Recruitment and admission

Last changed: 18 May 2021

Recruitment and admission of doctoral students are carried out according to the admission regulations.

Important things to know:

  • All places on degree programmes must be advertised. Special grounds may allow exemption from the duty to advertise (see "Duty of advertising" below).

  • Please use the recruitment tool ReachMee when advertising. Ask you HR administrator at department level for help.

  • Applicants will no longer send in certified copies of documents with the application. Read more about how to handle these document in the section "Certified copies" below. 

  • For specific questions regarding evaluation of eligibility and certification of copies, please contact antagning@slu.se at the Div. of Educational Affairs. Please note that all first contact with the Div. of Educational Affairs should be taken by the department contact person/prospective supervisor.

  • The doctoral student can't apply for residence permit before the the faculty board has decided to admit him/her. Information on criteria for residence permit at the Swedish Migration Agency web.

 

The SLU admission process for doctoral students contains the following steps:

Step 1. Recruitment
Step 2. Assessment and selection
Step 3. Application for admission from the department to the faculty
Step 4. Decision on admission, information and introduction
(Step 5: Employment (if relevant) - this step is not formally a part of the admission process but is mentioned here since the two processes are closely connected. A doctoral student can not be employed as a doctoral student without being admitted to doctoral education.)

 

Step 1. Recruitment of a new doctoral student

Recruitment of a new doctoral student

According to the Higher Education Ordinance, almost all study places for doctoral education must be advertised, but the exceptions that exist are presented under the expandable menu "Duty of advertising" below.

The department advertises the doctoral education place in ReachMee. If the doctoral student will be financed in other ways than an employment at SLU the HR division can help with adding the place in ReachMee (for example doctoral students that are employed at an external company), contact reachmee@slu.se. 

Applicants fill out a form that i.e. contains personal information and a personal description to why she/he wants to be a doctoral student.

Applicants will no longer send in certified copies of documents with the application. Read more about how to handle these document in the section "Certified copies" below. 

 

Step 2. Assessment and selection

Evaluation of entry requirements and selection of top candidate/s

The department asess the applicants' general entry requirements as well as any specific entry requirements set in the advertisement by reviewing the applications in ReachMee. The top candidate/s  is/are being interviewed. If the education place is supported by other means that via doctoral studentship there is normally just one candidate.  

N.B.! If the top candidate don't have a Swedish degree he/she should be encouraged to bring certified copies of the following documents when she/he arrives for the interview:

  • Certificates and diplomas from previous studies at an internationally recognized higher education institution (university or university college) as well as transcripts of completed courses and grades for each semester
  • Proof that the candidate meets the requirement of English 6*
  • If the applicant is a foreign citizen, we require a copy of the page in your passport with your personal data and photograph

The Div. of Educational Affairs performs the evaluation of authenticity of degree certificates and language certificates and checks if the top candidate/s meet the English requirements as a part of the quality assurance of admission of doctoral students. After the evaluation, the Div. of Educational Affairs returns the evaluation to the contact person at the department by regular post.

 

Which documents shall be evaluated by the Div. of Educational Affairs?

Please note that applicants with a Swedish degree and applicants with a foreign degree have different routines for the certfication of documents.

- If the top candidate have a Swedish degree, please send the applicant's name, personal ID-number and project-ID in ReachMee to the Division of Educational Affairs via e-mail to antagning@slu.se.

- If the top candidate don't have a Swedish degree, please send his/hers’ certified copies mentioned in point 2 are sent from the department in paper form to the Division of Educational Affairs. Please also mention the specific project ID in ReachMee and a contact person at the department. 

Please note that all first contact with the Div. of Educational Affairs should be taken by the department contact person/prospective supervisor.

The documents in paper form are sent to:

Division of Educational Affairs
Box 7010

750 07 Uppsala

Mark the envelope “Doctoral applications for evaluation”. 

 

Step 3. Application for admission from the department to the faculy

Application of admission from the department to the faculty

When the department is finished with evaluation of entry requirements and selection of top candidate, and the Div. of Educational Affairs has reviewed the authenticity of the documents and the English skills of the top candidate it is time to send in an application for admission to the faculty. 

The department sends a recommendation on admission including copies of attachments, to the faculty board.

Mandatory appendices:

1. Evaluation that verifies the applicants eligibility and the authenticity of attached certificates (From the division of Educational Affairs)

2. A preliminary individual study plan (according to the template that is common for all SLU faculties)

3. Cost estimates for the project

4. Project contract, if existent, and project number

5. Copies of the recruitment information (the announcement and a justification for the admission proposal)

 

If any of the following special arrangements are true, please also attach: 

6. If joint/double degree is intended: A copy of the agreement between the different instituions that are parts of the education cooperation, according to the SLU guidelines for joint degree at SLU. 

7. If the doctoral education will be funded with personal scholarship: Copy of
"Letter of acknowledgement" that has been sent to the applicant. Only "Letter of acknowledgement" that has been designed on the intended template will be approved.

8. If the doctoral education will be funded with personal scholarship: A certified copy of the contract between the applicant and the donor

9. If the applicant has another kind of position than PhD student position, or a position at a company or a foreign university: A copy of the contract of employment or equivalent. This contract shall ensure that time is allocated for the doctoral education within the scope of the appointment, according to HEO, ch 7, s 36.

