Doctoral studies

Departmental duties often mean an opportunity to gain experience in teaching, however they also pose a risk that thesis work may be delayed and that doctoral candidates may not finish in time.

Departmental duties often mean an opportunity to gain experience in teaching, however they also pose a risk that thesis work may be delayed and that doctoral candidates may not finish in time.

Employment as an assistant
The Higher Education Ordinance provides higher education institutions with the right to employ assistants and teaching assistants. However, there are constraints – only those awarded study grants as doctoral candidates may be employed as assistants and only those who have been admitted to undergraduate university education may be employed as teaching assistants.

Full time study grants
A doctoral candidate who has a full time study grant may teach or perform other work at the university to a maximum of 20 percent of a full time position. Only in special circumstances may a doctoral candidate with study grant teach/work more than 20 percent of full time working hours.

In addition, doctoral candidates who have study grants may not undertake any activities that may delay their studies. Consequently a doctoral candidate who has an 80 percent study grant should therefore use a maximum of 40 percent for other work. If you are considering studying and working more than full time, please seriously consider the impact of this on your thesis and the risk that your studies will be delayed.

From 1 July 2017, study grants will be abolished by the termination of educational grant regulations for doctoral candidates. Instead, the primary rule in the Higher Education Ordinance will be that doctoral candidates must be employed. Find more information here.

Scope and working tasks
A position as an assistant must not represent more than 40 percent of full time hours. Candidates with full-time study grants must not have more than 20 percent employment as an assistant. A position as teaching assistant may represent a maximum of 50 percent of full time working hours.

These working tasks must consist of teaching, participation in research other than research within the doctoral studies or administration.

Employment form
Employment as an assistant or teaching assistant doctoral candidate is temporary, fixed-term employment based on the stipulations in the Higher Education Ordinance.

Temporary positions can be formulated either as to apply from a certain date to another date or as employment for an indefinite period, although to a certain date at the longest. In the latter case it is possible for both employers and employees, under certain conditions, to terminate employment before the final date and this is the form that the university should use when employing assistants or teaching assistants.

The first appointment as an assistant or teaching assistant is permitted to be for a maximum of one year which may then be renewed. An assistant may be employed only during the time he or she receives a study grant as a doctoral candidate.  The total employment period for at teaching assistant is a maximum of three years.

Collective agreements
Public sector assistants and teaching assistants are covered by Villkorsavtal-T, PA 03 and other collective agreements. Villkorsavtal-T provides entitlement to longer holidays, daily allowances/per diems, reimbursement for medical expenses, parental benefit etc. PA03 gives the right to pension contributions.

Overtime
Before teaching more hours than stated for normal working hours, consider the opportunities for other work or overtime pay. Please note that only overtime specifically ordered by the employer generates overtime pay.

Salary
Within the public sector, salaries are set individually. In order to ensure that assistant and teaching assistant salaries are not set too low SULF has, through Saco-S, concluded local collective agreements for assistant and teaching assistant salaries at most universities. These collective agreements are intended to safeguard against excessively low salaries but not provide barriers to higher levels of pay.

Salaries vary between institutions but also across disciplines. Current doctoral candidate ladders can be found on the SULF website.

Pension
In addition to the national pension, doctoral candidates who are employed are covered by the contractual pension provisions of the collective agreement (PA-16).

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