More than one hundred teachers are engaged full-time in teaching and research at the Department of Law. As a doctoral candidate at our department, you will therefore be part of a dynamic and international research environment.
Doctoral studies in law consist of four years of full-time studies, leading to a Doctor of Laws Degree (LL.D.). Most time is devoted to the writing of a thesis, but doctoral students are also expected to study some obligatory courses and hold mandatory seminars. Depending on the type of employment, other department duties, such as teaching, may be required as well.
Doctoral studies are intended to educate new researchers in order to enable them to conduct independent research in academic institutions and elsewhere. As a doctoral candidate, you will advance into an independent researcher, while you develop your critical and analytical stance and are educated in the scientific traditions. By improving your theoretical proficiency and methodological skills, you will learn how to ask questions, reason, structure, analyse and reflect over your thesis topic.
Doctoral Studies in Legal Science
Legal science is the scientific study of legal and judiciary systems and involves the process of analysing and systematising the law, as well as making contributions to its development. Legal Science also examines the origins and developments of the law, its philosophical aspects, as well as the relationship between legal systems and other societal phenomena.
Research areas at the faculty
The Faculty of Law enjoys a leading position in Sweden and international prominence in Child Law, Intellectual Property Law, Commercial Law, Law and Information Technology and Penal Law, but virtually all fields of law are represented:
- Private Law (General Private Law, Labour Law, Law of Associations, Family/Child Law, Land Law, Insurance Law, Intellectual Property Law, Marketing Law, Maritime Law)
- European Integration Law
- Financial Law
- Public International Law
- Private International and Procedural Law
- Environmental Law
- Public Law
- Procedural Law
- History of Law
- Law and Information Technology
- Criminal Law
Doctoral studies pertain to a Degree of Doctor (PhD) of Legal Science or a Degree of Licentiate of Legal Science. The programme consists of 240 higher education credits (credits) for a doctoral degree and 120 credits for a licentiate degree.
Your duties as doctoral student at SULaw
As a doctoral student at SULaw, you are expected to:
- Write a thesis, normally in the form of a monograph that should not exceed 300 pages
- Participate in the mandatory welcome day (applies only to newly admitted doctoral students)
- Participate in the Faculty of Law's annual research day
- Present your dissertation at three mandatory seminars
- Participate in four method courses - two compulsory and two electives - of 7.5 credits each (a total of 30 credits)
- Submit an individual study plan each year
- Submit documentation for activity and financing information periodically, and inform about any changes.
Some doctoral students, depending on their type of employment (see below “Terms of employment”), may also have to:
- Perform some form of departmental service
- Submit a report of their teaching obligation twice a year.
Admissions to the doctoral programme take place once a year. Applications must be submitted during the admission period, between 1 February and 1 March.
If 1 March is a Saturday or a public holiday, the closest following business day is applicable. Thereafter, the application is processed by the Research Committee that decides on admission. Information about approvals will be announced at the latest by the end of June. The programme starts on 1 September.
The Research Committee accepts as many candidates as can be employed as doctoral students at the Department of Law. The number of employed doctoral students varies according to the budget situation. Candidates who hold sufficiently high standard but are not offered a doctoral employment can nonetheless be accepted to the LL.D program on the condition that the candidate secures suitable external funding and submits it to the head of department, who will need to approve it. The candidate has until the next admission period to confirm that an acceptable external financing exists. The project description must be identical to that which was submitted in March.
In connection to the admission to doctoral studies, the Department Board appoints a main supervisor with the scientific competence corresponding to that of an associate professor, as well as a co-supervisor with the relevant competence. One of the supervisors must be an employee of the Faculty unless special circumstances lead the Research Committee to decide otherwise. If for some reason, the supervisor cannot perform the supervisory duties, the Research Committee shall, if possible, appoint a successor. If it is impossible to find a successor within the Faculty, an external supervisor can be appointed.
Below is some important information about the formal requirements to apply for doctoral studies, as well as practical guidance on how to prepare your application.
Please note that the entry requirements must be met by the deadline for applications.
General entry requirements
In order to meet the general entry requirements to doctoral studies, the applicant must have completed a university degree with completed courses equivalent to at least 240 university credits, of which 60 credits must be at an advanced level, or otherwise have acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or elsewhere.
