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Doctoral studies

Start your academic career with us and make a difference

World-class research, outstanding research staff and specialised research environments at Lund University create excellent conditions for doctoral students.

As a doctoral student at Lund University, you will not only be well prepared for a successful career as an independent researcher, but you will also have the possibility to publish your work independently during your studies and to gain significant teaching experience.

  • Lund University offers doctoral education in all nine faculties
  • There are no tuition fees for doctoral education at Lund University
  • You apply directly to the relevant faculty/department when they advertise a doctoral position
  • Self-funded doctoral students should contact the department of their research interest directly.

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) or acquired equivalent knowledge in some other way.

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.

Admission rules for doctoral education at Lund University | 2022 (PDF 249 kB, new tab)

Applying for a doctoral (PhD) position

Doctoral education is organised at the faculty or department level. Application procedures and periods differ between faculties and departments. While some of them advertise their doctoral positions around the same time every year, mostly in spring, others advertise their positions on an ongoing basis.

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.

Any funded doctoral positions at Lund University are advertised on our vacancies page on this website (see link below). Select the category 'Doctoral students'.

Once you have found a position you are interested in, carefully read through the vacancy announcement to find out whether you meet the requirements.

Before you apply, we recommend that you also check the relevant faculty's or department's website for any additional information about the application process.

Should you have any questions about a specific position, please contact the contact person(s) listed in the vacancy announcement.

Find PhD vacancies

To apply for a doctoral position, you must create an account in the recruitment system Varbi.

Follow the instructions regarding application documents and procedure in the vacancy announcement.

The application documents that you submit through Varbi, including any supporting documents, are sent directly to the faculty or department that advertised the position. 

If you are self-funded through external scholarships or funding, you do not need to create an account in Varbi. You should instead make direct contact with the relevant faculty or department. 

Applying for a position

Employment as a doctoral student

As a general rule, a person admitted to doctoral studies at Lund University is employed through a doctoral studentship.

If you have a doctoral studentship, you are considered to be both a student and an employee with a salary during your doctoral studies. As an employed doctoral student, you are covered by local and central agreements concerning your terms of employment.

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

Lund University is responsible for education-related matters and the study environment regardless of how you finance your doctoral studies. All doctoral students also have access to the University’s Occupational Health Service.

Other forms of financing

It is possible to undertake your studies using another form of financing, such as an external scholarship or an agreement between Lund University and an external employer.

If you are admitted to doctoral studies and have a position with an employer other than Lund University, you are solely a student, and it is the employer who is responsible for employer-related matters.

As a doctoral student with a scholarship, you are solely a student. You are therefore not entitled to contractual employment benefits at Lund University.

In some cases, a doctoral student with a scholarship is entitled to apply for a doctoral studentship when three years remain of the third-cycle studies.

Doctoral studies – faculty information

On the faculties' webpages for prospective doctoral students you can get specific and detailed information application procedures, admission requirements for various subjects, study plans and more.

Residence permits (if applicable)

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 Agency.

Resi­dence permit for doctoral studies –

About doctoral studies

A doctoral programme consists of 240 ECTS credits and normally requires four years of full-time study. The programme concludes with a doctoral thesis of at least 120 credits.

A 'licentiate' degree is equivalent to half the coursework required for a full doctoral programme and a licentiate thesis of at least 60 credits. It is equivalent to the MPhil of the British education system.

The following links are to the Swedish Council for Higher Education website: