Earth Science with specialization in Physical Geography

Translation of Curriculum Statement for Graduate Level (Third-level) Education

Swedish title: Geovetenskap med inriktning mot naturgeografi 


Swedish Curriculum adopted by the Board of the Faculty of Science and Technology (Board for Third-level Education) on 2008-07-02. Translation approved on 2010-09-03.

The Curriculum Statement for Third-level Education consists of three parts: a general part, this subject specialized curriculum statement, and each doctoral student's individual study plan. 


The graduate student should achieve a deepened insight into the disciplines encompassed by the subject Physical Geography, and a wider knowledge of Earth Science in general. The graduate student should acquire competence and knowledge at the research front within the chosen discipline. The doctoral student should further reach a critical and independent level of theoretical and practical abilities in order to be able to pursue a future career within the subject. The doctoral student shall also be able to present her/his own goals and results orally and in writing to different target groups in English and, in the case of Swedish-speaking doctoral students, in Swedish.  

Subject description 

Physical Geography encompasses studies of terrestrial exogenous processes and morphologies of Earth’s surface, usually in conjunction with bordering disciplines. The students will graduate with either a licentiate- or a doctoral examina in Earth Sciences, with a specialization in Physical Geography. The student shall focus in one of the subjects encompassed by Physical Geography, but also in their education widen their knowledge in the subject Earth Sciences. 

Specific research areas within Physical Geography are determined by the research conducted and facilitated at the department. Information of current research subjects is given at, or by contacting the professor in charge of the third level program.


Basic Eligibility 
The basic eligibility for third level education is described in the general part of the curriculum statement. 

Special Eligibility 
Special eligibility for third level education in Physical Geograpy is given for knowledge comparable to an Earth Science specialization of 90 ECTS. Students with another Natural Science background may be eligible, but a special motivation should be attached to the proposal, where the applicant’s special skills should be stressed for the task in mind. 


Applicants for third level program in Earth Science with specialization in Physical Geography must submit an application to the head of the Department of Earth Sciences. Admissions to places in third level programs take place normally two times per year.

In connection with the admission it must be stated how it is planned to finance both the personal maintenance of the doctoral student, and her/his research.

Program structure

In connection with the admission, each doctoral student and her/his supervisor shall draw up an individual study plan after consultation with the professor in charge of the third level program. The plan is to be approved by the head of the department (by delegation of the Faculty Board), in connection with the admission.

The individual study plan shall be reviewed jointly by the doctoral student and her/his supervisor, annually, and be provided with a summary of the achieved results and the plans for the coming year. Significant changes and any disagreement on the individual study plan shall be reported to the head of the department or, if deemed necessary, to the Board for Third-level Education. 


Within the third level program there may be different kinds of courses, such as lectures, literature studies, practical training, field studies, etc. The courses are intended to provide wider insights into the subject as a complement to the specialist competence acquired in the research work. The courses will be determined by the student’s advisory board together with the student, depending on the needs and the availability of courses. 

Requirements for doctoral degree

The requirements for doctoral degree consist of on one hand passed examinations in the courses included in the approved individual study plan of each doctoral student, and on other hand passed public defense of the doctoral thesis. The program leading to the doctoral degree amounts to 240 higher education credits (four years of full-time studies), of which the thesis part amounts to a minimum of 120 higher education credits and the course part to a minimum of 60 higher education credits. 

Requirements for licentiate degree

A stage of at least 120 higher education credits (two years of full-time studies) in the third level program may be completed with a licentiate degree. The requirements for this are that the doctoral student both has passed the examinations included in the program stage and has got an academic paper amounting to a minimum of 60 higher education credits passed. The course part amounts to a minimum of 45 higher education credits.