Research seminars (sometimes called higher seminars) constitute an important factor of continuous support for many doctoral students.
Doctoral students, teaching staff and other researchers at a department or in a research group meet regularly for seminars chaired by a senior colleague to discuss new methods and findings, new literature in the field and the various problems that doctoral students may run up against.
The frequency of seminars varies—some departments have seminars every week while others are held at fortnightly or even longer intervals. The seminars are often chaired by a professor, but other researchers with doctorates may be given the assignment, too.
Guest lecturesSometimes guest lecturers are invited from other institutions of higher education in Sweden or abroad. During foreign visits, the discussions may be held in English or some other language.
Thesis reviewResearch seminars also make it possible for doctoral students to present chapters of their work, sections of their theses or papers for review and discussion. This provides an opportunity for discussing a student's thesis work - sometimes it can be difficult to judge the progress of your own work.
Disciplinary discussionsFor subjects in which it can be difficult to get a reaction to thesis work these seminars have a very important function. Theses in the humanities and social sciences are often written in the form of monographs, which makes the academic discussions conducted at seminars even more crucial. This is where you can be confident that you will get an assessment of your own work in relation to other research both nationally and internationally. Another doctoral student is often given the assignment of reviewing a contribution, which also means that the seminars provide training in preparation for the public defence of a thesis. In the natural sciences, engineering and medicine it is more common to work in groups or research teams, which offers better opportunities for continuous quality assessments of a student's work, for instance through the challenge of writing a paper for an international journal reviewed by expert researchers before publication.