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PhD studies

World-class doctoral education opportunities
World-class research, outstanding research staff and specialised research environments create a breeding ground for doctoral education at Lund University.

Students with green lab coats in lab

Doctoral education (PhD) overview

Doctoral candidates at Lund University are not only well prepared for successful careers as independent researchers, but they also have strong possibilities to publish their work independently during their studies and to gain significant teaching experience.

  • Lund University offers doctoral education in all eight faculties.
  • There are no tuition fees for doctoral education at Lund University.
  • Doctoral education is organised at the department level.
  • You apply directly to the department when they advertise a doctoral position.
  • Self-funded candidates should contact the department of their research interest directly.

Doctoral programme and licentiate degree

A doctoral programme consists of two parts: courses and thesis, forming a total of 240 ECTS credits, in which the doctoral thesis is to account for at least 120 credits. A doctoral programme involves a total of four years of full-time study.

In Sweden a ‘licentiate’ degree equals the completion of half of the coursework, or thesis, required for a full doctoral programme, i.e. a licentiate degree corresponds to two years of full-time study and at least 60 credits have to be awarded for a licentiate thesis. It is equivalent to the MPhil of the British education system.

Funding and financing doctoral education

At Lund University, doctoral studentships are used as the primary form of funding for doctoral education, but use of external funding and scholarships is also permitted – i.e. scholarships established by an organisation other than Lund University. 

A doctoral studentship means that the University employs the doctoral candidate as a staff member and pays a salary whilst the candidate undertakes their doctoral studies.

In parallel to the doctoral education programme, the doctoral candidate may work with administrative and teaching duties (no more than 20% of a full-time position). 

Admission requirements

To be admitted to a doctoral programme, you need to have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits must be for Master’s level studies.

In most cases, students will hold a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree, with a major in the same subject as the intended postgraduate study. The major must include a degree thesis presenting the results of independent research.

The quality of your thesis/theses is of particular importance and it is important that you demonstrate a capacity for independent thinking in this piece of work.

Students must have a very good command of English and you may be asked to include proof of proficiency in the form of a TOEFL or IELTS test, if requested by the individual department.

Applying for a doctoral (PhD) position

Doctoral education is organised at the department level. The process for applying for doctoral positions is specific to each department. There is no set application period for doctoral positions. Some departments advertise their positions in spring, while others advertise on an ongoing basis, as and when positions arise.

You apply for a doctoral education position within a certain subject area. Admission to a doctoral education position is restricted and competition for advertised positions is usually tough.

Most of the departments advertise their doctoral positions on Lund University’s main website, through the doctoral job vacancy page

You should always check the relevant faculty or department’s website pages for any additional notices and specific forms and instructions about their application process.

For the majority of doctoral positions at Lund University, you apply online through our online job portal and complete the requirements as advertised for the specific vacancy and in line with the process described by the department. Application documents are sent directly to the department including officially certified copies of documents/certificates/transcripts and other supporting documents, as required for the specific position/particular department. Authorised translations are often needed. You may need to provide additional details of your academic background, e.g. syllabi, course descriptions and literature lists.

If you are self-funded through external scholarships or funding, you should make direct contact with the relevant department.

For additional information or clarification, please review the doctoral education application information on the faculty webpages or contact the relevant department to discuss opportunities for doctoral education and the procedure for applying.

Erasmus Mundus Scholarships

Lund University is a partner in several Erasmus Mundus Action 2 'lots'. If you are from an eligible country you can apply for a scholarship to come to Lund University. Scholarships are available to doctoral candidates and may cover living expenses.

Residence permits

If you require a residence permit, you can only complete your permit application after you receive a letter of acceptance from Lund University. Residence permit applications are dealt with by the Swedish Migration Board.

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