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Doctoral students with external scholarships

At KTH there are doctoral students who are wholly or partly financed through external scholarships (e.g. under international collaboration agreements). Here you will find information about the specific conditions for students financed by scholarships.

What is an external scholarship?

An external scholarship is a scholarship that a doctoral student receives from his or her home country, home university etc. All doctoral students at KTH are to have a reasonable level of income, regardless of how it is financed.

Scholarship holders are subject to the same rules and regulations concerning their studies as are all doctoral students, e.g. eligibility, admission, study plan, supervision, thesis defence, etc.

The agreement between the scholarship holder and the scholarship provider constitutes the financial basis for the admission of a scholarship holder to third-cycle education at KTH.

Financing of doctoral education with external scholarships from July 1st 2018

Doctoral students admitted from July 1st 2018 may be financed by scholarship for four years if the scholarship is awarded under 1) an aid or capacity-building programme where scholarship is the established form for financing or 2) a programme financed by the European Union or equivalent where scholarship is the established form for financing. Examples of 2) are scholarships from the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC) or similar organisations where KTH has formed an agreement with the organisation. In all other cases financing by scholarship is possible for one year only after which the doctoral student shall be employed.

Minimum income levels

Doctoral students at KTH in receipt of a scholarship should have at least the same level of income as other doctoral students. External scholarships that fall short of the minimum income level are to be supplemented with a top-up scholarship from KTH, (see below).

Minimum income levels change over time since they are linked to the general income levels set by the salaries for employed doctoral students “doktorandstegen”. For more information about salaries for employed doctoral students, see (in Swedish only) Doctoral student salary agreement

Equivalent level of “doktorandstegen” at KTH 2022 after tax deduction table 32 is:

Level 1 24 100 SEK/month

Level 2 24 700 SEK/month

Level 3 26 300 SEK/month

Level 4 27 200 SEK/month

Supplementary financing by top-up scholarships

All collaboration agreements with other universities and partners must aim to set a level of financing corresponding to that of an employed doctoral student. Should it not be possible to reach an agreement meeting the income requirements of KTH for doctoral students, the school is to provide supplementary financing by a top-up scholarship or refrain from admitting students under that agreement.

The school may set up a top-up scholarship for a doctoral student (if the external scholarship fall short of the minimum income level). Note that the government appropriation may not be used to set up such scholarships and that they may not be paid to someone who has received a salary or fee from KTH within a two-year period prior to the first scholarship disbursement. Scholarships may only be set up using funds provided by external financiers who have given due written approval.

Supplementary financing such as a top-up scholarship, should be worked out in consultation with the school’s human resources manager and/or head of administration. The final decision is made by the head of the school. Apart from top-up doctoral scholarships, no KTH scholarships are allowed for doctoral education.

Social benefits for doctoral students with external scholarships

Scholarship holders are not employed by KTH and therefore do not have the same rights regarding pension, expense allowances, health and wellness allowance, etc. or any formally regulated holiday entitlement.


Scholarship holders are not covered by any of the benefits provided by collective agreement, such as parental pay and sick pay. Their right to social insurance benefits depends on citizenship, length of time in Sweden, etc. This must all be sorted out individually for each scholarship holder and KTH to know what the scholarship holder is entitled to. Read more about insurance for scholarship holders (in Swedish only)

Accident, sickness and parental leave

Chapter 1 section 11c of the Higher Education Ordinance provides that a higher education institution shall provide insurance cover through an agreement with the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency for doctoral students whose studies are financed by scholarships. This insurance is to apply when the doctoral student’s scholarship ceases to be paid because of absence from studies on the grounds of illness or parental leave.

The Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency’s health and parental insurance is a compulsory group insurance administrated by KTH University Administration Human Resources Division.

Compensation is paid when the student’s scholarship is discontinued on grounds of absence from studies in the event of:

  • illness
  • parental leave
  • temporary parental leave

Scholarship holders admitted to KTH are also covered by the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services’ “Personal injury insurance for university students”. The policy applies during study time and direct travel to and from campus. More on the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services’ insurances for doctoral students on a scholarship Health and parental insurance for doctoral students


Scholarship holders have no formally regulated holiday entitlement since they are not employed. The length and dates of holidays should be regulated in the individual study plan.


No pension provision is made for scholarship holders since they are not employed.

Recruitment of doctoral students on scholarships

The main rule is that doctoral students at KTH are to be selected through a competitive recruitment process, which means that in most cases doctoral places must be duly advertised. However, the Higher Education Ordinance allows an exemption from this requirement, which KTH interprets to mean that no such advertisement is needed if the student has undergone a separate competitive selection process (e.g. for the awarding of a scholarship).

For more information about the recruitment of doctoral students, see KTH admission regulations (in Swedish only)


Students and supervisors are asked to direct any questions they have about scholarships to their departmental human resources administrator or the school human resources manager.

Students who have questions about their education are to contact their supervisors, the Programme Director, the Director for Third Cycle Education (FA) or the doctoral education administrator.