The Board for Postgraduate Studies consists of three representatives from the teaching staff and three postgraduate student representatives. It also has an affiliated secretary. The names and addresses of the current members of the board can be found on the faculty’s web site.

3.6 Heads of department and departmental boards

Each department is responsible for organising postgraduate studies within that department. The head of department (prefekten) is generally responsible for the activities at the department, including the use of resources and personnel matters. As a consequence, he or she is also responsible for the organisation of postgraduate studies, including the admission of postgraduate students. In many, but not all cases, there is also a departmental board which works in cooperation with the head of department.

Responsibilities delegated to the departments by the Faculty Board are:

           i.        The admission of postgraduate students, which involves an economic commitment to support the student

        ii.        Ensuring that the student has reasonable resources with which to pursue his or her  research activities

      iii.        Ensuring that an individual curriculum (individuell studieplan) is formulated, signed, filed and updated on a yearly basis

      iv.        Assigning a supervisor and a deputy supervisor

         v.        Assigning an examiner for postgraduate courses given at the department

      vi.        Assigning a departmental representative to take part in the annual appraisal of the student’s work and the revision of his/her individual curriculum

At large departments the head of department may delegate these responsibilities to a head of division (avdelningsföreståndare).

4. The Aim of Postgraduate Studies

According to the Higher Education Act postgraduate studies should, in addition to the goals of undergraduate studies, also result in such knowledge and abilities that are needed to be able to carry out research independently.

Lund University has determined a number of more specific goals for postgraduate studies. These are:

  • To prepare postgraduate students to become independent researchers or to take on qualified tasks presenting similar challenges
  • To provide students with:

 

-                           broad knowledge in a specified research disciplin

specialist knowledge in a specified area of the research discipline

training in scientific methods and in critical scientific thinking

training in the planning, implementation and evaluation of a research project

training in solving demanding tasks within certain time limits

5. Ensuring the Quality of Postgraduate Education

The Swedish Government has stipulated that that each university should have a specific plan for ensuring the quality of all activities at the university. At Lund University such a quality assurance programme has been adopted for the years 2000-2002, and this document also contains a passage on postgraduate studies (www.evaluat.lu.se, in Swedish). There is also a specific quality assurance plan for postgraduate studies at the university (www.plan.lu.se/kvalitet.html, in Swedish).

The Faculty of Science has adopted its own quality assurance plan for postgraduate studies. It contains, for example, instructions on how to ensure that studies are carried out in accordance with current regulations, procedures for the admission of postgraduate students and how to continually monitor the quality of the education. It also contains a discussion on financial support for postgraduate students. The plan has been formulated in an effort to further improve the quality of postgraduate studies at the faculty (www.naturvetenskap.lu.se, in Swedish).

6. Becoming a Postgraduate Student

6.1 A personal decision

During their studies most undergraduates encounter postgraduate students as demonstrators in the lab. In addition, they will also occasionally meet postgraduate students socially and this provides an opportunity to gain an insight into the day-today working conditions of postgraduate students. Towards the end of their undergraduate studies, students should consider postgraduate studies as one of the options for their professional career. The decision to continue university studies is often based on a personal interest or fascination in a particular discipline. The final decision is often made during the degree project, which provides the student with an opportunity to deepen his or her understanding of an area, and also provides experience in working in a research environment. Often, the student may be approached by a lecturer encouraging postgraduate studies. Approximately half of the students that are admitted as undergraduates to a master’s programme (magisterexamen) at the faculty continue on to postgraduate studies. A doctoral degree provides a good start in a professional career with greater opportunities for gaining a qualified position in a job giving personal satisfaction, and allowing further individual development.

6.2 Formal requirements

The minimum general requirement for admission to postgraduate studies is university undergraduate studies amounting to 120 credits (nominally three years’ full-time studies) or corresponding knowledge, gained within or outside Sweden.

Additional requirements are specified in the postgraduate studies curriculum for each postgraduate discipline, which can be found on the web site of the corresponding department. These requirements are typically that a certain fraction of undergraduate studies has been devoted to the discipline and sometimes that a degree project has been carried out in the discipline. At most, 160 credits (four years) of undergraduate studies may be required for admission to postgraduate studies.

6.3 Application and admission

Postgraduate studies at the faculty are divided into a number of disciplines. Each discipline has its own curriculum (allmänn studieplan) which is approved by the Faculty Board. A postgraduate student is always admitted to a certain discipline.

The government has stipulated that students can only be admitted to a discipline if there are adequate resources in terms of supervision, support of research activities and money for a salary/stipend (see Section 7). All positions for postgraduate studies should be advertised, except under special circumstances. There is no common date for applications to postgraduate studies. The head of department decides on admission procedures. Applicants are ranked according to their qualifications.

An applicant that is considered not to have the ability to successfully complete postgraduate studies should not be admitted, even if he/she has the formal qualifications. When there are several applicants for a position, the ranking of the applicants is primarily based on the formal requirements specified for the discipline. It should be noted that undergraduate studies exceeding 160 credits (four years) will not automatically count as an extra merit. It is up to the student whether he or she decides to extend his/her undergraduate studies beyond 160 points. The decisive criterion for ranking applicants is their expected ability to complete their postgraduate studies. Equal opportunity aspects are also considered. An additional criterion is the quality of their degree project. The choice of applicant is made at the department, usually by a group of supervisors. The formal decision is taken either by the head of department or by the departmental board.

6.4 Selection of supervisor and research project

The content of postgraduate studies is always decided on an individual basis, and during the admission procedure the student has the opportunity to influence his or her situation. The most significant components are the supervisor, the research project, the type of stipend, departmental work (outside research activities), opportunities for study and attending conferences, office and laboratory space and access to instruments and computers.

From the point of view of the department, admitting a postgraduate student implies a substantial economic commitment. Not only is the student guaranteed a stipend for effectively four years, but adequate resources must also be available in terms of office/laboratory space, research equipment and consumables, as well as other relevant resources. Financing is obtained, in part from the faculty, in terms of money specifically allocated to postgraduate education and in part through external grants. These grants vary considerably in character, but they have the common feature that they are assigned to specific researchers for specific research projects. When a postgraduate student is totally supported by external grants, the supervisor and research project are usually determined by external circumstances. When the stipend is financed by the faculty appropriation the postgraduate student has, in principle, greater influence over the choice of supervisor and the formulation of the research project. A new postgraduate student has, in reality, the choice between one or a few specified research projects with given supervisors. A postgraduate student usually works in very close contact with his or her supervisor(s), and it is essential that all parties are sure, at as early a stage as possible, that good professional cooperation will be possible. The Faculty of Science has decided that in addition to the official supervisor at least one deputy supervisor should be assigned to each student (see Section 14).

