The studies of students accepted to the programme are fully financed by the Department (external financing by e.g. a research institute is also possible). Only Ph.D. students that are fully financed by either the department or a research institute or the like can be accepted to the programme.

Aim of the programme

The aim of the doctoral programme in political science is to give the student specialised knowledge within the subject field, a thorough training in research methods and a good understanding of the problems occurring in the research and the practical application.

The programme should familiarise the student with different structures of society and ideas, and give a broad orientation of the research development within the subject, with the purpose of making the student a critical and independent researcher with the ability to plan and develop scientific reports. Furthermore, the aim of the program is to make the student suited, in the capacity of a researcher, teacher and expert, to complete such tasks in society where sound knowledge of political science is of value.

Description of the programme

The Swedish doctoral programme, similar to the US Ph.D. system, is designed to take four years of full-time study. In terms of the Swedish university credit system, the program comprises 240 credits (1.5 credit = 1 week of study, 30 credits = 1 term of full-time study).

There are two main blocs in the programme: course work (75 credits, of which some courses are obligatory and some are selected in consultation with the supervisor) and work in connection with the Ph.D. dissertation, including research, writing and seminars (165 credits). The dissertation is either a mongraph or a compilation thesis. Read more about the dissertation work.

Read more about the education here,  Implementation regulations (326 Kb) and  General Syllabus for PhD Studies (191 Kb) . Note that the application deadline spring 2017 is February 7.

Language of instruction

The courses and seminars within the doctoral programme at the Department of Political Science are generally given in Swedish and/or English. Even though proficiency in Swedish is not a formal requirement for admission, it is very helpful for effective participation in the courses.


All Ph.D. students are entitled to 48 months of research training funding within the programme. There are different forms of funding (such as scholarships or an appointment as a doctoral student).

For more information, see the handbook for doctoral students.


General eligibility requirements

In order to fulfill the general eligibility requirements for admission to the graduate programme the applicant must have completed an academic degree at advanced level, completed courses equivalent to 240 Swedish university credits (of which at least 60 credits at advanced level), or have acquired the equivalent knowledge in another way in Sweden or elsewhere. There are some regulations regarding transition.

Regulations for transition

An applicant who has fulfilled the general requirements for admission to the graduate programme by 1 July 2007 should even after this date be considered to have fulfilled the general requirements for admission, however only up to 31 June 2015. In this case, an applicant who has completed undergraduate studies of at least 120 “old” Swedish university credits, or has acquired the equivalent knowledge in another way in Sweden or elsewhere, has fulfilled the general eligibility requirements for admission to the graduate programme.

Special eligibility requirements

In order to fulfill the special eligibility requirements for admission to the graduate programme the applicant must fulfill four conditions:

  1. completed higher education equivalent to 150 Swedish university credits, including studies at advanced level (master’s level) of at least 60 Swedish university credits in the political science subject, or the equivalent education,
  2. a completed written academic, independent work with a least the grade ’pass’, equivalent to at least 15 Swedish university credits in the political science subject,
  3. completed additional 90 Swedish university credits, or the equivalent, of higher education in subjects relevant to the graduate programme, and
  4. proficiency in English corresponding to at least 550 credits on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). (Not for students who have completed their education at a Swedish university, where English proficiency is a general eligibility requirement.)

More information can be found in the section Application.

Selection of applicants

The competition for admittance to the Ph.D. programme is usually hard; normally more than 100 applicants compete for two to four positions. Only complete applications will be considered. In a first step, it is judged whether the applicant fulfills the formal requirements for admission. Thereafter a selection between those applicants that fulfill the requirements is made. This selection is made by a committee consisting of a number of the Department’s professors. The judgment is based on the quality of the submitted academic papers (master theses or academic publications) and on the quality of the research plan. Please note that we can normally only judge works in English, Swedish, Danish and Norwegian.

Swedish universities stress training undergraduates to solve research problems independently. Swedish students who have completed 90 university credits (the advanced course) in political science have written two research papers. Considerable emphasis is put on the applicant's ability to conduct independent research. For this reason, applicants are asked to submit copies of research or term papers. The general rule is that an applicant who does not have any previous research experience is not considered eligible for admission to the graduate programme, regardless of other merits.

The selection criteria are the following:

1) The quality of previous written works:

  • empirical substance,
  • independency in structure and analysis,
  • clear research design, i.e. a clear research problem, clear questions, well motivated limitations, explicit theoretical connection and methodological awareness.

2) Prognosis for the dissertation being completed in the intended time:

  • previously demonstrated ability to finish a work in time for the deadline,
  • presentation of the research problem and stringency in the research plan.

Applicants with external financing do not compete with students who apply for graduate studies financed by the Department. The same eligibility requirements hold for both categories of applicants. The same admission committee evaluates all applications. The quality of the submitted academic works is judged, as well as the students’ ability to finish the graduate studies within the given period of time.

Application administrator

Aline Österlind
Contact information

Director of graduate studies

Hans Agné
Contact information


• Careers and employment

• Handbook for postgraduate students

• Handbook for visting researchers and research students