This doctoral programme aims to develop the ability and skills of doctoral students both to produce a base for evidence-based knowledge and to determine how it can be implemented in the health and welfare sector and how its implementation can be evaluated.
The Doctoral (Third Cycle) Subject Care Sciences
This programme leads to a Degree of Licentiate or a Degree of Doctor in the Care Sciences, which is an interdisciplinary subject where the research concerns:
- human health-related needs and problems; and
- processes, factors and measures related to physical, mental and social health and ill health in different contexts and environments.
The study area is broad and can include, for example, the experiences of patients and their relatives of illness and care, quality of life, treatment of patients or recipients of care, effects of interventions, healthcare professionals’ experience and perspectives, and the organisation and management of health and social care.
Health and Welfare with Focus on Evidence-Based Practice
The field of Health and Welfare with Focus on Evidence-Based Practice concerns the work being done at the individual and societal levels to promote people's health and social conditions as well as the development of health- and welfare-related work. Evidence-based health and welfare is when the best available scientific knowledge is weighed alongside professional experience as well as the individual user’s/client’s/patient’s situation, experience and wishes when decisions about treatment are to be made.
By taking this programme, doctoral students will gain the competence to conduct independent research. They will also gain specialist knowledge in a specific research domain. The programme aims to develop the ability and skills of the doctoral student to produce a base for evidence-based knowledge by way of the following:
- original studies
- summary and critical review of identified scientific knowledge
- determination of how evidence-based knowledge can be implemented in the health and welfare sector
- evaluation of the implementation
The programme thus aims to develop the ability of doctoral students to produce a base for evidence-based knowledge and to fill identified knowledge gaps.
Doctoral positions are advertised. Applicants can also present a certificate of funding (a financial plan) if they will not be employed by the University. This funding must cover two years of full-time study for a Degree of Licentiate or four years of full-time study for a Degree of Doctor.
Process fram till antagning (pdf) (in Swedish)
There is a clear time frame for how long a doctoral student can hold their post. A doctoral post is fixed-term and is regulated by the Higher Education Ordinance, Chapter 5. The period of employment is four years full-time for studies leading to a Degree of Doctor and two years full-time for a Degree of Licentiate.
Here are some practical tips for doctoral students at Dalarna University:
Anställning som doktorand (Swedish webpage)
General Syllabus and Individual Study Plan (ISP)
Programme requirements, structure and examination are governed by the General Syllabus. In addition, each doctoral student has their own ISP. This is approved by the Head of School no later than 3 months after the start date of the programme. The ISP includes a research plan for the thesis work, a description of how supervision will be organised for the upcoming year, a plan showing which doctoral courses are to be included, and the planned degree of activity for the entire programme.
Individual Study Plan (pdf)
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Compulsory and Elective Courses
The courses and thesis work should be carried out in parallel. The compulsory courses are offered once a year. All four courses are each worth 7.5 credits, are taught in English, are web-based and are at 50 percent study rate.
The compulsory courses are as follows:
- General Principles of Scientific Work: Introductory Course
- Scientific Methods
- Systematic Review, Meta-Synthesis and Meta-Analysis
- Implementation Research in Health and Welfare Practice (not compulsory for a Degree of Licentiate)
Applications can be made to the compulsory courses when they open for application. An application form is sent to all doctoral students when it is time to apply.
In addition to compulsory courses, students must take courses worth 15 credits that are relevant for the subject for a Degree of Doctor or 7.5 credits for a Degree of Licentiate. The doctoral student selects their courses in consultation with the Principal Supervisor. Credit transfer can be sought for courses taken at another higher education institution.
After two years of full-time studies, there is a half-time seminar for those studying towards a Degree of Doctor. The purpose of the half-time seminar is to review the work to date and evaluate how work with the thesis is proceeding and also to provide support for the continued thesis work.
Licentiate Seminar and Public Defence
The doctoral programme ends with a licentiate seminar or a public defence.
At the licentiate seminar, the doctoral student defends their thesis. The thesis normally comprises two or more scientific articles with a short summarising chapter, which also serves to introduce the subject of the thesis. The doctoral student must be the first author of at least one article. At least one article must have been accepted for publication or have been published in an international peer-reviewed scientific journal.
The doctoral thesis comprises a series of scientific articles with a summarising chapter in Swedish or English. It should be made up of at least three, usually four, scientific papers; note, it is the academic quality and the independent contribution of the doctoral student to the development of knowledge that is assessed, not the number of articles. The doctoral student must be the first author of at least two articles. At least two articles must be accepted for publication or have been published in an international peer-reviewed scientific journal.
Support and Assistance for Doctoral Students
The doctoral programme involves four years of full-time study for a Degree of Doctor and two years of full-time study for a Degree of Licentiate. During that time, students will be busy working on projects and working with others as they pursue their studies. To support doctoral students and supervisors, there is a handbook called HADOK for doctoral students and supervisors in the Care Sciences.
The School of Health and Welfare also has a a pamphlet with guidance for doctoral students and supervisors (Samarbetsverktyg – see below) that can be used with supervision. The Principal Supervisor and the Co-supervisor may change over the course of the programme. When a change of supervisor takes place, a form for a change of supervisor needs to be filled in and sent to the Director of Doctoral Programme. Doctoral students can also make use of research support services available at the University.
Form: Förändring i handledaruppställning (.docx) (in Swedish)