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Become a researcher

Are you a curious person who’s driven to learn and know more? Do you thrive in the university environment? PhD studies give you the opportunity to ask questions, find answers and start to understand a subject to its core. Choose doctoral studies at Stockholm University and be part of the future in your field.

Stockholm University is a leading research university that conducts basic independent research and applied research in the human and natural sciences. Our research produces internationally recognised scientific breakthroughs.

Doctoral studies take four years and result in a PhD, the highest academic degree in Sweden. There is also a two-year research study program which ends in a degree of licentiate.

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.

Marianne Dehasque i skyddskläder undersöker DNA-prover.
Marianne Dehasque, PhD student at the Department of Zoology. Photo: Jens Olof Lasthein

Doctoral studies give you competence in independently conducting research, a deep understanding of the subject area, and the ability to communicate knowledge and create the conditions for teaching others.

More about PhD studies at Stockholm University


Tips for becoming a researcher

The Swedish Council for Higher Education has written a guide to doctoral studies.

About third-cycle education

Doktorhandbook (in Swedish)

It has information on the rights, responsibilities and conditions of doctoral studies. It also has practical tips and advice.

Here is a collection of films on new research at Stockholm University

Here is information on the guidelines for research and doctoral studies at Stockholm University:

Governing Documents – Rules & Regulations


Research at our four faculties

Here is a short description of the research done by our four faculties – natural sciences, law, humanities and social sciences. For more information, visit their websites:

Faculty of Natural Sciences

Faculty of Humanities

Faculty of Law

Faculty of Social Sciences


Research at the Faculty of Natural Sciences

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

Doctoral studies are offered by each section in a number of different fields.

Here is an up-to-date list of the subjects with links to more information, contact people, and study plans.

Two quick questions

for Lars-Johan Norrby, associate professor and former university lecturer in chemistry

What is the best part about researching in the natural sciences, specifically chemistry in your case?
“The most fun and exciting thing is to find out something about a material that was previously undiscovered or unexplained.”

Can you give an example of how society has gotten better because of chemistry research?
“Of course you have to mention the development of pharmaceuticals and vaccines. But another area where chemistry has been fundamental is in developing new types of batteries for cars and other vehicles, environmentally friendly lubricants, nanotechnology for computing and other engineering applications. Chemistry research is behind a lot of socially useful applications. The demand for new, young researchers is only going to grow! Get your PhD in chemistry!”


Research at the Faculty of Humanities

Subjects in the humanities include philosophy, history, art and literary studies, journalism, linguistics, East Asian languages and cultures, and Swedish as a second language for the deaf.

The faculty has high ambitions to cut across disciplinary boundaries, as shown by the example of the Medieval Seminar which attracts researchers from history, art studies, classical and Nordic languages, archaeology and cultural geography, for example. Other interdisciplinary include the Centre for Gender Studies and the Centre for Fashion Studies. Prominent research fields in the faculty include feminist film theory, modern socio-political history, the Swedish and international history of ideas, modernism in poetry, postcolonial literature and European philosophy of the 1900s.   

Many of the humanities’ research groups are at the leading edge of research. Thirty of the university’s research areas have been named as nationally leading and in high regard internationally. In the humanities, eight research areas have been selected:

  • Bilingualism and second language acquisition
  • Archaeology 
  • Film studies
  • Philosophy
  • Global media and communications politics
  • History
  • Literature
  • Romance languages
Studenten Fredrik Jansson och doktoranden Jack Dury under utgrävning.
Archeological excavation at Birka. Student Fredrik Jansson and PhD student Jack Dury. Photo: Roland Fredriksson



Research at the Faculty of Law

The Faculty of Law conducts research that is nationally leading and highly respected internationally. The innovative and socially relevant research is characterised by academic freedom: free choice of research topics, free development of methodology and free to be published.

Research at the law faculty is both broad and specialised. Breadth ensures a sustainable research environment and provides a knowledge base for education. Specialisation creates new knowledge and insights – a basis for ensuring a leading national and respectied international position in a time when society is in flux.

Doctoral study plans in jurisprudence include the following specialisations:

  • General jurisprudence
  • Civil law
  • European law
  • Financial law
  • Public international law
  • Private international law
  • Environmental law
  • Public rights
  • Procedural law
  • Legal history
  • Forensic informatics
  • Criminal law

Research at the Faculty of Social Sciences

Stockholm University has Sweden’s largest social science faculty. The faculty conducts high quality research within different disciplines and multidisciplinary fields. A strong connection between research and real-world societal challenges means that researchers have an impact on the wider world.

Creating a sustainable, long-sighted research environment that values both breadth and depth means taking into account each field’s own methodology, approaches to qualitative and quantitative research, and unique traditions.

The format for doctoral studies in the social sciences varies by subject. In some, dissertation work is done mostly independently, and others use more of a research-group model. The study plans also varied: some feature more structured, unified study plans while others are more flexible.

The Faculty of Social Sciences has fifteen departments with full educational programs and research and an additional seven research institutes.

Each department with doctoral studies has a set deadline for applications. If there is funding, the departments announce their open positions in connection with these dates. For more information on application deadlines and the availability of funding, check the respective department’s website or Open positions.

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