Doctoral studies at the Department of Physics

The doctoral education gives you opportunity to deepen your subject knowledge and to learn more about the scientific methodology – define problems, use analytical and experimental methods to find results which you then evaluate. You are a part of a research group in an environment with researchers and other doctoral students who encourage and help you.

Photo by Rakicevic Nenad from Pexels
Photo by Rakicevic Nenad from Pexels


After four years of undergraduate studies (240 credits in Sweden) it is possible to start doctoral studies in order to obtain a Licentiate degree after 2-3 years and, after fulfilling the requirements of that degree, continue towards a PhD exam after totally 4-5 years.

At the Department of Physics, there are four research subjects within the postgraduate program: Physics, Theoretical Physics, Chemical Physics and Medical Radiation Physics. Within these subjects there are several research divisions, with different research activities. The activities of the research divisions are described by their own home pages. However, the best way to learn more about the present research activities is to contact some of the group members. Do not hesitate to contact the Director of Postgraduate Studies to get more information before you apply for postgraduate studies.

Meet Sara, PhD student in chemical physics

Sara Boscolo Bibi

Sara Boscolo Bibi is from Venice, Italy. She is in her second year of her PhD studies at the Chemical Physics division at the Department of Physics.

The aim of Sara’s project is to understand the fundamental processes behind the CO2 reduction to hydrocarbons in presence of a metal catalyst.

"I like the friendly international environment"

In order to be admitted to the postgraduate programme, the applicant must satisfy the conditions for basic eligibility and the conditions for special eligibility, and have the skills as needed to complete their education.

Eligibility, application and admission

Once you have been admitted as a research student The PhD student Council can help you with different issues.

A condition for admission, in addition to possessing the required educational qualifications, is that the student will have sufficient economic support during the whole period of study, normally 4 years full time study. In most cases you will be employed as PhD student for your period of studies.

Study funding during postgraduate education


A supervision group consisting of two or more supervisors is appointed for each student in connection with admission at the Department of Physics. One is appointed as the main supervisor, the others as assistant supervisors.

A mentor is chosen by the student. The mentor should hold a PhD and not be involved in the same research project as the student. The doctoral student must choose a mentor, no later than two months after the start of the education and inform the director of studies about the choice. Selection of a new mentor can be made during the PhD programme. The mentor and the student meet when needed, but must meet at least once per semester. The doctoral student can turn to a mentor for advice and help in solving any problems with the supervision. In addition to being a support for the doctoral student on the way to the dissertation, the mentor has the task of reviewing and following up the study plan.

In each research division there is also a division responsible, who is the contact person in all issues concerning the division and its members.

The course requirement for a PhD is 60 ECTS credits. Courses on this level can look different. They can be "normal" courses at the advanced level or courses created by teachers in the Department of Physics research divisions which are tailored for PhD education. Periods of self-study with science texts or active participation in a summer school may also constitute a course. All planned courses should appear in your Individual study plan(ISP). Your supervisor decides on the value of a course, in terms of credits.

Courses for PhD students


All PhD students are expected to take an active part in seminars arranged by their own research group as well as those arranged within AlbaNova. Students should also give their own seminars.

Seminar on ethical questions

All PhD students must attend a seminar on ethical questions in science. The seminar is arranged by the mathematical-physics section of the science faculty once per semester. Invitations are emailed.


The Licentiate thesis should be based on research corresponding to at least 60 credits (out of 120 credits required for the degree). The PhD thesis corresponds to at least 180 credits (out of 240 credits required for the degree). The licentiate as well as the PhD thesis can be written as a monograph or it can comprise a collection of separate articles. In the latter case the thesis consists of a summary and referenced articles published in scientific magazines. More information on rules for dissertations can be found in the Handbook for Postgraduate Students from the Swedish Council for Higher Education (UHR).

Read more about the Licenciate degree
Read more about the PhD dissertation


Please contact the Director of Postgraduate Studies if you for exampel have questions regarding the development of programmes and courses or the assignment of teachers to the various courses or other general questions related to postgradate studies at the Department of Pysics.

Director of Postgraduate Studies

Search among our courses and programmes