When a student has accepted a position as a postgraduate, an individual curriculum should be established as soon as possible. This is done jointly by the student, the supervisors and the head of department (or his/her representative).

6.5 Introduction

Students should be given an informative introduction to their new workplace. Following admission the postgraduate student should be given the opportunity to learn more about the department, its research activities and its personnel. In conjunction with the formulation of the individual curriculum, the supervisor and the student should discuss the rights and obligations of both parties.

7. Postgraduate Student Financing

The basic rule is that admission to postgraduate studies implies a commitment from the department for some form of stipend for the equivalent of four years of postgraduate studies. This commitment is based on a government regulation which, however, allows exceptions. In such a case, a written contract between the student and the department should be drawn up, in which the student guarantees that he or she can support himself/herself during the full four-year period of postgraduate studies. The Faculty Board has determined that this type of arrangement is only acceptable if motivated by special circumstances.

7.1 Different forms of support

Financial support for postgraduate students through stipends can take three basic forms, and may vary as the studies progress. They are:

  • A position as a postgraduate student (anställning som doktorand)
  • A special postgraduate student scholarship (utbildningsbidrag)
  • Study grant (stipendium)

According to general recommendations issued by the Faculty Board, postgraduate students should have a position as a postgraduate student no later than 18 months from the commencement of their studies. During the first 18 months, the student may be supported by one or more of the three different forms given above.

7.1.1 Position as postgraduate student

The position is full-time with an initial tenure of one year. At the end of this year the position is renewed without formal application. The period of appointment may be extended by a maximum of two years at a time. The position can be held for a maximum of five years, but the effective time may not exceed four years of full-time postgraduate studies. If the student has had another form of stipend the corresponding time should be deducted when four years have been reached. The five-year limit can be exceeded under special circumstances, such as parental leave, extended leave due to illness or leave for military service. Certain commitments in student unions and other student organisations also count as special circumstances for extension of the duration of the position.

In all the above cases, the duration of the extension of the position is limited to the period of absence. Furthermore, a postgraduate student may hold a position for a maximum of one year after graduation, provided this is in accordance with the other limitations stated above.

The primary assignment when holding a position as a postgraduate student is to perform postgraduate studies, but up to 20% of the student’s time can be devoted to teaching, research outside his or her personal research project or administration. The head of department is ultimately responsible for assigning this departmental work. Only the fraction of the position that is devoted to postgraduate studies is counted as the effective period of postgraduate studies.

According to a general agreement, work performed when holding a position as a postgraduate student should not result in economic compensation for working time exceeding 40 hours per week. However, a postgraduate student and the head of department may have an agreement such that the student devotes up to one week of extra paid work per year to the department, consisting of teaching or administration, provided that the initial 20% has already been completed. Such an agreement should also contain a written explanation of the special circumstances that motivate the measure. In the case when a postgraduate student is needed for additional teaching or administration, special permission should be granted by the faculty. A request is to be sent to the Faculty Board in advance. The faculty is very restrictive in issuing such permission.

Holders of a position as a postgraduate student have the social benefits and insurance coverage of other employees of Lund University.

In principle, salaries are set individually but there is, within the faculty, an ambition to harmonize salary levels between different departments, and in the standard case a locally agreed salary ladder is applied for postgraduate students. Together with his or her supervisor, the student should check that the principles of the salary ladder have been implemented in his or her individual case.

The formal decision regarding a position as a postgraduate student is taken by the Faculty Board or the body to which this responsibility has been delegated by the board. There is no appeal against this decision.

7.1.2 Special postgraduate student scholarships

At the onset of postgraduate studies the student may be offered a special postgraduate student scholarship. This can be awarded for a maximum of 18 months of effective study time, after which the student should obtain a position as a postgraduate student following a formal request.

The scholarship is awarded for, at most, 12 months at a time and the department, together with the student, should apply for an extension.

The special postgraduate student scholarship is awarded to a minimum of 80% of a full scholarship. An exception to this rule applies when the general rights for part-time employment apply, for example, for parents with custody of children under the age of eight years. In this case the minimum extent of the scholarship is 50%.

In addition to the scholarship, postgraduate students can be employed as an assistant at the university, a position specific to holders of postgraduate student scholarships. For a student with a full scholarship the maximum extent of employment as an assistant is 10%. The assistantship can cover, at most, 30% of full-time activity, but in this case the scholarship should be reduced accordingly. The most common combinations are 80% scholarship and 20% employment as an assistant or 90% scholarship and 20%  as an assistant. The Faculty Board has recommended that a position as an assistant should not exceed 20%. In cases when the scholarship is reduced due to employment as an assistant, the scholarship period can be extended beyond 18 months, up to the equivalent of 18 months of full-time studies. The salary associated with a position as an assistant is set according to the same principles as for positions as a postgraduate student, but due to the fact that it is only part-time, the social benefits are not as good as those that apply to a position as a postgraduate student.

The special postgraduate student scholarship amounts at present 13 000 SEK/month and it is taxed. This amount is decided by the government and is applied uniformly. The social benefits are not as extensive as for normal employment. It does allow for contributions to the pension fund, but it does not contribute to the basis for paid sick-leave or for unemployment benefit. For temporary leave due to illness or caring for a child the student retains the scholarship, rather than claiming support from the regional social insurance office (försäkringskassan), which pays support for other employees. It is possible to extend the 18-month period for a scholarship if the student is absent during a prolonged period, for example, due to parental leave, illness, military service, students’ union engagements or obligations within other student organisations. The maximum period of postgraduate studies is prolonged accordingly.

 

Additional financial support of students awarded the special scholarship is allowed only under the circumstances that apply for positions as a postgraduate student.

7.1.3 Study grants

The third form of postgraduate student support is study grants. This is a grant aimed at covering direct living expenses. It can only be used to the cover cost of personal education, and it cannot be paid based on work done for the benefit of the university. The recipient of the grant may not be employed, in any way, by the university during the time the grant is awarded. Even work on an hourly basis is counted as employment in this case. A study grant is exempt from tax. There are no social benefits associated with this grant.

The head of department is responsible for ensuring that the grant is generous enough to allow a reasonable standard of living. The amount should accordingly be high enough to correspond to the standard amount obtained by holders of a 100% special postgraduate student scholarship.

The formal decision to award a study grant is taken by the Faculty Board on the initiative of the department. There is no appeal against this decision.

There are a number of different types of study grants.

Study grant at the initial stage of postgraduate studies

The recipient of the grant should be accepted as a postgraduate student. The grant should initially be awarded for a period of at least six months. It can be awarded for a maximum of 18 months. The grant should be publicly announced. It cannot be financed by funds allocated by the university, and by external funding only when the supporting agency so permits.

A study grant cannot be given to a person who has previously been employed by the university as an assistant (amanuensis) or a postgraduate student, or has been extensively used for temporary work, or has held a special postgraduate student scholarship.