Specific entry requirements
The specific entry requirement is a completed juris kandidat/juristexamen (masters of laws) degree or the equivalent. Eligibility can also be granted to applicants who, through professional experience or other training, are deemed to have acquired competence equivalent to that necessary to conduct studies at the post-graduate level, both in terms of academic skills as well as legal knowledge relevant to the research area.
A successful applicant is also to have very high command of Swedish and good knowledge of English, or alternatively, very high command of English.
Candidates with foreign diplomas should ensure that they meet the requirement for special eligibility. In order to satisfy the special entry requirements, students may have to pass exams in subjects selected by the prospective supervisor and the Research Committee.
How to apply
Apply for the PhD student position through Stockholm University's recruitment system.
For correct consideration, it is important that your application is complete, and that the documentation contains correct and relevant information. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.
The following documents must be included in the application:
- The form Application for Admission to Doctoral studies (220 Kb) . Please state "Law science with specialization in either of these areas; Criminal Law, Environmental Law, EU Law, Financial Law, History of Law, Jurisprudence, Law of Information and Technology, Private International and Procedural Law, Private Law, Procedural Law, Public Law or Public International Law in the box for "Subject".
- Cover letter
- CV – degrees and other completed courses, work experience and a list of degree projects/theses
- Research proposal describing the intended project – including research question, theoretical framework, method and material, how the project is intended to be conducted and a literature review that indicates the scientific added value of the intended project
- Degree certificates and grades confirming that you meet the general and specific entry requirements (no more than 6 files)
- Letters of Recommendation (no more than 6 files)
- Degree projects/theses (no more than 6 files)
The selection among eligible candidates is based on their deemed capacity to carry out studies at doctoral level. This is assessed on the basis of the following criteria, as stipulated by the Faculty of Law:
- the applicant's general competence,
- the doctoral research proposal, and
- the viability of the proposal.
When assessing the qualifications of the applicant, the Research Committee reviews previous studies and grades (including the quality of the individual work, the ability to express oneself orally and in writing, the applicant´s documented knowledge of their subject proposal), references, relevant experience (professional and other), interviews, and finally the applicant’s written motivation of their research proposal.
In the assessment of the applicant's academic performance, particular attention is paid to their written work and whether it demonstrates an ability to present and develop an argument in a clear and logical fashion, as well as an ability to carry out independent critical thinking and analysis. Creativity, self-initiative and independence as well as work capacity are also taken into account.
For details information about the specific assessment of the research proposal, see below.
When considering applications, the Research Committee attaches substantial weight to the research proposal that the candidates submit with their application. Candidates should therefore pay particular attention to how they formulate their research questions.
The proposal should be written in Swedish or English and shall not be longer than 5-10 pages of typewritten text. It shall not contain any bibliography and yhe number of footnotes shall be kept to a minimum.
The applicant is expected to be able to fit their proposal into the research tradition. Thus, the proposal should show how the project relates to earlier research. In this connection, it should be set out how urgent the project may be assumed to be, and in what way the project can be assumed to contribute to the advancement of knowledge.
It is worth noting that a research proposal in law may incorporate different perspectives, depending on the research issue. The perspective taken is related to the method to be used in the study. The approach in scholarly works on legal matters may take the perspective (the list is not exclusive) of:
- Legal Dogmatics
- Law and Sociology
- Law and Economy
- Law and Philosophy
- Transdisciplinary considerations
- Legal comparisons
There is no template for how the research proposal should be presented, since the proposal itself will indicate the applicants’ ability to formulate legal presentations of problems.
The Research Committee bases its assessments of the proposal on the following general criteria:
- its originality, incl. its theoretical framework as well as its relevance in relation to previous research,
- the clarity of the methodology in relation to the research issues,
- its contribution to expanding relevant knowledge in the field, and
- its feasibility.
Another relevant aspect for the assessment of research proposal is the extent to which applicants have succeeded in limiting their research proposal to a specific area of investigation. In this context, a number of issues are important, including the following:
- Whether the research issues belong to the field of jurisprudence, in the sense that a legal approach to such issues provides a coherent framework for research.
