Doctoral programmes

Last changed: 14 February 2022

Is there a specific subject that you would like to study at a more advanced level? If so, you might want to consider a doctoral programme, or PhD programme.

What is a doctoral programme?

A doctoral programme is a four-year programme at third cycle level that concludes with the degree of doctor. There is also a shorter two-year, third-cycle programme that concludes with the degree of licentiate. A degree of licentiate requires 160 credits, at least 60 of which must be based on an academic paper. A degree of doctor requires 240 credits, at least 120 of which must be based on the doctoral thesis itself. A degree of doctor is the highest academic qualification in Sweden.

Before you can start a doctoral programme, you must have an academic qualification and meet specific entry requirements. Your studies must also be financed. The financial terms that doctoral students are subject to vary greatly. The most secure way to pursue doctoral studies is to be employed as a doctoral student, but there are other types of financing as well:

  • Doctoral grants
  • Other employment at the university
  • Gainful employment with a certain amount of time reserved for doctoral studies
  • Scholarships
  • Other external financing

If you are interested, you can find more information at the SLU website for doctoral studies and at

The road to a doctoral studentship

Apply for your doctoral studentship directly to the department where you want to study. If there is more than one qualified applicant for a studentship, they are ranked on the basis of their ability to benefit from the doctoral programme. This means that your previous study performance, such as your degree project, will be reviewed and assessed.


  • Establish contacts in the subject area that you want to take a doctorate in.
  • Be on the lookout for doctoral studentships on the SLU website
  • Interesting information about research and doctoral programmes is available at (in Swedish only)