The period during which the study grant is paid is deducted from the duration of employment as a postgraduate student.

Study grant to support international contacts

A grant may be awarded from the special funds available at the university for the support of international contacts, with a maximum duration of two years. It can be used either for personal support of postgraduate studies at a foreign university or to support non-Swedish postgraduate students at Lund University.

Study grant before starting postgraduate studies

Under certain circumstances, it is possible to receive a study grant prior to commencing postgraduate studies. Contact the department concerning this option.

8. Working hours

There are no set working hours for postgraduate students. It is assumed that work will be performed at such hours that the student can complete his or her studies and other obliga­tions at the department in the most efficient way. Due respect should be shown to co-workers, supervisors and other personnel at the department, as well as to under­graduates to which the student has teaching obligations. The postgraduate student has the right to a daily rest, vacation and additional spare time according to the general rules applied to employees. A postgraduate student is not entitled to extra compensation for extra hours at work (overtime).

The annual vacation for a student holding a position as a postgraduate student starts, by default, on the Monday following midsummer, if the head of department is not explicitly notified that the student wishes to make other arrangements. In the normal case, there is no need to apply specifically for vacation.

If a student wishes to take an extensive vacation at another time of the year, or if he or she wants to save some vacation for a coming year, the head of department should be notified by May 31 at the latest. In this case, it is necessary to apply for each period of vacation and this application should be forwarded to the personnel division for registration. This procedure must to be followed throughout the year.

9. The Cost of Postgraduate Education

According to present estimates, the yearly cost incurred by the university in educating a postgraduate student at the Faculty of Science is around 750,000 SEK (~75,000 US$, Nov. 2001). The major factors contributing to this cost are:

-            office and laboratory space

-            administrative costs, centrally at the university and at the faculty

-            departmental costs in terms of supervision, service, consumables, equipment, travel, technical and administrative support, etc.

-            the stipend for the postgraduate student

The funds covering these costs are derived from several sources. A substantial part (approximately 50%) comes from the Ministry of Education, through the university, and the rest from various external sources such as research councils, foundations, various government bodies and private industry.

10. The Organisation of Postgraduate Studies

10.1 Length of postgraduate studies

In all, postgraduate studies should consist of 160 credits, where one credit corresponds to one week of full-time studies. The studies lead to a Doctor of Philosophy degree, PhD. To be granted a PhD the student must have passed all the required courses and have successfully defended  a thesis. The thesis is defended orally at a public examination (disputation). The thesis should correspond to at least to 80 credits, that is, at least half of the postgraduate studies should be devoted to the research project.

When 80 credits have been obtained it is possible to take a Licentiate degree (licentiat­examen). The requirements are that the student has passed the courses specified in the discipline curriculum and, in addition, produced a scientific dissertation equivalent to at least 40 credits. The dissertation must be approved following its presentation at a seminar.

10.2 Postgraduate disciplines

At the Faculty of Science of Lund University there are a number of disciplines in postgraduate studies (forskarutbildningsämnen). At the larger departments several postgraduate disciplines are usually defined, while at smaller departments there may be one or two.

The Faculty Board determines these disciplines, and this is regarded as an important part of the faculty’s research policy.

A list of the current postgraduate disciplines can be found on the faculty’s web site.

10.3 The discipline curriculum

For each postgraduate discipline there should be a general curriculum approved by the Faculty Board, according to the Higher Education Ordinance.

This curriculum should contain:

  • The main content of postgraduate studies, specifying compulsory literature, if any
  • An outline of the organisation of the studies
  • Specification of the qualifications needed to be eligible for postgraduate studies in the discipline, over and above the qualifications needed for postgraduate studies in general
  • A description of the criteria used for ranking applicants
  • A description of the examinations that are included in the studies
  • A statement as to whether or not postgraduate studies can be concluded with a Licentiate degree

The contents of the discipline curriculum can be obtained from the department or from its web site.

10.4 The individual curriculum

It is explicitly specified in the government regulations that each postgraduate student must have an individual curriculum (individuell studieplan). This curriculum should be formulated during the admission process. An individual curriculum has the form of an agreement between the student, the supervisor(s) and the head of department, or a person to which the head of department has delegated responsibility. The curriculum should be formally approved by the head of department.

The individual curriculum is a very important document. It is intended to serve as guidelines in helping the student to plan his or her studies and research project. The curriculum is also of great help in assessing the progress of the student and in adapting the ambitions of the research project with respect to the available time.

The individual curriculum is a written document that clearly specifies the conditions and the goals of the student’s postgraduate studies, both in the short and the long term. The curriculum should contain a time plan for the postgraduate studies, a plan for financial support of the student, specification of the obligations of the student and of the supervisor(s), a description of the research project and its long-term objectives and, additionally, specification of any particular requirement necessary to complete the studies efficiently and successfully. The curriculum should also include a plan for the post­graduate courses to be taken and a plan for specified short-term goals.

The individual curriculum that is established at the outset of postgraduate studies is of a provisional nature since it is impossible to predict how a scientific project will develop in the longer perspective. For this and other reasons, the curriculum must be revised regularly, and at least once a year. More frequent revision can be called for if , for example, a specific part of the project has been completed or if serious difficulties have been encountered in the project. The postgraduate student and the supervisor each has the right to call for a revision of the individual curriculum at any time. As part of the revision process the postgraduate student and the supervisor inform the head of department (or representative) on the progress made. The revision of the curriculum may result in an updating of the written document which should be signed by the student and the supervisor.

It is important to realise that the formulation of the individual curriculum should be a joint effort by the postgraduate student and the supervisor to establish goals, define reciprocal expectations and identify methods of achieving the goals. The individual curriculum is an agreement between three parties: the student, the supervisor and the department.

A signed copy of the individual curriculum should be filed at the department.

The faculty has produced a form for the documentation of individual curricula and has issued a recommendation that this form be used. The faculty also recommends that the document be available electronically, and that it is included in the National student  records database (LADOK).

10.5 Postgraduate courses

Part of postgraduate education consists of courses which should not exceed 80 credits since the thesis represents a minimum of 80 credits. The precise number of course credits required varies depending on the postgraduate discipline, and is specified in the discipline curriculum. Postgraduate courses can vary in format, ranging from courses consisting of scheduled lectures, exercises and practicals to courses based on individual studies of specified literature. It is the ambition of the Faculty Board to increase the proportion of courses taught actively. This can be achieved partly within the resources allocated to the faculty and partly through cooperation with other universities and institutions both within the country and abroad.

Some courses are mandatory for specific disciplines, and these are specified in the discipline curriculum. Regarding the remaining course credits, the student is free to suggest courses relevant to his or her research project or which provide a broadened understanding of the discipline. The individual curriculum is an important instrument in planning the courses to be taken. The Faculty Board recommends that, if possible, a postgraduate student completes a major part of the course requirement during the first 18 months of his or her postgraduate studies. This provides a good basis for developing the research project and also provides a knowledge base for improved appreciation of seminars in the discipline, and for active participation in international conferences.

