Become a doctoral student

On this page you will find information about what is required to apply for a doctoral programme and general information about what being a doctoral student involves.

Third-cycle studies are the highest in Sweden's education system and can lead to two different degrees: a licentiate degree (120 credits) and a doctoral degree (240 credits).

A doctoral programme consists of an educational component and a research component that run in parallel. The educational component consists of courses and the research part consists of a thesis project on the chosen research subject.

Third-cycle studies also includes participating in seminars and presenting your ongoing research, both internally and externally. You are also encouraged to participate in international contexts, for example by attending conferences and presenting your research. The goal of the programme is to finalise and publicly defend a doctoral thesis or a licentiate thesis.

To be eligible for doctoral studies, you must meet the general entry requirements. There may also be specific entry requirements for a specific third-cycle subject. The requirements can be found in the general syllabus for the subject.

You meet the general entry requirements for third-cycle courses and study programmes if you have

  1. been awarded a second-cycle qualification,
  2. satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded in the second-cycle, or
  3. acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

The higher education institution may permit an exemption from the general entry requirements for an individual applicant, if there are special grounds.

Vacancies leading to a doctoral studentship are advertised throughout the year.

In order for the university to be able to admit a doctoral student to a doctoral programme, the university must be able to secure the financing of the education. At Mälardalen University, this is mainly done through two types of funding - either through doctoral studentships or through collaboration with industry, municipalities or regions.

Doctoral studentship

The majority of doctoral students at Mälardalen University are employed by the university in connection with admission to doctoral education. A doctoral studentship is initially for one year and can be gradually extended by a maximum of two years at a time.

As a doctoral student, you are covered by the same rights as other employees at the University.

When a vacant doctoral studentship becomes available, it will be advertised on the Universiy's website for Job opportunities.

Externally funded doctoral student

It is also possible to be admitted to a doctoral programme as an externally funded doctoral student. Mälardalen University has a relatively large proportion of doctoral students who are employed in industry, municipalities or regions.

A doctoral student who is externally funded is employed by an employer other than Mälardalen University and conducts the studies within the framework of that employment. As a doctoral student, you will conduct your doctoral education at a rate of at least 50 per cent, which means that your employer must ensure that you can devote at least 50 per cent of your position to your doctoral education.

In order to be admitted as a doctoral student, your employer and Mälardalen University must sign an agreement.

Even as an externally funded doctoral student, you need to apply for doctoral studies in the manner and within the time specified by the university in the admission regulations for third cycle studies.

At Mälardaken University, doctoral education is conducted in 14 third-cycle subjects. The third-cycle subjects are distributed among the University's four Schools.

Here you can read more about the university's doctoral subjects

Here you can read more about doctoral education at each School.

Doctoral students who come from a third country need to apply for a residence permit in order to be able to conduct third-cycle studies in Sweden. This gives you the right to live and work in Sweden.

You first need to be admitted to a doctoral programme in order to apply for a residence permit. The application is made to the Swedish Migration Agency.

As a doctoral student at Mälardalen University, you have the opportunity to receive support from various parts of the University´s Administration and Service Division. For example, you can get support from:

University Library

The University Library offers doctoral students seminars and credit-bearing courses that support the acquisition of knowledge and skills in, for example, information retrieval, database management, selecting journals, creating data management plans, etc.

It is also the University Library that supports doctoral students in the preparation of their doctoral thesis for printing, and publication.

The Division for Research, Collaboration and Innovation Support

The Division for Research, Collaboration and Innovation Support works university-wide offering advice on research, research funding, collaboration, application, and idea and business development.

The Division provides support in

  • Applications for external research funding.
  • Collaboration with industry and the public sector.
  • Dissemination of research results.
  • Commercialisation and business start-up.

Lärum - MDU’s Centre for Teaching and Learning

Mälardalen University conducts its development work in teaching and learning in higher education through Lärum. You will have the opportunity to take courses in higher education pedagogy through Lärum.

The Division of Communications

Mälardalens Univeristy's research leads to necessary knowledge and development to solve problems in society. We need to highlight this, and you as a doctoral student and researcher are the real expert and the person who is best suited to talk and explain about your project.

The Division of Communications can support you as a doctoral student together with the Division of Research, Collaboration and Innovation Support to both disseminate and communicate your results and what you are researching.

Here you can read more about what it's like to be a doctoral student from the Swedish National Doctoral Student Union. The handbook is in English.

Third-cycle studies are regulated by laws, rules and ordinances. This means that the University is obliged, as a public authority, to comply with what has been decided in the Higher Education Act and the Higher Education Ordinance.

The laws and ordinances that govern all doctoral education are:

  • Higher Education Act (1992:1434)
  • Higher Education Ordinance (1993:100)

In addition to these, there are also specific rules at Mälardalen University:

  • Admission regulations for third-cycle studies
  • Regulations and guidelines for third-cycle studies
  • University-wide administrative procedures
  • School or subject-specific guidelines