Department of Government

Outline of the programme

Doctoral studies in political science are conducted within a four year programme comprising 240 ECTS credits and concluded with a doctoral degree. The programme includes 60 ECTS credits in courses that are mandatory for all students and are normally taken the first year. The PhD thesis corresponds to 180 ECTS credits. A maximum of 20 % of the position as PhD-student may involve administrative and/or educational responsibilities at the Department (not included in the PhD programme).  This means that most students take five years from admission to examination.

The research project for the thesis does not have to be formulated from the start. The research plan is developed as part of the first year of the programme. This is done within an introductory group headed by two or three professors at the Department and involving all new PhD students. The research plan is normally presented at the Higher seminar one year after admission. Activities in the introductory group are coordinated with the first year courses and will also introduce the student to research, administration and social activities at the Department.

Financial support and salary                                                                           

All admitted PhD-students are guaranteed financial support for four years and will be employed as Ph.D. students. The salary (taxable income) for PhD students is currently:

Year 1:  25 600 Skr
Year 2:  26 300 Skr
Year 3:  26 800 Skr

When 50 % of the programme is completed: 28 500 Skr
When 80 % of the programme is completed 30 500 Skr

Each PhD student has two supervisors. The professors responsible for the introductory group function as supervisors until the research plan has been presented. Hence, students are normally assigned a permanent main supervisor and permanent assistant supervisor only at the beginning of year two. This also means that potential supervisors should not be contacted before applying. Admitting PhD students to the Department is a faculty responsibility, and no single supervisor can admit students to the programme (cf. the procedure described under Application).

The first year includes four mandatory courses.

Central Analytical Perspectives focus on the main analytical perspectives within social sciences: Rational Choice, Constructivism, Institutionalism, and the Psychological perspective.

Methods I contains advanced qualitative and quantitative methods and is organized together with the Political Science Department at Stockholm University.

Reviewing Prior Research is a reading course where the students review the current knowledge within their own field with the assistance of one or two teachers from the Department.

Methods II includes additional qualitative and quantitative techniques. The course paper should ideally be a pilot study for the PhD-thesis or a first attempt to make use of techniques that are relevant for the thesis. The paper is presented at a national seminar with PhD-students from other universities in Sweden.

The PhD thesis
The PhD thesis may be a book (monograph) of 150-300 pages, or a collection of three or more journal articles with an introduction. The PhD student should plan the three years of work on the thesis together with his/her supervisors. Often, working on the thesis includes several field trips or other studies abroad. Students can keep their salary during such research trips, but usually they have to finance other costs with external scholarships. Drafts of the thesis are presented to the faculty higher seminar at least twice. An internal committee of professors from the Department decides when the manuscript is ready for public defense.

Examination: the Public Defense
The programme ends with a public defense of the PhD thesis. An external commentator (“opponent”) is invited to discuss the thesis and point out its strengths and weaknesses. After approximately two hours of discussion between the author and the commentator, the chair of the public defense opens up the floor for questions from the audience. When the discussion is over, a committee of three professors, two external and one from the Department, decide if the thesis passes or not.