Regarding courses, there is no reason to restrict the choice to those given at one’s own department. The choice of research project determines which courses are relevant and some courses may perhaps be best taken at another department or even in another faculty. For most of the research disciplines within the Faculty of Science there are established contacts with departments in the engineering and medical faculties. In addition, we have increasing contact with universities and institutes in the Copenhagen area and this will, in due course, result in a broader choice of postgraduate courses.

Postgraduate students can also include credits for courses given outside their research discipline. The lecturer responsible for the course assigns the quantitative measure, i.e. the number of credits, for a course, but the student’s supervisor and the director of postgraduate studies for the discipline decide to what extent these credits can be included in the required number of credits. To avoid misunderstandings or conflicts it is important to discuss courses and to what extent they can be counted at the yearly revision of the individual curriculum.

Under certain circumstances it is also possible for students to include courses at undergraduate level among the required courses. This possibility is applied differently for different research disciplines. It is the opinion of the Faculty Board that undergraduate courses that are required for eligibility for postgraduate studies cannot be included in the number of credits required for a postgraduate degree. On the other hand, additional courses may be included. For postgraduate students with a basic degree from a foreign university with course requirements clearly exceeding 160 credits it may be possible to include credits from relevant courses.

The faculty arranges two postgraduate courses in teaching skills: an introductory course and a course in communication skills. Certain departments arrange pedagogical courses of a more specialized character and a further deepening of pedagogical skills can be obtained from courses given by the university’s Centre for Teaching and Learning (Universitetspedagogiskt centrum, UPC).

Summer schools are an important form of postgraduate courses. These are arranged by a range of institutions and can also address subjects outside of science. Summer schools provide a cost-effective way of bringing together internationally respected lecturers and research students from different universities and colleges during an intensive period of a week or two. In addition to, hopefully, high-class lectures, summer schools provide opportunities for making international contacts and meeting postgraduate students with similar research interests.

10.6 The research project

The purpose of the research project is to improve the skills of the postgraduate student in a number of respects. These include:

 

Formulating a scientific problem

Searching for knowledge in a systematic way

Choosing and using appropriate scientific methods to solve scientific problems

Independently and critically examining and analysing results and information

Formulating a scientific text and communicating scientific information

 

Learning how to adopt a scientific attitude usually involves a growth process which, in addition to talent, also requires time and patience.

The concrete goal of the research project is to produce sufficient results, both qualitatively and quantitatively, that they can form the basis of a thesis within the time limits set, i.e. a maximum of four years’ effective studies.

 

The choice of research project is, in principle, free, but in practice there are several factors, not least of all of an economical character, that limit the choice. Many postgraduate students choose a research project that is an integral part of a broader ongoing research project, which appears stimulating, exciting and meaningful. In experimental disciplines access to modern methods and good equipment may constitute a reason for joining a certain group. It is, generally speaking, always an advantage to choose a research project that is connected to ongoing research. In this way, a new postgraduate student is naturally integrated into a group, and can be intellectually stimulated by the ideas and thoughts of other group members. They can also respond to ideas generated in the student’s research project. Also, group members can provide valuable support on the personal level if difficulties are encountered in the project, or if problems of a more private nature arise.

10.7 The thesis

A doctoral thesis may be written either as a monograph or as a collection of papers with a summary. A monograph consists of a coherent text describing the research problem, the specific scientific questions that are addressed, methods, results, analysis, discussion and conclusions. The other kind of thesis is based on a number of scientific papers, with the student as author or co-author, preceded by a summary, written by the student, empha­sizing the particular contribution of the student to papers with several authors. A thesis may contain contributions from more than one postgraduate student but it is desirable that the specific contributions of each individual can be distinguished.

Whether a student chooses to write a monograph or to present a collection of papers with a summary is normally determined by the nature of the research project and by the tradition of the discipline. Within the Faculty of Science a summary and a collection of papers is the most common form. An advantage of this form is that the papers have already been, or are about to be, published in international scientific journals. In this way, one simultaneously ensures exposure of the work and quality control through the peer review procedure adopted by most journals.

The thesis is, as a rule, written in English. If another language is to be used this should be stated in the individual curriculum of the postgraduate student at as early a stage as possible.

10.8 Conferences and visits abroad

Science is international. In most research areas knowledge is to be found at different institutes all over the world, and there is a constant exchange of information, ideas and know-how between research groups. International contacts and cooperation are usually very rewarding and valuable and are often a prerequisite for high-quality science. Research is enriched by access to new data, other methods, different equipment and, not least, an intellectually diverse research environment. It is stimulating and encouraging to have the opportunity to discuss matters with international researchers and postgraduate students who are genuinely interested in the project, and who might provide new approaches to the subject.

It is of vital importance that new postgraduate students have the opportunity to meet the international research community as soon as possible and to make personal contacts. This can be achieved by participation in international conferences in the relevant area and/or by visiting one or more institutes abroad. Also, summer schools, mentioned in Section 10.5, provide excellent opportunities to establish international relations.

It is also possible to conduct postgraduate studies abroad while holding a position as a postgraduate student. This requires the agreement of the student’s supervisor and the consent of the head of department. It should also be ensured that the arrangement is in accordance with the conditions laid down by any external agency financing the project.

10.9 Financing travel, visits, etc.

It is possible to apply for funds from the EU to finance visits to other EU countries.

10.9.1 Socrates & Erasmus

The European Dimension and Lifelong Learning is a European project within the area of education. This provides several options for applying for money. Erasmus is one of the subprogrammes of Socrates, which is geared towards higher learning involving under­graduate students, postgraduate students and teachers.

10.9.2 Student and teacher exchange programs

Postgraduate students can apply for funds in the general exchange programme. An EU stipend, which can be combined with a position as a postgraduate student, is intended to cover travelling costs and extra expenses due to the difference in the cost of living in the student’s home country and the country he or she is visiting. Support can also be pro­vided to a lecturer giving a course, typically during a short period, which is part of the official programme of a cooperating university in another European country. Post­graduate students are also eligible for the lecturer exchange programme.

10.9.3 European research

Postgraduate students can apply for Marie Curie Host Fellowships at Marie Curie Training Sites through the 5th EU framework programme. Postgraduate students can obtain support to carry out part of their research project in another European country.

10.9.4 Examples of other sources of finance

The Swedish Institute has an extensive programme for supporting postgraduate students and young researchers. Postgraduate students can apply to Nordplus for exchange studies within the Nordic countries. There are also a number of specific funds at Lund University. Information can be found at webbstip.stu.lu.se and additional information is available at www.lu.se/intsek/EU/eu.html.

