Academic terms

During your studies at university, you may come across many words and concepts that may be alien to you. Here you will find most of them and what they mean.

Academic quarter

Akademisk kvart
"Academic quarter" means that if a lecture according to the schedule begins at 8 am, then it starts at 8.15. However, if it says 8:00 then that is when it starts. At the Swedish Defence University, this tradition is not applied.


Precision and accuracy in a scientific and academic context.


Former student at the university. The word comes from Latin and means disciple, protégé or pupil, but has in its current meaning been borrowed into Swedish from American English.


Give reasons or evidence for or against the correctness of a particular claim or a certain opinion.

Doctoral thesis

The thesis is the most important part of a third cycle education, which is largely devoted to conducting research under supervision. The thesis is a scientific work in which the doctoral student describes his or her research field and research results. The thesis is presented and defended at a licentiate review or a public defence of the doctoral thesis.


Point out the value or importance of something where positive, negative and contentious aspects are taken into account.


After completing each course, you get a grade. For most courses at the Swedish Defence University, a three-grade scale is used. The scale used for a particular course is in the course syllabus.

The Swedish Board of Student Finance (CSN)

Centrala studiestödsnämnden (CSN)
The authority that administers Swedish student aid, i.e. loans and grants for studies.

Diploma Supplement

Diploma Supplement
The Diploma Supplement is a document (in English) that is attached to all diplomas. The document describes where in the Swedish education system your education belongs with regard, among other things, to scope and prior knowledge requirements

Disciplinary board

All universities and university colleges have a disciplinary board that handles disciplinary matters. The university may take disciplinary action against students who cheat, disrupt activities or expose someone to certain forms of harassment. The disciplinary measures are warning and suspension.

Public defence of doctoral thesis

The occasion when the doctoral student presents and defends his or her doctoral thesis. An examining committee assesses the performance and thesis of the doctoral student and gives a pass or fail grade.

Doctoral student/PhD student

Person admitted to third-cycle education. A doctoral student is the same as a research student.


ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) is a system for recalculating study performance between different countries' systems. ECTS credits are based on the workload required to achieve expected study results. At Swedish universities and university colleges, 1 högskolepoäng corresponds to 1 ECTS credit.


A text in which a person tries to sort out their thoughts and knowledge in a subject or from a question.


The proof that you have completed your education.

A general qualification is proof that a student has taken the credits required and meets the goals applicable to each qualification. The general qualifications are Higher education diploma, Degree of Bachelor and Degree of Master. What is required for the general qualifications is set out in an appendix to the Higher Education Ordinance.
A bachelor’s degree corresponds to three years of full-time study (180 credits) at first cycle. The two types of master's degree correspond to one year of full-time studies (60 credits) at second cycle or two years of full-time studies (120 credits) at second cycle.

The Swedish Defence University also issues a Degree of Bachelor of Science in Military Studies, which is a professional qualification. For this there are specific objectives set out in the Swedish Defence University's own regulations.

In third cycle education there is both a licentiate degree and a degree of doctor in most subjects. A degree of licentiate comprises 120 credits, of which at least 60 are to be devoted to thesis work. A degree of doctor comprises 240 credits, of which at least 120 are to be devoted to thesis work. A degree of doctor is the highest academic degree.

Summative assessment

Summative assessment means you show that you have the knowledge that the course should lead to. The examiner determines a grade based on the form(s) of examination specified in the course syllabus. There are many different forms of examination, such as written examination, home examination, oral examination, mandatory attendance, PM, academic paper, laboratory sessions, seminars, cross-group presentations and practice.


The teacher responsible for ensuring that the course's content and level follow the established course syllabus. The examiner also sets grade criteria and is responsible for assessing student performance.


The classic form of university education. Takes place in larger groups, sometimes of several hundred students. At a lecture, the teacher takes up important elements in the course section that is under consideration and comments on and complements the course literature.


Teachers or researchers who provide continuous support in connection with, for example, degree projects/independent work or third cycle education. The supervisor shall act as a sounding board and help you develop your academic, critical and independent abilities. The supervisor can also provide feedback on your texts.

Main subject (main field of study)

The subject you are taking most credits in. At the Swedish Defence University there are a number of main fields of study, corresponding to the subjects you can graduate in. In order for you to graduate, a certain number of credits are required within the main field of study: 90 credits for bachelor's degrees, 30 credits or 60 credits for master's degrees, in addition to the bachelor’s degree.


Högskolepoäng (hp)
University studies are stated in a points system, where 60 credits correspond to full-time studies for one year. Credits can be given by state universities and university colleges as well as by individual education providers that have been authorised by the government to issue degrees.


Department at the university or university college that works on teaching and research in one area or several related areas.


A course can be part of a degree programme or it can be taken on its own. Most courses comprise between 7.5 and 30 credits.

Kursplan Course syllabus

The course syllabus is a document describing, among other things, the scope of the course (indicated in credits), goals, main content and how the qualification is arrived at.

Students' Union

An association of students who work on study monitoring and leisure activities.

LADOK (student registry)

Study documentation system that is used at Swedish universities and university colleges. All data on what courses you have taken, what credits you have taken and what courses/programmes you are registered on can be found in Ladok. Through the student web you can see what data is registered about you. You can also report here if you change your address. The information in Ladok is public.

Assistant Professor

Teacher who has undergone first, second and third cycle education. Usually conducts research in some special area.

Compulsory elements

Obligatoriskt moment
A compulsory element is something you must complete in order to pass a course. What is compulsory is evident from the course syllabus.

Public examination

A seminar where an academic paper or degree work is reviewed before grading occurs.

Support for students with disability

Pedagogiskt stöd vid funktionsnedsättning
Students with disabilities can apply for support in performing the studies.


Plagiarism is if you use other people's work or texts in a way that makes it seem as if it is your own. Plagiarism is always wrong. If it is done in order to mislead during tests or similar, it is considered cheating and may result in disciplinary action.

PM (pro memorandum)

Written paper to be submitted before a specific date.


Teacher with third cycle education who has worked for a considerable period and researched in an area. Often leads a research activity.


A form of teaching based on the students being active and discussing with the teacher/supervisor and with each other.

Student counsellor

A student counsellor gives students guidance and support in the studies.


Tentamen (tenta)
Examination of a course. A (usually) written test that is almost always given at the end of a course where you shall show that you have understood the course.

Programme syllabus

Every degree programme shall also have a programme syllabus. The programme syllabus states, among other things, the goals and content of the programme and the qualification(s) it leads to. The programme syllabus is set by the programme board that is responsible for the programme.