3.1 Supervision and thesis group

To help students reach their PhDs, each student has a so-called thesis group consisting of at least three people: a main supervisor, one or more assistant supervisors and a mentor. Depending on the conditions associated with the funding of the graduate studies, it may already be known from the start who will be the thesis supervisor, but otherwise a supervisor will be appointed within three months. The assistant supervisor(s) usually is someone from the same research group as the main supervisor. The mentor is a researcher/faculty member who is not involved in the actual thesis project. The mentor is meant to be an independent source of support for the student. The student is free to change mentor at any moment. Second supervisor and mentor should also be selected within three months of starting the graduate studies. This arrangement is partly meant to provide the graduate student the possibility to discuss any problems with two additional persons, one specialist and one outsider.

In order to make sure that the work is well planned, the student, together with the supervisor should within three months set up a "personal study plan". This document should contain a rather detailed plan for the first year, and an outline for the years to come. The study plan has to be updated at least once per year so as to always reflect the current situation.

3.2 Graduate study course programme

The course work corresponds to 60 hp, or 1 year of work (full-time studies). It is meant to both deepen and widen the student's knowledge of modern astronomy, as well as require specific knowledge needed for the thesis work. Students have considerable freedom in determining their course programme, the only obligatory element being a written literature review on the thesis subject (7.5 hp). The other credits can be earned by taking appropriate master-level courses, PhD-level courses, numerical/observational projects (outside the actual thesis work), summer schools, or pedagogical courses. Master-level courses should not take up more than 30hp. The actual courses are chosen together with the supervisor and the director of graduate studies.

When entering the PhD studies it is possible to reduce the course work by carrying over credits earned earlier. However, this can never be more than 30 credits and will result in a reduction of the PhD time with the corresponding amount (so, maximally 6 months).

3.3 Yearly supervisors meetings

To make sure that students will be able to finish on time, a yearly evaluation of their progress is made, based on a written report and a meeting with the thesis group and mentor. Recommendations from this evaluation are meant to steer both the student and the supervisor to a successful completion of the course and thesis work within the allotted time.

3.4 Thesis

Nominally the PhD thesis work corresponds to 180 hp (3 years, full-time studies). The research project is chosen together with the thesis supervisor, and is presented to the institute at the earliest possible occasion. At the end of the studies the research is presented in the form of a PhD thesis which is then publicly defended. A normal PhD thesis consists of an introduction to the thesis subject and a number of publications which have been published in, submitted to, or have been prepared for submission to an international peer-reviewed journal.

As part of the programme you are also required to produce a so called Licentiate thesis, which represents an intermediate thesis on the way to a PhD. To defend a licentiate thesis one needs at least 40 hp of course credits and at least one year of thesis work and is therefore typically produced after two years in the PhD programme. The licentiate thesis should include an introduction to the thesis work and a written thesis, which may consists of already published, or to be published, papers. The scientific contents of the licentiate thesis should be less than half of that of the PhD thesis.