The Faculty of Science has a secretary for international affairs who can inform postgraduate students on the possibility of obtaining funding for studies abroad.

10.10 Registration of course credits

All courses taken as part of postgraduate studies should be registered. The degree of activity as a postgraduate student is also registered, based on the financing of the studies.

A student who takes a course outside Lund University should ensure that it is registered at his or her own department. This can be done through the issue of a certificate by the lecturer giving the course. The certificate should specify the name of the student, personal number (personnummer), the name of the course, the grade, number of credits, date and examiner.

Courses that are also given for undergraduates are sometimes mistakenly registered as part of an undergraduate education. This is easily remedied by requesting a specific certificate, as describe above, so that the department can register the course correctly.

11. The Doctor of Philosophy Degree

11.1 Notification of the submission of a thesis

Postgraduate students should contact the Administration Office (Kansli N) well in advance (>3 months) in order to book a date for the defence of their thesis. A written notification specifying the title of thesis, external examiner, members of the examining committee and additional appropriate information should be issued by the department and sent to the relevant body (appointments board or research committee in the case of chemistry). This should be done at least two months prior to the proposed date to allow time for the relevant body to take the formal decisions necessary.

The date and place of the thesis defence are announced by the Administration Office at least three weeks in advance. When the official announcement is made (spikning) the prescribed number of copies of the thesis should be available. The aim is to make the content of the thesis publicly known and available within the research community. The announcement is made on the university’s public notice board and also on the electronic notice board of the University Library, where the time and place of the defence are given together with an abstract of the thesis, a popular scientific summary and the names of the external examiner and the members of the examining committee. In conjunction with the formal announcement the thesis should be distributed to interested parties. The post­graduate student should also deliver two copies of the thesis to the Administration Office. (For further practical information, contact Inga-Britt Knutsson tel. 046- 222 7187, Inga-Britt.Knutsson@KansliN.lu.se).

11.2 The defence of the thesis

The thesis is defended at a public seminar, at which copies of the thesis should also be available. The examining committee has three or five members who are appointed by the relevant appointments board (lärarförslagsnämnden) or in the case of chemistry, the research committee (forskningsnämnden) together with the external examiner and the chairman for the occasion. For practical reasons, it may also be prudent to assign a deputy member to the examining committee.

The task of the external examiner (opponenten) is to carefully scrutinize the thesis and present a short evaluation of the thesis during the defence. The external examiner should not be a staff member at the faculty. The student (kandidaten) has the right to chose between Swedish, Danish, Norwegian or English as the language to be used by him/her at the defence. This choice can limit the choice of possible external examiners.

The proceedings are opened by the chairman who starts by explaining some of the formalities of the thesis defence, such as the language to be used, and then presents the student, gives the title of the thesis, and introduces the external examiner and the members of the examining committee. The student then has the opportunity to inform those present of typographical or other corrections to the thesis. The external examiner and/or the student then provides an overview of the scientific area, placing the thesis in the context of current research, and also describing in more specific terms the main scientific results of the research. This introduction is followed by a more detailed discussion of the thesis in which the external examiner asks questions and gives his points of view on the scientific relevance of the research, the suitability of the methods used and the validity/relevance of the results. The student should be given ample opportunity to answer, defend and explain. The members of the examining committee then have the opportunity to put questions to the student. The members of the audience are then given the opportunity to ask questions and make comments, in the order decided by the chairman. Finally, the public part of the thesis defence is concluded and the examining committee retires to deliberate.

11.3 The examining committee

The examining committee consists of either three or five members. If the research is of such a character that three members cannot be expected to have the knowledge required to penetrate all the relevant parts of the work, then it is more appropriate that the committee consist of five members. The members are appointed by the relevant appoint­ments board (or the research committee in the case of chemistry) following suggestions by the department. At least one of the members of the committee must have an affiliation outside the faculty. The student’s supervisor should not be a member of the committee unless there are extenuating circumstances. The committee appoints a chairman internally.

When the examining committee meets after the defence, the external examiner and the official supervisor should also be present. If the committee so decides, the presence of the deputy supervisor can also be requested. Only the members of the committee have a vote in the grading of the thesis. The main task of the committee is to judge whether or not the thesis meets the scientific standard expected of a postgraduate thesis in the field. To take a formal decision, all members of the committee must be present. The committee takes a majority vote and the thesis is graded as either passed or failed. It is rare that a thesis is not passed.

The minutes of the meeting of the examining committee contain information on the date of the defence, the name of the student, the title of the thesis and, when applicable, also the title in English, the extent of the thesis in credits, the formal name of the research discipline, the names of the members of the examining committee, specifying the chairman, the name of the external examiner, the name of the official supervisor and finally the grade awarded to the thesis. If the voting of the committee was not unanimous, the member or members not agreeing with the majority have the right to have this noted in the minutes, but not their motivation. In general, the minutes should not contain any motivation for the decision or other opinions of the members of the committee regarding the thesis. If the thesis is graded as failed, the committee should present their motivation for the decision. If a member of the committee disagrees with this decision, he/she has the right, in this case, not only to make his/her opinion official, but also to give his/her reasons. If the thesis is not passed the official supervisor also has the right to make a statement in the minutes.

11.4 The degree ceremony

Each year at the end of May, there is an official degree ceremony in which doctors of the university have the opportunity to participate (doktorspromotion). This is a formal ceremony which takes place at the cathedral and the university invites all doctors who have successfully defended their theses prior to a fixed date in May. The practical organisation is managed by the ceremonial master of the university (övermarskalken) from whom information about the arrangements can be obtained.

12. The Licentiate Degree

A Licentiate is a degree involving scientific training, but to a lesser extent than a PhD. The degree requires 80 credits, of which at least 40 should be devoted to a dissertation (licentiatavhandling). The specific requirements are given in the general curriculum of each discipline.

12.1 The licentiate dissertation

A licentiate dissertation should consist of either, at least one scientific paper accompanied by a short summary, or a comprehensive scientific text. The scientific level should meet the standards expected for a paper published in an international journal with a peer review procedure. The subject of the licentiate project is specified in the student’s individual curriculum.

The thesis is printed or duplicated in some other way, and the department covers the cost of this. The student has the right to 20 copies for private use.

12.2 The licentiate seminar

A licentiate dissertation is presented at a public seminar, at which copies of the dissertation should be available for scrutiny. Under special circumstances the relevant appointments board (research board) can allow exceptions to this rule. The dissertation should be available for inspection at all the departments within the scientific area at Lund University at least three weeks prior to the seminar, and at all departments in the same discipline throughout the country. The student’s department ensures that the dissertation is properly distributed. Two copies of the thesis should be sent to the University Library.

