PhD Programme, how to apply!

Admission: When and How?

Who is eligible? Minimal requirements for admission

The Application – what documents are to be submitted?

Basis of evaluation


Admission: When and how?

New PhD students are admitted as the result of a process that starts with a call, i.e. new positions are advertised. A call is made regularly, approximately once a year. The number of positions advertised depends upon available funding. Candidates are evaluated and ranked (top candidates) by a committee. To come in question a candidate must be shortlisted by this committee. The formal decision to admit someone is taken by the Head of Department.

Aerial photo of Skytteanum

The department sometimes engages in PhD programme collaboration with other departments or universities. On these occasions, the procedures for admissions can be somewhat different.

External funding can be used to finance shortlisted candidates, but must be approved by the Faculty of Social Sciences, Uppsala University. 

Who is eligible? Minimal requirements for admission

Eligibility is defined in terms of academic degrees and scores (i.e. the number of scores on specific levels and in specific disciplines) There are two types of eligibility requirements that applicants need to meet, general and special eligibility.

Gamla Torget 6General eligibility is possessed by anyone who has obtained a degree at advanced level, fulfilled course requirements for at least 240 ECTS points, of which at least 60 ECTS points at advanced level, or otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or abroad.

For special eligibility for admission to graduate studies in political science the applicant is required to have satisfactory results on courses carrying 90 ECTS points in political science. Special eligibility is also possessed by anyone who has otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or abroad. More details on required qualifications can be found in section 2 of the general syllabus (Swedish only).

The applicant’s ability to meet these requirements should be clearly evidenced by the documents submitted with the application. For courses taken outside the Swedish university system a certified explanation of the grading system used should be included. Applicants who need to argue the equivalence of their merits can do so in the cover letter (see below).

To successfully participate in the programme, students must be proficient in English and/or Swedish, in spoken as well as written form. For applicants having a degree from a Swedish university, it is taken for granted that these requirements are met. Other applicants should submit suitable proof of their language skills. If the applicant is the sole author of samples of submitted research production written in English or Swedish, no additional proof of proficiency is required for the language in question.

The Application – what documents are to be submitted?

The required documents are listed in the call. Please note that we accept documents in Swedish or English. Also note that when a maximum of words is specified, bibliographies are not to be counted. Your application is digital, i.e. you are to upload the documents you are submitting in the application tool. If a document does not fit perfectly in one or the other of the pre-defined categories you can always use the “More Documents”-category.

Here follows a brief description of each type of document:

Curriculum Vitae

A well-organized CV that describes merits of relevance for the position.

Cover letter

Please use this letter to do the following things:

  1. Give a brief statement of intent that describes your motives for applying (max 500 words).
  2. Give a short description of the documents submitted, a list of the documents.
  3. If you submit two examples of your own scientific production (rather than one) use the cover letter to inform the Committee which to give priority in the evaluation.

Examples of the applicant’s research production (theses, articles etc.)

Applicants are to submit one or two examples of prior research in English or Swedish, for example, a B.A. and/or an M.A. thesis, a scientific article, a scientific report etc. Note that these texts need not specifically be written within the field of political science, but their content must be relevant from a political-science point of view. Note also that the submitted texts should not represent anything less ambitious, in terms of scope and academic level, than an ordinary B.A. or M.A. thesis. Please note that

  • At least one of the submitted texts must have the applicant as its sole author.
  • If a co-authored text is supplied, the applicant’s contribution must be described in an accompanying statement signed by all co-authors.

Reflections on own prior research (1000 words)

Attached to the application should be a document of no more than 1000 words where the applicant discusses her/his previous research. We recommend that the applicant here focuses on the piece of work he/she wants the committee to prioritise in the evaluation. This text gives the applicant a chance to bring out the main strengths and weaknesses of her/his prior work and to place it in a wider scientific context. The aim of this discussion is also to bring out the most important results; discuss theoretical and methodological challenges and choices, and the societal relevance of the scientific work of the applicant.

Certified transcripts of academic records

Authorized copies of academic documents, such as course records, diplomas, and certificates, which demonstrate general and special eligibility for post-graduate studies in political science. See minimal requirements for admission for more details.

Certification of competence in Swedish

For applicants with a degree from a non-Swedish university, suitable proof of language skills (English and/or Swedish) must be submitted. Please note that if the applicant is the sole author of submitted academic work(the submitted own prior research) in English or Swedish, no such special certification is needed.

Basis of evaluation

Skytteanum, the vaultApplicants who meet the minimal requirements 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 examples of the applicant’s prior research production.

The examples of own research submitted are evaluated with the purpose of obtaining an informed judgment about the applicant’s research talents. Hence, the submitted work should preferably demonstrate those talents in as clear a manner as possible rather than have the form of literature reviews. Ideally, the work should be of such a quality that it (with minor revisions) would be publishable as research articles in scholarly journals (if not already published). The evaluation is based on an independent reading by members of the admission committee, where previous grades or other evaluations are left without consideration.

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.


Skytteanum in front of Uppsala CathedralThe admission committee presents its evaluations on a senior faculty meeting. The final decision is taken by the Head of Department (Prefekten) based on the advice of the senior faculty meeting. Applicants admitted to the programme are contacted as soon as possible, and the decision is communicated to all applicants.

The Head of Department may decide to admit more PhD-students than advertised. This requires that financing for the whole programme is assured and that the student has been top ranked among applicants by the faculty meeting. External funding has to be approved by the university.