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Graduate School for Hearing Disabilities in Working Life

The Graduate School for Hearing Disabilities in Working Life involves four years of full-time studies. The study period consists of alternated compulsory and elective postgraduate courses and individual research projects leading to a doctoral degree. Unique to this graduate school is that all students will have a compulsory internship.

The internship will require each student to have a project based on a current problem in working life, with focus on hearing disabilities. The internship will take place at different work places and will be a joint project between Karolinska Institutet, national universities and Swedish work agencies. A unique aspect to this graduate programme is that it is the first interdisciplinary graduate programme with focus on hearing disabilities in working life.

The purpose of this postgraduate education is to deepen the students' understanding of hearing disabilities in working life and to encourage social progress in this field.

The programme is supported by the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research, FAS. All students accepted into the programme will be directly associated with the FAS Center for Hearing Disabilities in Working Life.


The main goal of the Graduate School for Hearing Disabilities in Working Life is to develop a scientific basis for high quality research in the area of hearing disabilities in working life.

After completing their postgraduate education at Karolinska Institutet, students will have developed an advanced general knowledge of the science of hearing disabilities and scientific methodology, as well as earning cutting edge scientific skills in the research field they choose to explore for their final thesis.


There are three types of admission to the Graduate School for Hearing Disabilities in Working Life:

The primary group will be doctoral students who apply for the four-year doctoral programme. These students will be selected based on general eligibility, additional scientific and work-life merits, and their goals when they finish the programme.

The second group of students will be allowed to take individual courses within the programme, but are registered within another programme. These students can be registered at another university in Sweden.

The third group of students will be those coming from working life. Individuals and employers who want to gain knowledge from individual courses will be admitted. This is an important group that will help integrate students from the graduate programme into working life as well as introduce individuals from working life to the FAS Centre, its facilities, faculty and students.


To be accepted as a doctoral student, general eligibility according to the rules of Karolinska Institutet will be applied. The application for admission should include a certificate of general eligibility for doctoral studies; and individual study plan; and a financial plan for the four years of study. The graduate school does not provide financial support for the doctoral students.

Doctoral students whose topic falls within the field of hearing disabilities in working life research are eligible to apply to the FAS Graduate School. The activities of the FAS Graduate School include courses, seminars, conferences and visits to other laboratories.

The graduate school provides an excellent forum for developing links between researchers, user organizations and industry. These links are vital for disseminating knowledge on hearing and deafness in settings where it can boost understanding for function and disability as well as development of technical aids.


Compulsory qualifications for all doctoral students basic general science

Basic general science qualifications for doctoral students at Karolinska Institutet must include certificated passes in a selection of the following subjects: theory of science; ethics; teaching/presentation techniques; bioinformatics; statistics; scientific writing; library skills; research grant application; GLP (Good laboratory practice); GCP (Good clinical practice). A minimum of 7.5 university credits must be earned from the above basic science courses, with no more than 4.5 university credits from any one subject. These credits must be obtained before the half-time control.

Specific courses

During the semesters courses open to national and international students will be given in the area of hearing disabilities research. The list below includes tentative courses, which could be initiated immediately using present faculty. Additional courses will be added to the curriculum as the FAS Centre develops. The interactions and feedback within the Research Forum (especially the input from the Reference Group) will be of great value when planning the continued course programme. A total of 30 ECTS are required.

  • Human biology or nosology, 3 university credits
  • Laboratory animal management, 4.5 university credits
  • Qualitative methods and interview techniques in hearing and communication research, 3.75 ECTS-credits
  • Communication techniques in rehabilitation, 4 ECTS-credits
  • Genetics of hearing and communication disorders, 3 ECTS credits
  • Speech and Hearing Physiology: from organ to cortex, 3 ECTS credits
  • Methods in Speech and Hearing Sciences, 4.5 ECTS credits
  • Hearing, speech, language and the brain, 3 ECTS credits
  • Methods for standardizing speech understanding and hearing loss risk in noisy environments, 3 ECTS credits
  • Methods for testing hearing and speech function, 4 ECTS credits
  • Epidemiology I: Introduction, 1.5 ECTS credits
  • Advanced epidemiology, 1.5 ECTS credits
  • Mental Health Promotion, 1.5 ECTS credits
  • Additional courses that can be offered

Yearly conference, 1 ECTS credits

Since interaction is an important aspect of the Graduate School the consortium will arrange a yearly conference. The invitation to the conference will include national and international students in the area of hearing and communication sciences and their supervisors. The cost will be partly covered with funds from the FAS Center to enable as many as possible to attend.

During the meeting, a keynote lecture by an internationally recognize scientist will be given each day and after that the students will be invited to present their work and also take part in a free discussion. In the late afternoons and evenings, workshops concentrating on different methodologies will take place. This framework for a conference has been successfully employed for the CKV network.

Internship, 4 ECTS credits

A mandatory part of the doctoral programme will be an internship at a work place. Each project will focus on the student's thesis project and will have a direct benefit for working life. Partial financial support will be obtained for the work place where the student will do their project work. The results from this project will be included in their thesis.

Participating research groups

  • Karolinska Institutet: Ann-Christin Johnson, Barbara Canlon, Björn Hagerman, Britta Hammarberg, Gunilla Henningsson, Maria Södersten, Ing-Mari Tallberg, Gunnel Backenroth-Ohsako, Elisabeth Ternevall Kjerulf, Malou Hultcrantz, Mats Ulfendahl, Anders Fridberger, Pontus Stierna, Mats Lekander, Stellan Hertegård, Per-Åke Lindestad, Riitta Ylitalo, Ulf Rosenhall, Johan Bergenius, Töres Theorell, Nancy Pedersen
  • Stockholm University: Francisco Lacerda, Ulla Sundberg
  • KTH: Arne Leijon, Ann-Marie Öster, Karl-Erik Spens
  • Örebro University: Erik Borg
  • Linköping University: Elisabeth Hultcrantz, Stefan Stenfelt
  • Göteborg University: Anders Eriksson, Kajsa Mia Holgers
  • Umeå University: Göran Laurell, Diana Berggren
  • Lunds University: Britta Sahlén


Travel grants

International congress attendance (with accepted own presentations) will be awarded to a select group of doctoral students within the Graduate Programme for Hearing Disabilities in Working Life. Travel, hotel, and congress fees will be supplied. Applications accepted at any time.

Grants for student exchange

We will also encourage student exchanges between different faculty groups to help advance interactions within this interdisciplinary area. Travel, hotel and costs for laboratory supplies will be afforded.

Steering group

The steering group will consist of the coordinator, Professor Barbara Canlon, Docent Ann-Christin Johnson, Professor Mats Ulfendahl, Professor Gunnel Backenroth-Ohsako, Docent Björn Hagerman, Professor Nancy Pedersen, Professor Ulf Rosenhall, Professor Töres Theorell.

These individuals are all members of the FAS Center for Hearing Disabilities. In addition, we will also have the Dean for Research Education at Karolinska Institutet and the Admissions Board on the steering group. One doctoral student representative will be selected from each participating university.

The mission of the steering group will be to generate a new generation of researchers and to assure the development of new methods for the assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and training and to transfer the results into society.


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