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How to become a Doctoral student

To be admitted to Doctoral Studies, you must be simultaneously employed as a doctoral student. This means that you must apply for and obtain a vacant position to become admitted. Other ways of financing your Doctoral Studies may be accepted only if special reasons are found.

 


 

Go straight to the section on: 

General entry requirements
Specific entry requirements
Study financing
Admission process
Notification of vacancies
Application
Selection
Admission decision


General entry requirements

Since July 1, 2007, the requirement for being admitted to Doctoral Studies is that the applicant fulfils the general entry requirements for research education and also the specific entry requirements prescribed by the faculty board for each individual subject, as well as being estimated to possess the general ability required to complete the education successfully (Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 7 section 35).

General entry requirements for third-cycle education are fulfilled by those who:

  • have successfully completed a degree at an advanced level,
  • have successfully completed course requirements comprising at least 240 higher education credits, including at least 60 credits at the advanced level, or
  • have otherwise within or outside the country obtained roughly equivalent knowledge.

If special reasons are found, the university may in some cases make exemption from the general entry requirements (Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 7 section 39).

This means that in Sweden a one-year Master's Degree ("Magisterexamen") is sufficient for meeting the general entry requirements for Doctoral Studies.

Specific entry requirements 

For admission the specific requirements established for each educational subject must also be met. In addition to the general entry requirements, the specific requirements relate to prior knowledge and other circumstances. They usually involve knowledge acquired within higher education but may also include specific professional experience. These requirements have to be conditional to ascertain that students are able to profit by the education. As the specific entry requirements differ from one subject to another, go to the general Study Plan for each subject for further information. Specific requirements are ratified by the faculty board by being included in the general Study Plan for each particular research education subject. 

Study financing

Applicants employed as doctoral students may be admitted to Doctoral Studies (see Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 7 section. 36). The faculty is responsible for securing study financing for those employed as doctoral students, applying throughout the study period up to and including the intended (licentiate or doctoral) degree, unless the Vice Chancellor decides to withdraw resources in agreement with the Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 6, section 30. The faculty may admit applicants who possess some other form of study financing if it assesses that it can be safeguarded throughout the education period and that the applicant can devote so much time to the education that it can be completed within four years for the licentiate degree and eight years for the doctoral degree (Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 7 section 36).

Students with another form of study financing than doctoral student employment may thus also be admitted to Doctoral Studies (Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 7 section 36). In most such cases the employment is financed by another employer than Malmö University. The faculty is responsible for making a thorough assessment of the durability of the study financing. The quality of applicants with other financing is assessed in the same way as for normal admission. When possible, the admission should take place simultaneously with the admissions made in connection with the notification of other vacancies. In cases where another employer than Malmö University is responsible for the financing, a contract is made that regulates the financial terms up to and including the intended degree. If, nevertheless, the study financing should cease, the faculty shall make every justified effort to find alternative study financing for the remaining study period, unless resources are withdrawn in accordance with the Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 7 section 30. 

Other forms of different financing than those mentioned above should be used with the greatest restriction, like self-financing. No admission of self-financed research students may take place if there are other applicants who are assessed as possessing a greater ability to complete the education.

Financing by scholarships from external financiers may occur in certain cases, but only when no other solutions are to be found. Scholarship financing should be used with great restriction. 

If these types of financing should cease, the faculty board should make every justifiable effort to find alternative study financing for the remaining study time, unless resources are withdrawn in accordance with (Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 6 section 30).

Admission process

Admission to Doctoral Studies shall take place in competition through an open and transparent process. Vacant Doctoral Student positions are published on the Malmö University homepage underJobs and Internships. The Dean decides on admission to Doctoral Studies and is responsible for preparing the process

Admissions are prepared as follows:

  1. The Doctoral Program Supervisor Board appoints experts who assess the applications and produce a suggested ranking of the applicants. 
  2. The Dean establishes the final ranking after preparation in the the Supervisor Board and Research and Doctoral Education Board. 
  3. The highest ranked applicant is contacted by the head of department. 
  4. If this person accepts, the Dean makes a decision on admission and employment. If the highest ranked applicant does not accept, the offer goes to the applicant ranked second.

No more research students than the number who can be offered supervision and other acceptable study terms may be admitted to Doctoral Studies. One person may supervise a maximum corresponding to six full-time Doctoral Students. Other acceptable study terms include that every Doctoral Student must be offered a work place, equipment and other resources to the extent required by the program. In connection with the admission, department duties are determined which may not exceed 20%. Department duties of 20% means that the study time is prolonged correspondingly.

Every applicant has to be informed about the admission decision. Within three months of the admission decision an individual study plan is to be made for each individual Doctoral Student, according to the Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 6 section  29. The study plan is signed by the Doctoral student, supervisors and examiner, is reviewed by the Supervisor Board and then ratified by the Director of doctoral studies. The individual study plan is revised annually in accordance with the procedure described above. 

Notification of vacancies

Swedish universities may only admit research students if they can guarantee the financing of their research studies. Normally, a doctoral employment with a certain direction, corresponding to four years' fulltime study for the doctoral degree and two years' fulltime study for the licentiate degree, is announced and financed by the university. Still, it is also possible to admit research students with another form of financing. Usually in such cases financing contracts and certificates are drawn up

Vacant educational positions must always be announced, on the university homepage and elsewhere, at least two weeks before the end of the application time. Exceptions may be made if the doctoral student is to undergo the education within the framework of an employment with another employer than Malmö University or at the admission of a doctoral student who has started Doctoral Studies previously at another university or if equivalent reasons are found (Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 7 sections 37 and 38). In single cases exemption can be made for study financing by external means. 

The notification procedure is initiated by the department head in consultation with the Supervisor Board. After this, the department head waits for the notification to be sanctioned by the dean. If the dean approves the recruitment, the Supervisor Board has the responsibility for drawing up an advertisement (an employment profile for the doctoral student). The proposed advertisement is prepared within the Supervisor Board before it is presented before the Research and Doctoral Education board for reviewing. After this, the dean decides on the announcement. 

Application

Application for admission is made on a special form.In connection with this, the applicant should be given the opportunity to receive advice and information by the Director Doctoral Studies and by the intended Supervisor or the Chair of the subject Supervisor Board.

Doctoral students who have been admitted to studies for the Licentiate degree and wish to continue to the Doctoral degree are offered to submit a new application.  

Selection

If the number of eligible applicants exceeds the number of vacancies, the selection shall be based on the applicants' ability to profit by the education. The fact that applicants are  assessed  to be credited for previous education or professional qualifications does not automatically give them precedence before other applicants in the selection process (Higher Education Ordinance Chapter 7 section 41) .

The selection forms part of the expert assessment described in the Admission Process section .

The equal opportunity aspect shall be considered by giving precendence to the underrepresented sex when conditions are otherwise equal, unless special reasons are found against this procedure.

 

Admission decision 

 Admission decisions are made by the Dean. Admission takes place twice a year February 1 and September 1.

Introduction of new doctoral students
Introduction of new doctoral students at Malmö University takes place twice a year, usually in February and September. In addition to the joint university introduction faculty introduction is arranged, where the doctoral students are informed about rules and conditions prevailing within each faculty. 

Last updated by Susanne Lundborg