The Individual Study Plan

In addition to the General Study Plan of the programme, the University needs to decide on an Individual study plan (Individuell studieplan) for each doctoral student (the Higher Education Ordinance, chapter 6 § 29). This plan details how the education is to progress and it is a legally binding document: it lays down the obligations of both the doctoral student and the university. The plan is discussed with the student and the supervisors, but approving it is a decision by the university. 

This ISP should be comprehensive. It should at the minimum include

  • information about the degree being pursued
  • the time-plan for the programme
  • the financing of the studies
  •  the extent of supervision expected from each supervisor
  • specific information about special conditions relating to place of work, computers and other equipment, research stays, etc.
  • Information about courses the doctoral student is to take as a part of their education
  • any intended teaching and other department duties (institutionstjänstgöring)
  • time spent on representation work in student unions and trade unions

If you submit for a Licentiate degree, this should be included in the ISP as well. Any evaluations during the doctoral studies, such as half-time seminars, should also be included in the ISP. 

All parties should remember that the study plan is a legally binding document, which means that it states your obligations as a doctoral student, and at the same time the university’s obligations towards you. Fulfilling the objectives in the ISP is the main way of keeping track of your progress through education. 

The individual study plan should be reviewed at least once per year by the doctoral student and supervisors and modified where necessary. The reviewed plan should be signed by the doctoral student, supervisors and the Head of Department. If needed, the individual study plan should be reviewed more often. If you change your supervisor, the individual study plan should be reviewed. 

The purpose of reviewing the ISP is to ensure that the education is proceeding satisfactorily, and to recognize and solve potential problems as early as possible. To this end, the ISP should also document delays to study, time spent by the doctoral student on representation work in student unions or trade unions, sick leave, parental leave etc.

The study plan can be used in situations where, for example, the student feels that the university did not provide resources that were necessary for fulfilling the objectives in the ISP. The ISP is also important in cases of withdrawal of resources, where the university claims the doctoral student seriously neglected their obligations. The ISP is also important when applying for having access to resources reinstated. Fulfilling the objectives in the ISP is also tied with progressing on a salary ladder, if there is one for your employment. 

Documenting your time in the ISP is also important in case you need to apply for prolongation