PhD Programme in Political Science

PhD student nailing PhD thesis at the Department of Government

The PhD programme in Political Science aims at nurturing scholars with the capacity for high-quality international research in political science. The programme focuses on developing scientific research capabilities, with coursework and the development of a PhD thesis at its core.

Admission to the PhD Programme is highly competitive and attracts many international and Swedish applicants yearly. The programme spans four years, including a mandatory year of coursework and development of a research plan. PhD candidates at Uppsala University are university employees and often contribute to teaching or administration, which can extend the program to a total of five years. A PhD in political science from Uppsala holds significance for advanced academic research, teaching roles, and professional opportunities beyond academia.

This year’s admission to the PhD programme is now closed

We received 354 applications to five positions. All candidates will be contacted about the outcome in April, at the latest.

Our next call will open in December 2024, for admission to the cohort starting in September 2025.

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 doctoral 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. Normally, positions are advertised in December or January, with deadline for applications in February. 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 the general curriculum

We require very good oral and written proficiency in English. Applicants who have not attended a master's programme where the language of instruction has been Swedish or English have to verify English language proficiency by submitting a certificate of results from internationally recognized language tests, such as TOEFL or IELTS.

The Application – what documents are to be submitted?

The application must contain the following: 

  • Curriculum Vitae.
  • A brief cover letter (max 500 words) indicating your motives for applying.
  • A research text, preferably an MA-thesis, authored by the applicant. The writing sample can be in English or Swedish. If the text is co-authored, it must be accompanied by a co-author statement and complemented by a single-authored secondary research sample.
  • A self-reflection statement where the strengths and weaknesses of the research sample is discussed (max. 1000 words).
  • Transcripts of academic records to demonstrate qualification for admission.
  • Contact information for two academic references (address, email address, and telephone number). No recommendation letter should be included. 

The application may need to contain the following: 

  • A secondary research text authored by the applicant. It is mandatory to submit a secondary research text when the applicant’s primary research text is co-authored. In other cases, a secondary research sample is voluntary. The secondary writing sample can be in English or Swedish. If the text is co-authored, it must be accompanied by a co-author statement.
  • A co-author statement that should describe the independent research contributions of the applicant and each co-author. The statement should be signed by the co-author(s).
  • Certificate of English language written and oral proficiency from internationally recognized test such as TOEFL or IELTS. Applicants that have attended an MA-program where the language of instruction has been English or Swedish do not need to submit test scores. 

Please note that the list of required documents may be updated at the time of a new call for applications. Note also that our application is digital, i.e. the documents you are submitting are uploaded in the application tool Varbi.

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 doctoral 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.

Last modified: 2024-02-14