Notification of the seminar should be sent to the Administration Office three weeks and three days in advance. The notification, signed by the official examiner, should contain the following information:

  • the title of thesis
  • the research discipline
  • the name of the official supervisor
  • the time and location of the seminar
  • where and when the dissertation is available
  • the members of the examining committee

The dissertation is graded as passed or failed by the official examiner after consulting the examining committee, which consists of two members. The examining committee is appointed by the departmental board or a person to which the board has delegated this duty. The minutes of the meeting of the examining committee are entered on a dedicated form, and sent to the Administration Office immediately after the seminar.

13. Degree Certificates

The degree normally awarded is a PhD (fil. dr) or a Licentiate degree (fil. lic). If a student so wishes, and is eligible, he or she has the right to a different specification, for example, a PhD in Engineering (tekn. dr). Consent to this can be given by the relevant appoint­ments board (research committee) in conjunction with the notification of thesis defence or licentiate seminar.

To obtain a Licentiate degree (at least 80 credits in total) the student must have completed the required courses and have presented an approved dissertation equivalent to at least 40 credits, at a seminar.

To obtain a PhD degree (160 credits in all) a thesis equivalent to at least 80 credits must be defended and the thesis approved. In addition, the course requirements must be fulfilled. The successful completion of all the required courses must be reported in LADOK before a degree certificate can be obtained.

 

The degree certificate can be obtained from the Division for Student Affairs, Office of Diplomas (Studerandeenheten, examensavdelningen).

14. Supervision

Throughout the course of postgraduate studies there is close interaction between the supervisor and the postgraduate student. This can be very rewarding, but can also give rise to conflicts.

14.1 Who can be a supervisor?

When a postgraduate student is admitted, an official supervisor is appointed. The official supervisor should be a senior lecturer (docentkompetent) and have a tenured research position at the faculty, according to a decision taken by the Faculty Board. In practice, this means that the official supervisor is a senior lecturer or a professor. Under certain circumstances, it is desirable that a researcher who has a more temporary affiliation to the faculty be extensively involved in postgraduate student supervision. This applies, for example, to postdoctoral fellows (forskarassistenter) and adjunct professors (visiting scientists from industry or society). However, there must always be an official supervisor who is responsible for ensuring that the student completes his or her postgraduate education successfully. In this case, the more actively involved supervisor is assigned as deputy supervisor.

The Faculty Board has decided that, in addition to the official supervisor, there should be at least one deputy supervisor for each postgraduate student. The deputy supervisor can, as in the case described above, take a very active role and lead the project, but it is also possible for the deputy supervisor to only take part in the planning of the project in conjunction with establishing and developing the student’s individual curriculum. A deputy supervisor can also play a leading role in a specific aspect of the research project as an expert in a certain area. There are no formal requirements for deputy supervisors and he or she may be affiliated to another university, be employed in industry or in the public sector.

14.2 The task of the supervisor

The general task of the supervisor is to guide and encourage the postgraduate student in the research project and to act as an advisor with respect to the choice of courses and the direction of the research. The supervisor should ensure that the student makes satisfactory progress, and that the student uses his/her resources suitably. The examiner for the discipline is ultimately responsible for ensuring that postgraduate education within that discipline is maintained at a satisfactory level, but it is the task of the supervisor to ensure that the standards are met in each specific case.

In the choice of supervisor, one should consider the importance of role models with respect to gender.

In practice, it is the official supervisor and/or the deputy supervisor who formulate the research project at the beginning of the student’s postgraduate studies. The student may also take an active part at this stage, but the responsibility rests on the supervisor to ensure that the task is realistic with respect to the time and other resources available. At the yearly revision of the individual curriculum it will be natural for the postgraduate student to take a more active part in determining the course of the remaining part of the research in the project, but the supervisor must ensure that the plans are realistic.

It is the responsibility of the supervisor to ensure that the postgraduate student receives an adequate introduction to the methods to be use in his/her research. However, science is difficult. There must be a point at which the student is left to himself/herself to solve difficulties arising during the project. Too much supervision is as undesirable as too little. One of the challenges of supervision is to strike the right balance between these two extremes.

The head of department has the ultimate responsibility for safety in the workplace, but the supervisor must ensure that the postgraduate student is not exposed to unnecessary danger during his/her research. It is important that existing rules and regulations be respected. Additionally, during the unusual situations that can occur during research the supervisor must ensure that the safety of the postgraduate student and others is not jeopardized.

A postgraduate student should have access to his or her supervisor. This can be arranged through scheduled group meetings and discussion times, but equally well through spontaneous contact. During extended absences of either the supervisor or the student it is possible to keep in touch via e-mail. If the student is involved in experimental work or field studies at a location away from the supervisor for an extended period (>2 months) the Faculty Board recommends that a local supervisor be assigned to the postgraduate student to whom he or she can turn for advice in matters of immediate practical significance.

14.3 Conflicts between the supervisor and the postgraduate student

In most cases, a postgraduate student works rather closely with his or her supervisor and it is natural that during a period of four to five years some disagreement may arise. The heart of the conflict may be anything from purely personal matters over disappointment regarding the guidance of one or the performance of the other, to a purely scientific disagreement. It is common that conflicts contain an element of all three ingredients. It is primarily up to the parties involved to sort out the problems and only when this has failed is there reason to involve a third party. The head of department is in charge of the professional activities within the department and has the primary responsibility to take action. In more serious conflicts the recommended course of action depends strongly on the essence of the conflict. If it involves allegations of sexual or ethnic harassment, or if an individual finds himself/herself badly treated by others (mobbing) the conflict should be handled as prescribed by university regulations and as specified by the Faculty Board. If the conflict has its roots in profound personality clashes the alternative of appointing a new supervisor should be considered (see below). The consequence of this may be a change in the research project. If the cause of the disagreement is related to a difference in scientific opinion or a scientific priority an impartial third party can be engaged as a mediator. The postgraduate student may easily feel that he/she is at a disadvantage and the impartial mediator should thus be chosen with care.

A postgraduate student who is of the opinion that he/she has not been treated in a professionally correct way at the department can contact a range of organisations for help. These include Naturvetenskapliga doktorandrådet (NDR) at the faculty, the postgraduate ombudsman (doktorandombudsman) at Lunds Doktorandkår (LDK) and the Board for Postgraduate Studies at the faculty. It is up to the student to decide which of these organisations he/she feels it is most appropriate to approach. Factual information concerning rules and regulations can be obtained from all of these organisations.

The decision as to whether a matter should lead to further action rests with the postgraduate student. Personal information is, as far as is possible, kept confidential.

14.4 Personal relations between the student and the supervisor

The opposite consequence of the close professional contact between a postgraduate student and his or her supervisor is the development of an intimate personal relationship. The supervisor is in a position where he/she has to take formal decisions about the postgraduate student and his/her colleagues. The impartial character of such decisions cannot be guaranteed under such circumstances. A similar, questionable situation would arise if a close relative (e.g. a parent or sibling) were to be assigned as the student’s supervisor.

