The doctoral education resulting in a doctoral degree is 4 years of full time study, and it should in general be completed within eight years of real time. If you are pursuing a licentiate, the education consists of two years of full time study, which should be completed within 4 years of real time. There are special circumstances which can result in the education taking longer than eight years.

You may be doing your doctoral studies at a reduced pace – for example, you have employment by your university and are choosing a lower pace, or you have employment by the healthcare sector  and a certain number of days per month allocated to doctoral studies. In this case, it will take you more than four years of actual time to complete your doctoral degree, but this is not the same as prolongation. Prolongation, as a concept, does not refer to spreading your four years of full time over a longer period, but to adding time to the four years of study. 

Your time can be extended in several circumstances. One general principle is that the time spent on duties other than research education carried on as part of your employment should not be counted as part of your four years of full time (two for the licentiate). 

Delays to your studies due to illness or parental leave should also result in prolongation.

You may also get extra time for delays to your studies that are due to the university not being able to fulfill its duties towards your education, as laid out in the Individual Study Plan (ISP), or for delays to your research due to partner institutions or outside conditions. 

The ISP is a very important document in regards with prolongation. You should make sure your ISP documents your duties and that the ISP is reviewed if any changes occur in your study pace. 

Something you should keep in mind about all kinds of prolongation is that you should do the math as early as possible, and you should ask those responsible for doctoral students in your department if you are unsure. Whenever the prolongation is calculated in days (for example: ten days for a student union task) you should keep in mind that this means working days.

When your four years of full time have passed and you are on time accumulated from prolongation, you have the same status as before, in all aspects. 

 If you need help or any issues arise with your prolongation, you can ask your student union, the ombudsperson for doctoral students, or your trade union for help. 

Common reasons for prolongation are departmental duties, sick leave and parental leave, and work as a representative in student unions or trade unions, and other special circumstances.

Departmental duties
Sick leave
Parental leave
Representation in student unions and trade unions
Special circumstances