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3rd Cycle in the Arts

This is an international database of 3rd cycle awards in the European Higher Arts Education Area, developed within the Creator Doctus project (2018-2021), to identify possible examples of practice in developing and supporting artistic research.


Konstfack, University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Stockholm, Sweden



Research Policy & Strategy

The Art, Technology and Design third-cycle subject area includes research in an emerging research domain formed in dynamic meetings between artistic and scientific approaches as well as between three different perspectives – art, technology and design. The subject is managed and developed within the framework of the Art, Technology and Design doctoral programme at KTH. Via a collaboration between KTH and Konstfack, the programme offers a new arena for meetings between different knowledge cultures and methods of research, innovation and production in art, technology and design.

The research policy of the institution encourages a dynamic relationship “between both artistic and scientific approaches and between three different perspectives: art, technology and design. The programme is fundamentally interdisciplinary through its focus on perspective meetings and concrete materialisation. A critically analysing approach is applied in both material and performative experiments as well as in discursive investigations. The transdisciplinary potential is strong and is further strengthened through cooperation with external actors.

Konstfack has a research environment strong enough to promote research within its branches of knowledge while pursuing interdisciplinary, international collaboration with others. Doctoral students are encouraged to be present at Konstfack and engaged in research and teaching activities.

Konstfack is aligned with Konstex (which includes all Swedish higher education institutions that have the right to offer arts and design based degrees), and externally with ELIA, Cumulus and Cirrus.

Awards Offered

PhD (in Art, Technology and Design)

Licentiate (MPhil equivalent)

Konstfack’s PhD programme is run jointly with KTH, the Royal Institute of Technology which is the external validating institution. It is an interdisciplinary programme: Art, Technology and Design developed by both institutions together.


Annual reports (progress reviews) from fellow (doctoral student) and supervisors are required. Annually doctoral students have a progression seminar with an external discussant.

There is a formalised mid-way evaluation (the licentiate exam after two years) with report and presentation from the fellow, evaluated by a specific committee who interview both the fellow and Director of Studies (main supervisor).

Viva voce plays a key role in assessment with incrementally increasing percentage weightings (25%-50%-80%) throughout the duration of the research prior to the final presentation of work and public defence.

External discussants are invited to question the students at the seminars and an external opponent has the leading role during the public defence of the thesis.

Forms of Output

Advanced practice-based research and traditional dissertation combined are understood to produce the thesis.

For evidence of the work done over the past 5 years please visit this page.

And for publications this page.

Programme Structure

PhD (in Art, Technology and Design) 4 years, 8 semesters. Full-time

Licentiate (MPhil equivalent), 2 years, 4 semesters. Full-time


Mandatory research methodologies course.

Annual student-led seminar presentations.

Two-day seminar on ethics.

The students need to participate in 30 HECs mandatory courses designed for the programme (half a year full time studies). This also includes a monthly seminar series and 30-60 HECs courses that are discussed with and approved by the supervisors.

The programme is structured around the “meetings of perspectives” and concrete manifestation, and the research domain is basically interdisciplinary. Research projects in the subject are based on a critically analytic approach that, as regards research, is applied to material and performative experiments as well as to discursive investigations. Through collaborations with external agents (e.g. in commerce, culture, public operations and politics), projects have high transdisciplinary potential.

By challenging conventions in established areas of knowledge, by working trans-disciplinarily and by uniting implementation practices with advanced epistemological and methodological perspectives, research and education in the programme shall contribute a strong innovativeness.

Undergraduate & Masters Research

This is slightly varying among the different subjects and also depending on the students’ interests, but there are research methodologies in the MFA programmes. All Master’s students also attend the annual research week.

Qualification Framework

National Framework

Quality Assurance & Enhancement

The award giving institution (KTH) has a thorough programme with yearly assessments. The programme is also assessed by a state authority on a regular basis.


Supervisors participate in a course for supervising doctoral students.

Seminars that focus on supervision take place once or twice a year.

Each student has at least two supervisors that are relevant for their research field. They meet the principal supervisor irregularly around once or twice a month, depending on courses and needs.

Time allocation

Principal supervisors: 10%

Secondary supervisors: 5%

Minimum qualifications

Principal supervisor (Director of Studies), Professor with a PhD

Second supervisor, PhD

Third supervisor, relevant artistic expertise for the doctoral student’s project.


All professors are provided with between 20-45% time for research.

Staff can apply for 20% time during a year for doing research project.

Between 15 and 20 of circa 100 lecturers have PhDs. 

Between 15 and 20 of circa 100 lecturers are research active.

Student Admissions

Annual advertisement.

Application detailing proposed project. 

Committees select the top 3-5 candidates for interview.


There are currently 12 PhD students.

Student Funding

Students are employed for four years with a salary. Four years’ full time fully funded (salary and no tuition fees) and often stretched out to five years with 20% teaching.

Student Support

Students receive support for the production costs (up to €10 000) of the thesis project and up to €3000 per year for travel and conferences.


3rd Cycle in the Arts

This is an international database of 3rd cycle awards in the European Higher Arts Education Area, developed within the Creator Doctus project (2018-2021), to identify possible examples of practice in developing and supporting artistic research.