According to a recommendation of the Faculty Board a close relative or a partner of the postgraduate student is not eligible as either official or deputy supervisor. It is, further­more, recommended that a new supervisor be appointed if too close a personal relation­ship develops between the student and the supervisor.

14.5 Replacement of a supervisor

Experience shows that postgraduate education is usually brought to completion under the guidance of the initially appointed supervisor. However, there are a number of circum­stances that may call for a new supervisor to be assigned to the student. Some of these have been discussed above. Additional cases are if the supervisor should die or become so ill that he/she is unable to complete the assignment. It is more common for a super­visor to be given new assignments within the university, to move to another university, or take a job in industry or in the public sector. Sometimes, one simply finds that the research project is unsuitable for the student and a change of supervisor is motivated by a change of research project.

If an official supervisor leaves his position permanently or temporarily for a period exceeding one year, the head of department should call a meeting in order to revise the individual curricula of the students that are affected. At this meeting the question of who is the most suitable official supervisor under the circumstances should be discussed. Whatever the results of this discussion, a suitable person should be appointed who is given the status of at least deputy supervisor. If the postgraduate student has recently started his/her studies, a change in the research project and official supervisor should be seriously considered. It is the responsibility of the head of department to ensure that such an alternative is available. A similar situation may occur when a deputy supervisor, such a postdoctoral fellow, leaves. Also in this case, meetings should be held with the postgraduate students affected for a revision of their individual curricula.

If the wish arises to change a supervisor for internal reasons, it is up to the person requesting the change to call a meeting for the revision of the individual curriculum and the head of department, or his deputy, should also be asked to participate. A postgraduate student can demand a change of supervisor and it is the task of the head of department to meet this demand. The student can also ask for a change in the research project. The extent to which these demands can be met is a matter for discussion at the meeting. The general rule is that a drastic change in research project can only be made within the first 18 months of the commencement of postgraduate studies. If the supervisor is changed at a later stage, only a redirection of the remaining research activities should be involved. A practical complication, which applies to the majority of the research projects in the faculty, is that there is often a strong financial connection between the supervisor and the student’s research project. The supervisor has usually obtained funding for the research from external sources and he or she is responsible for accounting for the funds through results obtained within the project. In addition, in the application the supervisor has presented a scientifically innovative idea and he/she thus has legitimate intellectual rights to the project and its results. In reality, a change of supervisor without a change of project can be a very complex process.

15. Abandoning Postgraduate Studies

A postgraduate student is admitted to postgraduate studies in a certain discipline. At the time of admission both parties make certain commitments that apply until the student obtains his or her degree, or four years of study have elapsed.

15.1 Voluntary termination

During postgraduate studies a student may decide that an alternative occupation is more suitable, with the consequence that he/she wishes to terminate his/her studies. It is possible to give up a postgraduate student scholarship and a study grant with immediate effect. It is not possible to have these types of support simultaneously with a salary from another position. A position as a postgraduate student (or assistant) can be given up with one month’s notice. A postgraduate student may also wish to take a temporary break from his or her studies. In this case, the student should apply to the Faculty Board. This application must be approved by the student’s supervisor and the head of department. Temporary leave does not automatically make the student eligible for a corresponding extension of his/her position as a postgraduate student, and in their formal decision the Faculty Board should specify the conditions that will apply when the student resumes his/her studies. Normally, leave is only approved for a period of less than one year. For leave exceeding this duration the postgraduate student is considered to have violated the agreement specified in the individual curriculum and economic support and supervision may be withdrawn.

15.2 Recommended termination

When admitting a postgraduate student the department makes a commitment to educate the student during four years of full-time studies so that he/she can meet the standards required for a doctoral degree. If, after admission, the supervisors and the head of department come to the conclusion that the student does not have the personal resources to successfully complete postgraduate studies this should be communicated to the student as soon as possible, and not later than 18 months after the commencement of studies. As the procedure for admitting students is very meticulous this measure is taken only very rarely. The postgraduate student has the right to continue his/her postgraduate studies despite the advice of the supervisors and head of department, and he/she should be given full material and intellectual support as specified in the individual curriculum.

15.3 Termination of supervision and material support

Under rare circumstances the department has the right to withdraw supervision and other resources. This may happen if the postgraduate student deviates extensively from the agreements formulated in the individual curriculum and if he/she does not have a position as a postgraduate student or a postgraduate student scholarship. The head of department then has the authority to rule that the student no longer has the right to supervision and other resources related to postgraduate studies. Prior to this decision, the student and the supervisor should be given the opportunity to present the student’s case. The final decision should be based on these arguments and other written material relevant to the case. In the decision, it should be explicitly considered whether or not the head of department has fulfilled the commitments stated in the individual curriculum. The decision must be presented in writing with a motivation.

The student can apply to regain the right to supervision and other resources. In support of the application the student should provide additional academic achievements or other circumstances that make it probable that he/she will be able to fulfil the commitments stated in the individual curriculum. If this application is turned down the student may appeal to the Board of Appeals (överklagandenämnden).

15.4 Disciplinary measures

It is rare for a university to take disciplinary measures against a postgraduate student. The formal rules are given in the Higher Education Ordinance. Circumstances that may lead to disciplinary measures are: if a student should employ irregular procedures during examinations, or on other occasions when his/her academic performance is measured, if a student obstructs teaching, examination or other activities, causes a disturbance at the library or other such department at the university, or subjects another student or employee at the university to sexual harassment. Disciplinary measures must be taken no less than two years after the misconduct.

Well-founded suspicions of such misconduct as specified above should be communicated to the Vice-chancellor (rektor) of the university. The Vice-chancellor then initiates an investigation and the accused student is given the opportunity to defend himself/herself against the accusation. The Vice-chancellor, after consulting a legal expert if necessary, then decides whether to dismiss the case, issue a warning to the student or refer the case to the disciplinary committee its consideration.

Disciplinary measures include a warning or suspension. Suspension means that the student is not allowed to take part in lectures, examinations or other teaching activities within the university. The measure may relate to one or more occasions, but suspension may only be for a maximum total duration of six months. Suspension may also be restricted to a ban on visits to certain premises belonging to the university.

15.5 Enforced termination of postgraduate studies

Under certain circumstances, postgraduate studies can be terminated upon the initiative of the university. This can happen if the student suffers from mental illness, abuses alcohol or drugs, or has committed a serious crime. Another reason for termination is that there is a substantial risk that the student may cause injury to other persons or valuable property. Cases concerning termination of postgraduate studies are decided by the University Suspension Board (Högskolans avskiljandenämnd).

