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PhD studies

World-class doctoral education opportunities

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

Researchers with safety glasses on looking at a laptop at MAX IV

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 nine 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 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.

Finding a suitable position

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

How to apply

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

Faculty information

The links below will take you directly to the faculties' webpages for prospective PhD students:

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 Agency.

Visit the Swedish Migration Agency website

Services for Lund University researchers

Read more about the service we offer to our researchers, and find links with more information about doctoral studies. 

Services for researchers