- Whether the scope of the proposal is appropriately limited, so that the proposed research can be completed within four years of LL.D. studies.
- Whether the framework of the proposed research is set out as clearly and concisely as possible. This need not involve a totally exhaustive discussion of all aspects of the proposed research, however, as some aspects of research may be adjusted and amended as the candidates’ LL.D. studies progress.
Terms of employment
In accordance with the Higher Education Ordinance (ch. 5 §7), appointment to a doctoral studentship shall apply for an indefinite period, however no longer than until a specified date and never for a period extending more than one year after the award of a PhD. At most, a person may be employed as a doctoral student for five years. Any renewal of the employment takes place with a maximum of two years at a time.
More about the length of employment
The employment may be extended for a maximum of two years at a time. However, the total period of employment may not exceed the equivalent of four years of full-time study. Exceptions may be granted in circumstances such as leave due to illness, parental leave, for service in the total defense or for positions of trust within student and trade union organizations.
For questions about the employment, contact Ida Söderberg Tah.
Salaries are regulated by a local collective agreement for Stockholm University (Villkorsavtal-SU - in Swedish only) in accordance with the Agreement on General Salary and Benefits (Allmänna löne- och förmånsavtalet). Salary trend is based on the proportion of the requirements for the doctoral degree that has been achieved during the employment period and follows a scale (doktorandstege) specified in the collective agreement (Chapter 3).
The Department of Law has internal guidelines for the application of that scale, namely that doctoral students receive a salary supplement of SEK 2,000 from step 2 onwards. This applies to those studying full time. If a doctoral student teaches e.g. 20%, this amount is reduced accordingly.
Doctoral students should primarily devote themselves to their own education, but may engage in departmental duties such as teaching, examination, essay supervision and general administration. Doctoral students with a five-year employment are also expected to fulfill a teaching obligation, where 20% of their time must be devoted to some form of departmental duty.
SULaw’s needs govern the form of departmental duty to be undertaken, but doctoral students will decide how the work should be set up together with their supervisor. The certificate of employment will state the exact distribution in percent between research and teaching/administration.
Teaching and pedagogy courses for doctoral students
According to the Rules for education and examination at postgraduate level (Regler för utbildning och examination på forskarnivå, in Swedish only), doctoral students teaching at undergraduate and advanced level must have previously completed a course in pedagogy and teaching within higher education or have otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge. The course Professional development 1 (Universitetslärarutbildning 1, or UL 1 in Swedish), given at the Center for the Advancement of University Teaching (CeUL), is recommended as corresponding education.
In addition to the dissertation, it is mandatory to study method courses of 30 credits. Beginning in the autumn 2015, Juridicum has offered two obligatory and four optional method courses of 7.5 credits each. The mandatory courses are given each autumn term and the optional according to a rolling schedule (see below). Four of the courses (including the two obligatory) are in English and two in Swedish.
- HT21: Philosophy of Social Science, 7,5 credits
Course manager: Torben Spaak
- HT21: Fundamental Concepts in Law, 7,5 credits
Course manager: Mauro Zamboni
- VT22: Sociological and Empirical Methods in Jurisprudence, 7,5 hp.
(Sociologiska och empiriska metoder inom rättsvetenskapen)
Course manager: Mark Klamberg
- VT22: Law and Legal Research beyond the Nation State, 7,5 hp
Kursansvarig: Pål Wrange
- VT21: Global Legal Research and Information Management: Legal Scholars and New Technologies (GRiM), 7,5 hp
Kursansvarig: Liane Colonna
- VT21: Strategy, creativity and research ethics, 7,5 hp.
(Strategi, kreativitet och forskningsetik)
Course manager: Frantzeska Papadopoulou
Registration for the fall courses (fall 2021)
15 May to 5 August
Registration for the spring courses (spring 2022)
October 15 - December 15
Please contact Valentina Barrios (DoctoralCourses@juridicum.su.se) if you want to study any of these courses.
Do you still wonder about some aspects of Doctoral Studies at the Faculty of Law? Check our FAQ!
Last updated: January 10, 2022
Source: Department of Law