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 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"


The Department of Physics PhD Council (in Swedish "Fysikums doktorandråd") is the assembly of all PhD students at the Department of Physics at Stockholm University. Its purpose is to represent the interests of the PhD students in the different committees, boards and councils within the department and the university. This page is mantained by the PhD Council representative.

The Department of Physics PhD Council webpage


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. Applications of change of roles or appointment of additional assistant supervisors should be made in writing to the subject responsible.

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 Mentor system at Fysikum

It has been decided that every PhD student at Fysikum should have a mentor.
A short description of the mentor system is given below.

Purpose of the mentor system:

  • Give each PhD student an independent senior discussion partner.
  • Meetings that give the opportunity to reflect over work environment, PhD studies and carrier.
  • The PhD student has opportunity to discuss urgent or reoccurring problems with a person that follows the development.

Procedure around the meeting between the mentor and the PhD student:

  • Meetings at least once each semester.
  • The meetings are confidential.

Responsibility of the PhD student:

  • Choose a mentor, a senior researcher, preferably from a different research division. A person you trust and can confide in.
  • A mentor has to be selected within 2 months of starting the PhD studies, and the director of postgraduate education should be informed.
  • It can be natural to change mentor during the postgraduate education, without having to feel that the mentor is insulted.
  • Invite to and prepare for the meeting with the mentor.

Responsibility of the mentor:

  • Agree  with the PhD student on suitable forms for the meeting.
  • The mentor will not contribute scientifically.
  • The mentor must independent from both supervisors and PhD student, and only in exception from the same research division or research environment.
  • The mentor should have a PhD degree and several years of working experience from universities or companies.
  • The mentor should show an interest in the development of the PhD student and engage discussions of questions or problems.
  • If there a problems in the work environment, the PhD student should be recommended to contact the work environment representatives or ombud for equal rights.
  • The mentor can also ask for permission to discuss certain matters with the head of the department, work environment representative och the director of postgraduate education.

Responsibility of the director of postgraduate education:

  • To perform a yearly anonymous survey asking mentors for us information about their general impressions of the situation for the PhD students, and of reoccurring or serious problems.
  • Assist those new students who find it difficult to identify a mentor with finding a suitable first mentor.
  • Report these impression to KUF and at the yearly meeting for supervisors.

The framework for doctoral education is given by the general syllabus for the subject. The education at this level is highly specific to the research programme conducted by the doctoral student. Therefore, each doctoral student must have an individual study plan (ISP). In connection with the annual revision of the study plan, the doctoral student has a development review.

Read more about Study plan for PhD students


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. The Science Faculty has issued a document with rules and recommendations regarding the content and organization of the PhD thesis, found here (in Swedish only so far). 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

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