Doctoral candidate/doctoral studies

How to become a doctoral candidate

The SULF Doctoral Candidate Association has compiled a starter Kit for Doctoral candidates which you can download here.

In order to be admitted to doctoral studies you are required to fulfil both basic eligibility requirements and the special qualifications each university prescribes. It is also necessary to be assessed for capability to complete the study programme.

Acceptable conditions for doctoral candidates

Individual universities determine which and how many candidates are admitted to doctoral studies. However universities may not accept more doctoral candidates for postgraduate education than they are able to offer proper supervision and acceptable working conditions to. In addition, the university must ensure that there is proper financing for each doctoral candidate.


Usually, but not always, each Faculty Board takes decisions on admission of doctoral candidates. Contact your university for more information about their admission procedures.

Financing doctoral studies

Only candidates who are employed as doctoral candidates are accepted to doctoral studies. However there are opportunities for universities to admit applicants who have some other form of financing.

However if this is to be possible the university must assess that funding is guaranteed throughout the full course of study and that the applicant is able to devote sufficient time to studies so that they can graduate within eight years if admitted for a doctorate, or four years if accepted for a licentiate.

Other funding is defined as anything that is not a doctoral candidate employment or scholarships and employment outside the university. Financing must be assessed individually in each case when admitting a doctoral candidate with other funding.

Basic eligibility and special qualifications

For admission to doctoral studies it is necessary to fulfil both requirements for basic eligibility and any special qualifications that the university may have prescribed.

Basic eligibility means a second level degree or completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, of which at least 60 credits are at second level or equivalent foreign education or equivalent qualifications.

Special qualifications are stated for each subject by the university and indicate, for example, how many credits the applicant must have in the subject in question. These requirements must be absolutely essential for the student to be able to assimilate the education. Often requirements concern knowledge acquired at university level although demands for special professional experience may also occur.

Is your university covered by the Higher Education Ordinance?

Higher Education Ordinance rules do not apply to non-governmental institutions such as Stockholm School of Economics, Sofiahemmet University College, the Red Cross University College, Marie Cederschiöld University  or Chalmers University of Technology. Regulations and conditions may, consequently, differ at these institutions.

The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and the National Defence College also apply specific regulations which can be found in the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences Ordinance and the National Defence College Ordinance.

Please contact each organisation for more information.