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PhD studies at Stockholm University

Are you a curious person who’s driven to learn and know more? Do you thrive in the university environment? Then studying for a doctorate at Stockholm University might be for you.

Studying for a PhD gives you the opportunity to really dive into a subject, conduct independent research, and share your new research results and knowledge in a dissertation.

As a doctoral student, you are steeped in the scientific method. In short, you learn to think critically and analytically, choose the correct method to solve problems independently, and deepen your understanding of research ethics.


Doctoral studies lead to a PhD

Doctoral studies take four years and lead to a PhD, the highest academic degree in Sweden. The studies include courses and dissertation work, with the dissertation work spanning at least half of the time to degree. In some cases there is the possibility to receive a degree of licentiate, an academic degree that is approximately equivalent to a half-PhD.

PhD students receive advice and some guidance from their institutions, but the work is very demanding. In the end, PhD students are always responsible for their own studies and work.

Jorge Laraña Aragón, doktorand på Fysikum, testar flytande kväve med Yosef Azizi och Yahya Zakkour.
Jorge Laraña Aragón, PhD student at the Department of Physics, with Yosef Azizi (centre) och Yahya Zakkour (right) at Forskardagarna 2018. Photo: Niklas Björling

Helpful tips 

The section on doctoral studies at contains most of the information you will need on rights, responsibilities and conditions for a PhD student. It also has a lot of practical tips and advice.

The website of the Swedish Council for Higher Education has information on admittance to the PhD level and on transition rules for those who began their PhD studies before 1 July 2007.


Admittance to PhD studies

To be admitted to PhD studies, you need to meet the general entry requirements, the specific entry requirements, and have the ability to successfully complete your studies.

General entry requirements include a completed master’s degree from a Swedish university or at least 240 higher education credits including at least 60 at the master’s level, or the corresponding international equivalents.

PhD students are full employees at Stockholm University 

One thing that differentiates PhD programmes at Stockholm University and Sweden from those elsewhere is that our PhD students are treated like full employees of the university. PhD positions are posted alongside other jobs on our website and applications are made for specific positions. Doctoral students also receive salary and other standard benefits of employment. 

Higher Educational Ordinance 

PhD studies at Stockholm University are regulated by the Higher Educational Ordinance (1993:100). This ordinance contains decisions about public higher educational institutions. The Higher Education Ordinance is decided by the government and is subordinate to the Higher Education Act, which is decided by the parliament.

PhD studies at Stockholm University are also governed by local regulations.

Read more about admission to PhD studies in the University’s regulatory documents


Faculties at Stockholm University

Stockholm University has four faculties. You can read more about PhD admissions on the respective faculty’s website:

Faculty of Natural Sciences

Research at the Faculty of Natural Sciences covers many areas of knowledge, from subatomic particles to the boundaries of the universe. Many of the departments have made discoveries and breakthroughs which are known the world over.

Faculty of Science

Faculty of Humanities

High-quality research in the humanities covers a breadth of subject areas, and much of the research crosses disciplinary boundaries. Subjects include philosophy, history, art history, literature, journalism, linguistics and Swedish as a second language for the deaf, among many others.

Faculty of Humanities

Faculty of Law 

The Faculty of Law conducts research that is nationally leading and highly respected internationally. The scholarly work is characterised by freedom with discourse that is lively, open and ongoing.

Faculty of Law 

Faculty of Social Sciences

At the Faculty of Social Sciences, a number of different methodologies is used to investigate both established disciplines and multi-disciplinary fields. A strong connection between research and real-world societal challenges means that researchers have an impact on the wider world. 

Faculty of Social Science


Opportunities abroad for PhD students

There are several ways to participate in international mobility experiences during your PhD studies.

Find possible exchange opportunities for PhD students here


Publicly defending a doctoral thesis at Stockholm University

When the work on a dissertation is nearing an end, a decision is made in dialogue with those involved on when the public defence can take place. Arranging the public defence means arranging many practical details from a number of different offices at the university.

After the public defence

Once the public defence has been successful, it is time to apply for the PhD certificate, providing that the courses required for the PhD have all been completed.

Read about the how the doctoral award ceremony works for new PhDs



Available PhD Student Positions

On the employee web portal PhD students will find more detailed information about the dissertation defence process.

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