English Language Requirement for Doctoral Education

You can show that you meet the English language requirement through English language proficiency tests, previous university studies or upper secondary school studies. The requirement is a level of English equivalent to the level of the Swedish upper secondary school course English 6. No exception from meeting the English language requirement is approved. We do not make any assessment of equivalent knowledge in English. English language proficiency must be proved by formal documentation.

In the information below, we refer to University Admissions website for more information on how you can meet the English requirement. However, note that you should not submit your application to University Admissions, nor should you send any documents to them for verification. Submit your application and supporting documents through the Varbi recruitment system. The available PhD positions are posted here.

Meeting the English requirement through internationally recognised English test

You can meet the requirement by achieving the required score on an internationally recognised English test. Karolinska Institutet accepts the following tests:

  • IELTS Academic/IELTS UKVI. According to IELTS, test results are valid for two years. Please note that KI can accept older test results as long as they are available online for verification. Contact IELTS with questions about test result availability.
  • TOEFL iBT.  The TOEFL test results are valid for two years.
  • Cambridge Michigan Language Assessments
  • Pearson PTE Academic
  • Cambridge English Qualifications

Please note that there are different types of English language tests in different levels, even among those tests listed above.  You find information about the internationally recognised tests and the minimum score requirements here.


Meeting the English requirement through previous university studies

You can meet the English language requirement through previous university studies. Please make sure you follow the general documentation requirements.

Previous university studies from the Nordic countries 

Applicants who meet the general entry requirements (points 1. or 2. , chapter 7, 39§) through academic credentials from a Nordic higher education institution are assessed to meet the English language requirement. This means that prospective doctoral students who fulfill the general entry requirements through academic credentials from a Nordic higher education institution, only need to submit documents that certify the general entry requirements. A prospective doctoral student meets the general entry requirement for doctoral education if he or she:

  1. has been awarded a degree at the advanced (second-cycle) level, or
  2. has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded at the advanced level.

Previous university studies from outside the Nordic region 

Ongoing and completed university studies in some other countries can also fulfill the English requirement. You can find more information on how to meet the English language requirement through previous university studies outside the Nordic region here. Furthermore, applicants who have completed their university degrees (usually a medical doctor degree with English as language of instruction) from a program on a university which according to World Directory of Medical Schools has English as the only language on instruction. The degree must not have been awarded more than ten years ago to be able to show that you meet the entry requirement regarding knowledge in English in this way.


Meeting the English requirement through upper secondary school studies

Please make sure you follow the general documentation requirements.

Swedish upper secondary school credentials

If you are already registered (folkbokförd) in Sweden, you can complete the Swedish upper secondary school course English 6 at your local kommunal vuxenutbildning (KomVux) which is upper secondary school for adults. You may also be able to take English 6 as an exam. Please check the application dates with your municipality.

Foreign upper secondary school credentials

You may also meet the English language requirement through your foreign upper secondary school education. This will depend on in which country you have completed your upper secondary school, in which year and which courses you have completed. Please scan the original upper secondary school diplomas and transcripts in color and upload them on your application at Varbi.com.


Frequently Asked Questions

I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree with English as Language of Instruction. Do I still need to take a language proficiency test in English?

It depends on the documentation of your diplomas and which country you studied in. Note that the language requirement in English is the same for doctoral education level at KI as it is for master level studies.

I was born and raised in an English-speaking country, or I have citizenship in an English-speaking country. What applies for me?

Even you who have English as native language (mother tongue) or have citizenship in an English-speaking country is obligated to prove your language proficiency in English formally to meet the KI specific eligibility requirement.

Which English language proficiency tests do KI accept? Could you tell med exactly where does KI place the cut-off for accepting the language test score?

KI accepts several English language proficiency tests. The scores differ among the different tests.

Can I meet the specific eligibility requirement in English proficiency through upper secondary studies or Municipality Adult education?

You who have Swedish upper secondary studies or Municipality adult education in English B/6 can submit your grades, or an excerpt, from central Admission to your application in Varbi.

Will KI accept a letter from my home University about the language of instruction, or does the language of instruction need to be stated on the officially issued Degree, Transcript of Records or Diploma Supplement?

It depends on which country your bachelor's and master's degree studies are from. 


You are welcome to contact doctoraleligibility@ki.se for your questions about the entry requirement for doctoral education at KI. 

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