Become a researcher

Are you a curious person who is driven by learning and knowing more? Do you thrive in the academic environment? Doctoral studies provide a unique opportunity to pause for reflection, ask questions, find answers and try to understand a topic in depth.

PhD Student in the olfactory lab. Photo: Roland Fredriksson/Stockholms universitet.

How PhD studies are structured

If you have completed a Master’s (second-cycle) degree and meet specific entry requirements (see programme syllabus), you can apply to a doctoral study programme. The programme usually involves four years of full-time study. At the end of the programme, you will be awarded a doctoral degree.

Doctoral studies comprise 240 credits, divided between a course component (90 credits) and a thesis (150 credits). The studies incorporate both fundamental and demanding knowledge acquisition based on independent study and participation in seminars and courses. You receive academic supervision during your time as a doctoral student.

The thesis is an academic project that eventually undergoes a public defence. Before the thesis is defended, it is nailed to a special board on our premises in Albano to notify people of the date of the defence (and electronically via the DiVA publication portal).

The dissertation process involves two and a half years of full-time studies and is the most important and decisive element of your doctoral studies.

More information

PhD studies in psychology


Meet Head of PhD Studies Mats Nilsson

Mats Nilsson
Professor Mats Nilsson, Head of PhD Studies

— I had previously studied philosophy and the history of religion – but psychology was the subject where I felt most at home, working with data I have collected myself! I still can’t think of anything else more exciting worth pursuing! says Mats Nilsson, Head of PhD Studies.

— Psychology as a subject presents major challenges. How do you measure experiences, memories, thoughts, feelings, values? How do you interpret the link between physiological and mental phenomena – to what extent is it cause and effect? What is specific to an individual, what is common to all, and how do we tell the difference? Just because people respond differently to the same question does not necessarily mean they are unalike, perhaps they simply interpreted the question differently.

— As a PhD student, you will soon be left to wrestle with these questions – regardless of your chosen field of psychology.

— I remember how captivating it was as a PhD student, entering into a world where all questions – even the seemingly simple ones – always led to complex yet fascinating questions of measurements, causality, scientific approach and – of course – the eternal question about the link between body and soul.


Meet our PhD Students

Andreas Gerhardsson was a master's student working as a research assistant and, inspired by the subject and the project leader, he applied for an open PhD position.

Alexander Miloff came all the way from Canada to study for a PhD in Psychology at Stockholm University and Alicia Ohlsson was a so called Employed PhD Student, working at the Swedish Defense University while getting academic supervision for her thesis at the Department of Psychology.

Meet Andreas Gerhardsson, PhD Student

Meet Alexander Miloff, PhD

Meet Alicia Ohlsson, PhD



If you have questions about the PhD Studies you can turn to our Student Administration or Head of PhD Studies. See below for contact details.

If you are looking for an interesting PhD Student position at our department, please refer to the Stockholm University page with PhD Student Positions.

PhD Student Positions at Stockholm University

Student Office - PhD level
Head of PhD Studies
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