Forskarhandledarutbildning - Supervision in post graduate programmes (SPGP)

SPGP2020 started on April 22nd and will end in November 2020.

Future planned offerings of SPGP:
SPGP 2021: The start of the next SPGP-offering has been postponed until August 2021. The application for that course-offering will open during the Spring of 2021.
If you planning/interested to apply to the next SPGP-course, you are welcome to e-mail to Yael Tågerud or Henrik Evertsson at the Section for Higher Education Development.

The section for Higher Education Development at Linnaeus University offers a special university-wide course for PhD-supervisors – Supervision in postgraduate programmes (SPGP). This course, which is commissioned by the Vice-Chancellor, aims to strengthen and develop competences of PhD-supervisors, to ultimately support the doctoral students’ learning conditions. SPGP is part of the faculties’ quality assurance and improvement strategy. The course is a university/academic requirement in order to qualify as primary supervisor in postgraduate programmes.

Doctoral studies in Swedish universities are exclusive, i.e. not available for anyone, and subject to a set of regulations stipulated in various steering documents, such as the Higher Education Act, The Higher Education Ordinance and local regulations formulated by each university. At Linnaeus University, each Faculty Board is responsible for securing the quality and equity of postgraduate programmes in the disciplines within the Faculty. As part of this responsibility, the Faculty Boards need to ensure that PhD-supervisors are provided with appropriate preparation and training for the tasks included in their role and in their pedagogical practice.

One of your main responsibilities as a supervisor in postgraduate programmes is to secure that the doctoral students have the best conditions to be able to achieve the learning outcomes for postgraduate education and complete their studies successfully. Furthermore, as a supervisor you are responsible for the study progress of the PhD candidates and their integration with the scientific community.

In order to take on the formal responsibilities of a primary PhD-supervisor and to be able to live up to the broad set of expectations that are associated with the role of supervisor in postgraduate programmes, you need a broad set of experiences, competences and skills.

The course Supervision in postgraduate programmes (SPGP) aims to prepare doctoral supervisors for their complex mission. This includes creating suitable pedagogical practices by providing materials and activities that will enhance your abilities and skills as a supervisor to take appropriate actions in different supervision situations.

The course is designed to encourage exchanges of experiences between the participants from different disciplines and to promote collaborative learning where PhD-supervisors create a reflective community of practice.

The focus of SPGP, the course contents and the assignments to be completed, are purposely designed to meet the standards required by the regulations regarding postgraduate programmes and to ultimately enhance the quality of doctoral studies at Linnaeus University.

To be able to fully benefit and contribute to the course, applicants are expected to:

  • Be an employee at Linnaeus University.
  • Have documented experience of supervision, at least at undergraduate level.
  • Have documented involvement in post-graduate programmes.
  • Having conducted and published research after PhD-dissertation.

Selection for the course will be based on the above.

Course objectives
After having completed the course, you are expected to:

  • Be able to engage actively in the development of postgraduate programmes through identifying, critically reflecting on and discussing the framework, conditions, goals and design of doctoral programmes at Linnaeus University in the light of historical, national and international perspectives, including both legal aspects and scientific perspectives.
  • Have developed communicative competences that help you manage the complexity of your relationships related to your role as supervisor.
  • Have gained insights and self-awareness about your leadership style and how you are perceived by others.
  • Be capable to apply and switch between several appropriate strategies to handle different supervisory situations, taking into consideration various aspects such as gender, age, ethics, ethnicity/culture, personality, etc.
  • Implement tools and strategies for supporting the doctoral students with regard to
    • fostering their writing skills considering different types of dissertations,
    • time-management and ways to handle time limits,
    • supporting the integration of PhD students with the scientific community,
    • intellectual independence and capability to spread research results in order to contribute to society.


  • Research education in the context of Swedish Higher Education and international research communities.
  • Regulatory and legal framework and university-specific regulations, the Individual Study Plan etc.
  • Roles and responsibilities of actors/stakeholders, e.g. supervisor(s), co-supervisor(s), mentor(s), examiner, doctoral student, Head of Department, Faculty Dean, Faculty administrators etc.
  • Interactions between supervisor and doctoral student with focus on:
    • formal/informal meetings between supervisor and doctoral student;
    • rights and obligations;
    • giving and receiving feedback;
    • equality in the regulatory framework in Sweden;
    • the significance of gender, ethnicity/culture, age and social background.
  • Potential challenges and problems in practice.
  • Activities that highlight your personal leadership style, your communication practices and your pedagogical approaches to postgraduate education.
  • Fostering the PhD-student’s writing skills and publishing strategies.
  • Research ethics: rights and obligations to interact in a professional way.
  • Different stages of PhD career development and planning.

Eight full days scheduled as six course meetings (four one-day meetings and two 2-days meetings).
Scheduled course meetings includes various types of activities: short lectures, input from resource experts, describe and share personal experiences, role-play, case studies, action-group discussions.
Participants are expected to work on several homework assignments between the course meetings. Those assignments are presented in a separate document at the beginning of the course.
The course is held in English but homework assignments can be written in Swedish or English.

The course is offered with two starting occasions within a 12 months period.

Financial conditions
The course is financed by central university funding and it is free of charge for faculty members employed at Linnaeus University.

Schedule for SPGP 2020
Course meeting #1:     Wednesday, 22 April (ZOOM)
Course meeting #2:       Monday, May 25 (Växjö or ZOOM)
Course meeting #3*:       Thursday-Friday, 20-21 August (Kalmar)
Course meeting #4**:     Monday-Tuesday, 21-22 September (Växjö)
Course meeting #5:       Thursday, October 22 (Kalmar)
Course meeting #6:       Wednesday, 25 November (Växjö)
(*) All participants are welcome to a dinner on day 1. Overnight is offered for those who do not live in Kalmar.
(**) All participants are welcome to a dinner on day 1. Overnight is offered for those who do not live in Växjö.

You are expected to participate in all course meetings. If you are prevented from participating in more than one course meeting we recommend that you do not submit an application. If you need to be absent from one course meeting you will need to compensate for this next time the course is offered.

Brodin, Eva et al (2020). Doctoral supervision in theory and practice. Lund: Studentlitterature. Available also in Swedish with the title Forskarhandledning i teori och praktik (2016).

Evans, Teresa M et al (2017). ReSearch: A Career Guide for Scientists.
London: Academic Press (Available as e-book).

Several journal articles - list provided in the course's MyMoodle-site.


Course leader SPGP 2020

Course coordinator

Course administrator