How to apply to the PhD programme

The admission is usually done once a year based on an open and competitive call for applications. Normally, position(s) are advertised in the beginning of the year with deadline in March or April, but this may vary, so please check this website for updates. The decision on how many positions we announce is taken by the Head of the Department and is dependent on available funding. Please note that applications are only accepted when there is a call for applications and should be submitted via the online system.

Please do not contact potential supervisors in advance. The recommendation of admittance is by the entire collegium of supervisors and supervisors are only assigned and matched with students after admittance to the programme.

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, excluding reference list), see instructions in the announcement
  6. letters of reference/recommendation (max 2 letters) or a list of references (max 2) who 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.


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 not yet completed their Master's thesis also can apply, but are required to submit certificates of all other completed coursework. It is important that the applicant in such cases submit other writing samples. All required coursework should, however, be completed by 22 May 2023. Applicants who apply without a completed Master’s thesis should, if contacted by the pre-admission committee, be ready to submit their completed Master’s thesis/ documentation that they have completed their Master's degree (by 22 May 2023). Transcripts can be submitted later. Please also note that the successful candidate need to submit the grade for the thesis and the official diploma prior to admission into the program. The qualification requirements must be met by August 1, 2023. If the applicant does not meet the qualification requirements at the time of application, any potential notification of admittance will be preliminary until eligibility can be proven. 

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, 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.

In addition, the following criteria are also considered:

  • The quality of the submitted research proposal.
  • The centrality of the proposed PhD theme in relation to peace and conflict research generally, and the research environment and ongoing or planned research projects at the department specifically.
  • The capacity of the applicant to serve as a resource for the department might be taken into consideration.

The Head of the Department decides in consultation with the Collegium of Supervisors at the Department about admission for PhD candidates. To evaluate applications, the Collegium of Supervisors appoints an evaluation committee for each application round based on a proposal from the Director of PhD studies. The evaluation committee is composed with an eye to broad representation in terms of e.g. gender, methodological competences, research topics, and some continuity from year to year (normally one of the members stay on for the next round). This helps to, over time, ensure diversity and avoid biases in the doctoral admissions with regards to, for example, methods and research interests. The evaluation committee is tasked to produce a ranked shortlist of the top applicants. To this end it conducts a qualitative assessment of all applications based on the material submitted with the application, including writing samples, project proposal, CV and course transcripts. The shortlist of top-ranked candidates is presented to the Collegium of Supervisors at a meeting. After deliberations, the Collegium of Supervisors makes a recommendation on who should be admitted, which is suggested to the Head of the Department. The Head of the Department, in turn, makes the final decision about admission.

Admission of applicants with other sources of financing than a PhD employment must, however, be decided by Board of the Faculty of Social Sciences. The Faculty Board also decides on admission to the doctoral programme comprising 120 credits leading to the Degree of Licentiate, for part-time employment, and when the applicant has funding from other institutions of higher education.

General syllabus and application form

Q: When is the next call to be advertised?

A: All positions are advertised on our website. Please note that applications can only be submitted via an online application system which opens after the call has been made.

Q: Can you please provide feedback on my application/research proposal?

A: Due to the large number of applications we receive every year, we are unable to comment specifically on individual proposals, but if you have general questions please let us know. 

Q: What should I write in the form regarding “first term”?

A: For example, “Fall 2023” depending on when the suggested start date is in the advertisement.

Q: What should I write in the form under “proposed subject”?

A: Peace and Conflict Research

Q: Do I need to submit English certificates such as TOEFL?

A: You do not have to submit a certificate for an English test like TOEFEL. We assess language proficiency through the writing samples submitted, and might ask for complementary information and an interview for candidates that are shortlisted.  

Q: How much course work is it and when do you take the courses?

A: The course work is 60 credits, 30 credits consist of mandatory courses and 30 are elective courses, which corresponds in total to 1 year of full-time studies. Many PhD students complete most of the course work in the first two years, but this varies.

Senast uppdaterad: 2024-01-22