Aim: The aim of this study is to describe the doctoral programs for PhD in nursing and caring sciences and compare them within the Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden). Design: The design is a review of selected doctoral programs in the Scandinavian countries. In Berlin in 2003, the Ministers in Europe decided to adopt a third cycle in the common educational system in the Bologna process, the doctoral education. Data sources: A review of educational programs in doctoral studies at different universities in Scandinavian countries is presented, namely Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden with an analysis of the programs and comparing them with general requirements for doctoral education in the different countries and the Bologna process requirements. Results: There are differences in length (3–4 years / 180 – 240 ECTS) which is in accordance with Bologna declaration that recommends 3–4 years for doctoral programs / third cycle. In addition the length of requirements for doctoral courses varies. A difficulty in deciding which scientific paradigm the programs support is discussed.Conclusion: Different structure may create problems for mobility. Possible lack of scientific paradigm in the programs may cause difficulties in building nursing as a discipline.

Keywords: caring sciences, nursing, PhD-program, review, third cyclus