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PhD studies

An interest in applying for research studies often develops gradually towards the end of undergraduate or Master’s studies. Doing a degree project may have given both a foretaste of what it’s like to work independently on a research assignment and contact with researchers who can encourage you to pursue research studies. You don’t have to have studied at Lund University to apply for research studies here. Many doctoral students come from other universities in Sweden and abroad.


Entry requirements 

In order to be admitted to research studies, applicants must meet the general entry requirements, which are a Master’s degree or courses comprising at least 240 credits (of which at least 60 in the second cycle), or have acquired equivalent knowledge in some other way. There are also specific entry requirements for each subject.

Application and admission

There are different modes of carrying out research studies, but by far the most common is that research students have a doctoral studentship and form part of a research group. There is no particular application period for research studies; new doctoral studentships are advertised on a continual basis. Each vacancy notice includes a description of the terms of the specific post and a deadline for applications.

Current vacancies for doctoral students

Degree title and thesis defence

Doctoral thesis

Research studies end with the public defence of an academic thesis in your subject – the doctoral thesis. The thesis usually comprises an introduction to the research field and your own research findings, followed by articles that have been published in scientific journals.

Public defence

The thesis is defended publicly, at a seminar where you present your thesis for public scrutiny. A faculty examiner has the task of scrutinising the thesis and discussing it at the defence. The thesis is assessed by an examining committee.

Doctoral degree

A Swedish doctoral degree comprises 240 credits. On completion of your research studies, you receive a PhD, which is the highest academic degree possible.


You may also take a licentiate degree after 120 credits of research studies, which corresponds to two years of full-time study. The licentiate can form a stage in a PhD programme, but it is also possible to end research studies with a licentiate. The academic thesis is called a licentiate thesis and is presented and examined at a public seminar.

Doctoral conferment ceremony

The doctoral conferment ceremony is the academic highlight of the year and takes place in May/June each year. At the ceremony, the University honours those who have completed research studies and defended a doctoral thesis. Certificates, rings and laurel wreaths are presented at the conferment ceremony.

Want to find out more?

If you have any questions about research studies, please contact the director of studies in your subject.

Contact directors of studies

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