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 PhD students.

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 (15 credits)
This course introduces PhD students to core analytical perspectives in political science research. The four analytical perspectives that will be addressed in the course are the political-theoretical perspective, the rationalist perspective, the constructivist perspective, and the institutional perspective.

Methods (15 credits)
This course provides PhD students with a good understanding of relevant problems in the theory of social sciences as well as with knowledge about quantitative methods, comparative methods and case studies, and discourse analyses. It is organized together with the PhD program in political science at Stockholm University.

Foundations, Achievements, Conclusions (7,5 credits)
In this course you will read and discuss work that constitute foundations of/for political science as well as work that has generated major achievements. The aim is to provide an intellectual history of foundations and achievements and to reflect together.

Reviewing Prior Research (15 credits)
The objective of this course is to familiarize students with the concept of literature review, practice finding and critically reviewing literature and, as a final step, write a literature review related to their own planned dissertation topic.

Applied Methods (7,5 credits)
In this course, students work with a selected method that they consider using in their dissertation work. A methods paper is written and presented at a conference where PhD students from other political science departments in Sweden participate.

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 Defence
The programme ends with a public defence 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.