FAQs about becoming a docent at SLU

Last changed: 14 February 2024

Why become a docent?

For those who wish to establish themselves as a researcher at SLU, being appointed docent is a way of demonstrating they are an independent researcher, with a vision for their research path and teaching. The assessment and appointment to docent is an important element of SLU’s quality enhancement activities as regards research and doctoral studies. Being a docent means a researcher is able to act as principal supervisor, examiner, issue statements as a subject specialist and conduct similar tasks for SLU. 

Becoming a docent is also accompanied by a salary increase. Both the NJ and S Faculties require members of grading committees and faculty reviewers to be docents or have the equivalent skills and qualifications.   


Who can be appointed docent? 

You can become a docent if you specialise in one of the faculty’s third-cycle subject areas. You must have completed your doctoral degree and demonstrate scientific or artistic ability and teaching expertise. 

As a rule, you must be employed by SLU. In certain cases, non-SLU employees can also apply and have their application assessed, if there is a collaboration of strategic benefit to the university. 

Here, you can read more about third-cycle subject areas and general syllabuses at SLU


Am I eligible? 

The role of docent in a subject indicates that a person has demonstrated independent research expertise, and has skills far beyond those required for the Degree of Doctor. 

You must also have developed or initiated your own research track.

Ways to assess independent ability include looking at:

  • research conducted without help from a previous supervisor; 
  • research published in peer-reviewed scientific journals;
  • successful applications for direct government funding for research. 


You must have completed courses in teaching for higher education equating to 10 weeks of full-time study, of which 3 weeks must focus on doctoral supervision at SLU. Equivalent courses from other higher education institutions may be accepted following assessment by the Educational Development Unit (EPU).  Please note that regardless of whether the courses were taken in Sweden or abroad, you must contact EPU to have them approved. Make sure to include the EPU’s assessment with your application. 

You must also demonstrate teaching experience relevant to the role of principal supervisor (e.g., assistant supervision, degree project supervision). 


How to apply 

Applications for docent are processed twice a year. The application deadlines are 1 March and 15 September. 

Submit your application to the relevant faculty via the ReachMee recruitment system. Applications must be written in English.

When you submit your application, your head of department must submit their motivation for why you should be appointed docent and state how this promotion will benefit the department. The head of department’s motivation must have been submitted by 1 March and 15 September respectively. Applications must also include proposals from two external experts of different genders. 


Important to think about when applying 

When you apply, it is important that you emphasise your independence and how you are developing your own research track.

Use the following fields in the application form:

  1. Scientific activities and independence
  2. Grants
  3. Vision for future research. 


How long will it take? 

It takes around nine months from the application deadline until successful applicants receive their docent certificate. 


Who assesses my application? 

The Docent Board will prepare the applications and consult with external experts about the applicants’ scientific eligibility. A subject representative and teaching expert will also assess applicants during trial lectures. 


The appointment process

Being appointed docent at SLU is a step on the academic career ladder and the assessment and appointment to docent is an important element of SLU’s quality enhancement activities as regards research and doctoral studies.

When a docent is appointed, the case is prepared by the relevant faculty's docent board. The assessment involves three stages:

Stage one is carried out by the docent board and involves:

  • an assessment of whether the applicant is an independent researcher developing their own research track;
  • an assessment of the scope of scientific publications;
  • an assessment on the applicant’s teaching expertise and determining whether the applicant has completed training in teaching in higher education (corresponding to 10 weeks full time, at least 3 weeks of which should be training in doctoral student supervision at SLU)
  • appointing an external expert to further assess the application

Stage two is carried out by an external expert and involves:

  • a review of the applicant’s scientific ability by a an external expert;
  • an assessment of the applicant’s scientific progress to determine if the applicant is eligible for the role of docent in their chosen subject.

Observe: At the Faculty of Forest Sciences (S) and the Faculty of Landscape Architecture, Horticulture and Crop Production Sciences (LTV), the external expert also reviews the teaching expertise. At the Faculty of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences (NJ) and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science (VH), the applicant's educational merits are evaluated by the respective docent boards.

The expert opinions form part of the selection process and have an advisory function to the docent board.

In their review work, the experts must consider application documents and the document Guidelines for the appointment of docents at SLU. 

Stage three involves:

  • a trial lecture for appointment as a docent.

The trial lecture assesses the applicant’s ability to convey fundamental thoughts and ideas they believe are important and should be developed in their subject field. One subject field representative and one representative from SLU’s Educational Development Unit will attend. They will issue a written statement on the lecture’s scientific content and the educational presentation and recommend whether the application should be approved or rejected. Members of the docent board will also participate.

The docent board (or, depending on the delegation of authority, the faculty board) will then take the decision to either appoint the applicant to docent or invite them to carry out a new lecture.

Can I reapply if I have withdrawn my application? 

Normally, the Docent Board will issue a statement informing you why you did not meet the necessary qualification requirements. It is possible to reapply at a later stage once these qualification requirements have been met. 

If your trial lecture is unsuccessful, you can submit a request to the Docent Board to redo the lecture at a later date. If the second trial lecture is also unsuccessful, your entire application will be rejected. 


When will I give my trial lecture? 

Trial lectures are usually held once per semester. The Docent Board will determine the date. You must submit the title of your lecture and a popular science summary no later than three weeks before the date of the lecture. 


Conflict of interest

Members of the Docent Board (and faculty board depending on the delegation of authority) will not participate in a decision if there is a conflict of interest.  A deputy will step in if a full member of the board cannot participate or if there is a conflict of interest. Board members always consult with the relevant head of department to determine whether there are any potential conflicts of interest. Subject specialists, subject representatives and teaching experts must fill in a special form to certify that there are no conflicts of interest. 


What should I do if I think the wrong decision was taken? 

A decision to reject an application cannot be changed or appealed. 


How do I obtain my docent certificate? 

If your application is successful, the secretary of the Docent Board will issue a docent certificate. It will then be sent to you alongside copies of the statement of opinion from the subject specialist and the trial lecture. The docent's certificate is handed over to the department administrator, who ensures that you receive a salary increase of SEK 2,500 per month starting at the end of the month after the date stated in the appointment decision.


Who do I contact with any questions? 

Contact the secretary of the Docent Board at the faculty office, alternatively contact the chair of the Docent Board. 

S Faculty

  • Secretary of the Docent Board, Louise Tetting , tel. +46 907 86 86 22, 


NJ Faculty 



VH Faculty

LTV Faculty