16. Research Ethics

Research deals with gaining and communicating new knowledge. Empirical investigations and theoretical considerations form the basis of this process. During this process, which starts with the formulation of a problem, the performance of the investigations, analysis of the results and finally the formulation of a report, there are a number of stages when ethical aspects must be considered. High-quality research also requires that it is carried out in an ethically acceptable fashion in all respects.

In certain areas of science the choice of the area of research has ethical implications and the postgraduate student and the supervisor should discuss this aspect before starting the research. It is a general rule that the original data be saved so that they can be made available for scrutiny after publication. The documentation of research conducted as an employee is not private property, but belongs to the university. When publishing and distributing results it is not permissible to select material with the purpose of supporting a certain view. One should also acknowledge previous studies relevant to the investigation so that the new results can be considered in the context of previous knowledge. The supervisor, other collaborators and, if applicable, agencies providing economic support who have a stake in the investigation, should give their consent to publication. Furthermore, the publication should clearly communicate the various contributions to the research project, either in the form of co-authorship or through acknowledgements.

All forms of fraud in scientific research and scientific reporting constitute a serious offence and may result in suspension and prosecution. Examples of fraud are distortion or fabrication of data, manipulation of instruments, theft of results from colleagues and plagiarizing the text of other authors.

17. Intellectual property rights

Scientists at the university have the intellectual right to their results, which, for example, implies that they can personally apply for a patent based on the results obtained from their research at the university. (In industry it is usually the employer that has the primary patent rights). There is no formal difference between a supervisor and a postgraduate student. The right to patent rests with the individual or individuals who have made the intellectual contribution.

In the academic world, there are also less formal aspects of intellectual rights connected with the system of establishing academic merit. This issue becomes apparent when deciding who and in which order the author’s names should appear on a publication. The way in which this issue is handled varies between disciplines and research groups, and there are no generally applicable rules. In order to avoid problems in the publication of work, the postgraduate student is advised to find out what the common practise is in his/her particular discipline at an early stage. It should be noted that there are essential creative aspects in all stages of a scientific investigation. These include formulating the project, planning the project, carrying out the investigation, interpreting the results and producing a final report. An author has an intellectual responsibility for the entire content of a report and he/she is expected to have made an essential creative contribution to at least one of the phases of the project.

18. Postgraduate Student Influence

18.1 Membership in a students’ union

According to government regulations concerning students’ unions, fraternities (nations) and student associations at universities, membership of a student association is obligatory for all students, including postgraduate students. The Students’ Unions in Lund (Studentkårerna i Lund) includes Akademiska Föreningen (AF) so students must also be a member of AF. In these respects, there is no difference between undergraduate and postgraduate students. In addition, postgraduate students in research disciplines existing before 1977 must be a member of a student nation. This applies to nearly all research disciplines within the Faculty of Science.

The department is charged with the task of checking that postgraduate students have taken out membership of the relevant student association each time information is registered in LADOK, and at least once per term.

18.2 Postgraduate student organisations

Postgraduate students at the university can influence activities at the university through representation on boards, committees and in working groups.

Both undergraduate and postgraduate students can be represented on boards and committees dealing with matters not specifically concerned with postgraduate education, and an effort is made to share the responsibility. The central organisation for cooperation is Lunds Universitets Studentkårer (LUS), which consists of representatives from the students’ unions of the different faculties, the Students’ Union at the Lund Institute of Technology (Teknologkåren vid LTH) and The Lund University Postgraduate Students’ Union (Lunds Doktorandkår, LDK).

18.3 The Lund Postgraduate Students’ Union

All postgraduate students at six of the seven faculties of the university belong to the Lund Postgraduate Students’ Union (Lunds Doktorandkår, LDK). This union provides advice and information to its members and actively monitors postgraduate education at the university, as well as nationally. LDK has approximately 2100 members.

LDK has a board and an assembly which are mainly responsible for issues of a general nature, while questions specific to a particular faculty are handled by the unions active at each faculty.

An important task of  LDK is to advise, inform and support individual postgraduate students. There is a full-time postgraduate ombudsman (doktorandombuds­man) who has the task of dealing with personal issues and who can act as a mediator between post­graduate students and a supervisor/department when necessary.

More detailed information can be found on their homepage www.ldk.lu.se .

18.4 The Scientific Postgraduate Students’ Union

Questions concerning postgraduate students which are specific to the science faculty are handled by the Scientific Postgraduate Students’ Union (Naturvetenskapliga Doktorand­rådet, NDR). The most important task of NDR is to guard the interests of the postgraduate students at the Faculty of Science with respect to the quality of education and supervision and the availability of resources. Another important task is informing postgraduate students on issues relevant to their studies.

NDR is composed of representatives elected by students at each department; one ordinary and one deputy member from each department. These representatives in turn elect a chairman and deputy chairman who have the task of organising NDR meetings (as a rule at least one per term) and leading these meetings, checking that decisions have been implemented, organising elections to LDK (the board and assembly), and organising elections to boards and committees on which LDK is represented.

The representatives from the departments have the important task of communicating questions and problems discussed locally to the wider community of LDK. Conversely, they should also communicate issues discussed at LDK meetings to their fellow colleagues at the department.


Translations of some useful terms

 

allmän studieplan

discipline curriculum

anställning som doktorand

position as a postgraduate student

arbetsmiljökommittén

The Working Environment Committee

avdelningsföreståndare

head of division

avhandling

thesis

betygsnämnd

examining committee

biträdande handledare

deputy supervisor

dekanus

faculty dean

disputation

thesis defence

doktorsexamen

Doctor of Philosophy, PhD

doktorandförsörjning

postgraduate student stipend

examinator

examiner

fakultet

faculty

fakultetsstyrelse

The Faculty Board

forskarassistent

postdoctoral fellow (US Assistant professor)

forskarstuderande

postgraduate student

forskarutbildningsnämnd

Board for Postgraduate Studies

forskarutbildningsämne

research discipline

huvudhandledare

official supervisor

individuell studieplan

individual curriculum

institution/avdelning

department/division

institutionsstyrelse

departmental board

licentiatexamen

licentiate degree

licentiatavhandling

licentiate dissertation

lärarförslagsnämnd

appointments board

Matematisk naturvetenskapliga fakulteten

the Faculty of Science

opponent

external examiner

prefekt

head of department

rektor

Vice-chancellor (US Chancellor)

stipendium

study grant (stipend)

utbildningsbidrag

postgraduate student scholarship

utbildningsnämnden

Committee for Undergraduate Education

 

 

 
Address: Faculty of Science, Box 118, SE-221 00 Lund, Sweden.
Telephone: +46(0)46-2227186,
Fax: +46(0)46- 222 40 24, E-mail: KansliN@KansliN.lu.se
Published by: Clas Odeskog, Bo Wallén infomaster
 

Senast ändrad 2006-03-16