How to apply to the PhD programme

The application round for one general PhD position in peace and conflict research as well as for the PhD position in peace and conflict research with focus on forecasting climate-related complex emergencies and population displacement has closed. Future calls will be announced on this webpage, please check back for updates. Please note that applications are only accepted when there is a call for applications and that potential supervisors should not be contacted in advance.

What to submit

The application should preferably be in English and filed online. The documents submitted should consist of the following: 

  1. a completed application form for doctoral studies
  2. a short personal letter (1‒2 pages)
  3. CV
  4. certified transcripts of academic records
  5. a project plan (3-5 pages), mainly focusing on the parts of the project that the candidate will develop on his/her own
  6. letters of reference/recommendation (max 2 letters) or a list of references (max 2) which can be contacted by the admission committee.
  7. writing samples (1‒3 samples)

1. Application form

Download the PhD application form (pdf). Print, sign, scan and submit.

2. Short personal letter

A personal letter (1‒2 pages) on your research interests, career plans, why you are choosing our institution, other relevant personal information, etc. If more than one writing sample is submitted, use the personal letter to rank them in order of priority we should give them in the evaluation.

3. CV

A Curriculum Vitae, including relevant academic background, work experience and a list of publications.

4. Certified transcripts of academic records

Authorized copies of academic documents, such as course records, diplomas, and certificates, which demonstrate basic or special eligibility for PhD studies in peace and conflict research. Include clear records of the grades obtained, and for courses taken outside the Swedish university system a certified explanation of the grading system used. See more below under the heading "Eligibility and Admission Criteria".

5. A project plan

A project plan, that is, a memo of some 3‒5 pages about the proposed dissertation on the research problem you want to address, whatever you may have in mind in terms of theoretical grounding, dependent variable, empirical material, methodology to be used in addressing the problem, etc. Specific instructions may apply for some application rounds, see the full announcement(s) for details.

6. Letters of reference/ recommendation

You can either a) submit letters from academic scholars that are familiar with your work (maximum two) or b) list references who can be contacted by the admission committee should you be shortlisted (maximum two).

7. Writing samples

Submit samples of prior research (1‒3), preferable in English and otherwise in Swedish. If more than one sample is sent in, mention in the personal letter which ones are to be given priority in the evaluation. If any of the samples submitted have multiple authors, they should be accompanied by a statement certifying and detailing the specific contribution made by the applicant.

Eligibility and Admission Criteria

The evaluation of applications is done in two steps: first, it is determined if the applicant meets the basic and special eligibility for admission; second, for those fulfilling basic and special eligibility, additional criteria are used to rank the candidates. Irrespective of whether the application is for a faculty-funded or an externally-financed position, the Department’s standard criteria for admittance into the PhD programme will be used.

Applicants with external funding need to apply in the regular round of applications and are assessed according to the same criteria as for a faculty-funded position. To be considered as an applicant with external funding, the applicant need to document guaranteed full external financing for at least 2 years. External funding here refers to two types of financing organisation: either a reputed research council or an equivalent research funding organisation with a professional capacity to independently assess the quality of applications or a national/international governmental/non-governmental organisation that wants to sponsor one of its employees, for example, to raise the professional competence of the person in question.

Step 1: Basic and Special Eligibility

Basic eligibility for admission to the PhD programme, the applicant is required to have a degree at advanced level, fulfilled course requirements for at least 240 credit points, of which at least 60 credit points at advanced level, or otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or abroad.

Special eligibility for admission to the PhD programme, the applicant is required to have satisfactory results on courses carrying 90 credit points in the social sciences, containing at least one semester (30 credit points) of peace and conflict studies, or a closely related subject.

Please note that applicants who have completed their master thesis but have yet to receive the grade and/or official diploma at the time of application only are required to submit certificates of all other completed coursework. The successful candidate need to submit the grade for the thesis and the official diploma prior to admission into the program.

Step 2: Basis of Evaluation

The main criterion is formulated thus: In order to be admitted, a prospective PhD candidate shall—through relevant and in writing documented scientific ability—be judged able to, within the given time frame (4 years), author a PhD dissertation that will, at a minimum, be classified as ‘good’ by international standards.

Applicants who meet the basic and special eligibility for admission are evaluated based on their expected ability to profit from advanced graduate training and to produce, with proper training, independent high-quality academic research. Consequently, the evaluation is primarily based on submitted samples of prior research production completed by the applicant in the course of undergraduate or graduate training, or other research activities, for example, a B.A. and/or a master thesis (“C-uppsats”, “D-uppsats” or “masteruppsats”), and academic publications.

The samples submitted are evaluated with the purpose of obtaining an informed judgment about the applicant’s research talents rather than his or her command of a given literature. Hence, the samples submitted should preferably demonstrate those talents in as clear a manner as possible rather than take the form of literature reviews. Ideally, the samples should be of such a quality that (with minor revisions) they would be publishable as research articles in scholarly journals (or already published).

Besides the evaluation of prior research production, the applicant’s performance in prior course work is taken into consideration. Applicants should therefore include clear records of what they have accomplished in this regard, the grades obtained, and (for courses taken outside the Swedish university system) a certified explanation of the grading system used.

Three additional criteria also apply. These are:

  • The centrality of the proposed PhD theme in relation to peace and conflict research in general and to ongoing/planned research programmes at the Department in particular.
  • The pedagogical skills of the applicant, as documented in the application or otherwise.
  • An assessment of the contribution of the applicant as a resource to the Department in terms of the three tasks of Swedish universities: teaching, research and societal interaction.

As the admission is highly competitive and as there is only a limited number of positions offered each admission round, the Department reserves the right to prioritise applicants with a strong background in peace and conflict studies.

Please note that potential supervisors should not be contacted in advance. The Head of Department, in consultation with the Department’s PhD Candidate Admissions Committee and the Collegium of Supervisors makes the decisions based on the applicant pool, fit with the Department, and other factors outlined above.

Who decides about admission?

The Head of the Department decides about admission for all PhD candidates which are faculty-financed.

The Board of the Social Science Faculty decides about admission for all part-time PhD candidates and for PhD candidates who are externally funded or funded through study loans.

In both of the above cases, the Department’s PhD Candidate Admission Committee and the Collegium of Supervisors are advising the decision-making entity. 

General syllabus and application form