Doctoral students' education affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic

In mid-August, a questionnaire was sent out to 90 doctoral students at the University of Borås. Of the 58 per cent who responded, the vast majority reported that their doctoral education had been affected to some extent. It was not a given that everyone was affected negatively.

"Some people have not been able to collect data or have the access to labs that they needed, which is of course a negative. The current pandemic has caused worry among a majority of the doctoral students that responded with regards to concerns that the specified time for doctoral studies will not be sufficient. Some, however, have experienced a positive impact, when seminars and lectures have been held at a distance and thus taken less time. These doctoral students instead indicate that they have had more time for their doctoral studies," says Hanna Kantola, Research Education Coordinator.

Many experienced similar things, such as stress, loneliness, or less ergonomic workspaces when working from home. When the National Doctoral Committee of SFS, Sweden's national student union, conducted a similar survey at national level last spring, it showed similar results.

"Since the answers vary so much, there will be an individual assessment of each doctoral student. This will be done in connection with the annual follow-up of their individual study plan," says Hanna Kantola.

The responses have been analysed by the Directors of Studies and will be communicated to the Vice-Chancellor to look at possible additional effects such as costs and when possible extension of the study period may be considered. The results will be communicated to the doctoral students through their respective doctoral programmes.