 

Step 4. Decision on admission, information and introduction

The faculty reviews the application and make a decision on admission. The decision is sent out by the faculty office to e.g. the doctoral student, supervisors and the head of department. 

How should an introduction of a new doctoral student be carried out?

Online introductory course for doctoral students. 

Step 5. Employment

This only applies to doctoral students who are supported via doctoral studentship (employment as doctoral student) at SLU.

In order to prepare a proposal for employment to a doctoral position, the Division of Human Resources needs the following:

  • a proposal for employment;
  • the certified copies from the top candidate;
  • assessment of qualifications for candidates;
  • comment on choice of candidate;
  • economic information about the employment (konteringsuppgifter). 

The division of Human Resources negotiates with the unions, make a decision on employment and sends out an announcement.

FAQ - Admission and recruitment of new doctoral students

1. The position has not been advertised – is an SLU ID-number still needed?
Answer: Yes! All applications need an SLU ID-number. If the position hasn’t been advertised there are two different ways to get an SLU ID-number:

A. Supervisors at NJ- and VH- faculties will be given a SLU ID-number upon request by the respective education officer at each faculty office.

B. Supervisors at LTV- and S-faculties will get a SLU ID-number for the admission by contacting the Registry Office in Alnarp or Umeå, respectively.

2. Why do the Division of Educational Affairs need certified copies?
Answer: According to SLU’s Admission Regulations for doctoral education the Division of Educational Affairs should verify the authenticity of the degree diploma and the language certificate.

To do so, the Division of Educational Affairs needs to be able to certify that no changes have been made between an original document and the copy of which the assessment is made.

3. Will digital copies be accepted?

Answer: No. A digital copy of a certified copy or an original will not be accepted. The Division of Educational Affairs cannot certify the authenticity of a digital copy since there is no way of telling if any changes have been made from the original documents.

Duty of advertising

All positions that must be advertised according to HEO Chapter 7 Section 37 must be advertised for at least three weeks at www.slu.se. This duty to advertise applies regardless of the source of funding.

According to the Higher Education Ordinance (HEO):
"Chapter 7 Section 37

Decisions relating to admissions are made by the higher education institution. A person who wishes to be admitted to a third-cycle course or study programme shall apply within the time prescribed and in compliance with the procedures laid down by the higher education institution. When a higher education institution intends to admit one or several third-cycle students, information shall be provided by the higher education institution through advertising or some equivalent method. Information need not, however, be provided:

1. about the admission of a third-cycle student who is to complete the course or study programme within the framework of employment by an employer other than the higher education institution,
2. about the admission of a third-cycle student who has previously begun thirdcycle studies at another higher education institution, or
3. if there are similar special grounds."

As long as the recruitment has been open to competition, the following special grounds can allow for exemptions from the duty to advertise at www.slu.se:

  • there is a changeover from studies for a degree of licentiate to studies for a degree of doctor before the licentiate degree has been awarded;
  • the applicant is recruited by a university partner as part of contractual collaboration on education;
  • the applicant is recruited within the framework of an o aid and capacity-building programme or o an EU-funded programme
  • the applicant has been awarded a personal scholarship.

Special conditions in research contracts can also allow for exemptions from the duty to advertise at www.slu.se.

Entry requirements

A person meets the general entry requirements for third level education if he or she has completed a second level qualification (Master's degree) or has completed course requirements of at least 240 higher education credits, including at least 60 higher education credits at secondary level.

Upper secondary school grades equivalent to English B/English 6 are a basic requirement. Applicants who do not have a Swedish school-leaving certificate from an upper secondary school must have an internationally approved language test certificate corresponding to English 6 (TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge ESOL) in accordance withwww.universityadmissions.se/en/All-you-need-toknow1/Applying-for-studies/English-requirements/Internationally-recognizedEnglish-test/. Exemptions from certificate requirements can be found at www.universityadmissions.se

For admission after July 1 2018, the following is needed to meet the English B/6 requirements:

  • Applicants with 60 higher education (HE) credits from a course/programme where the language of instruction of the course was English, from an EU/EEA country/Switzerland or English-speaking country.

*Please note that a TOEFL-test need to be sent directly to SLU from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The institution code of SLU is 1185. This might take several weeks, so be sure to request that the TOEFL-test should be sent to SLU in good time.

A faculty board may permit exemptions from the general entry requirements. In such cases, the applicant must provide evidence of a degree at Bachelor’s level, and an independent paper corresponding to at least 15 HEC, the content of which must correspond to the knowledge and skills displayed in a degree project at second cycle level, or a relevant independent project of similar difficulty and scope. The thesis should be written in English or Swedish.

The faculty board sets the other specific entry requirements for each third-cycle subject. These requirements must be specified in the general syllabus for the third cycle subject.

If specific entry requirements in the form of specific professional or vocational experience, requisite skills in languages other than English or other conditions are specified in the general syllabus, the criteria used for assessment must also be specified.

About "skuggdoktorander"

Guidance for Head of departments on how to avoid creating "skuggdoktorander"

1. Anyone who, on application for admission to doctoral education, already has an SLU employment, may, in consultation with the head of the department and in the initiative of the principal supervisor, participate in discussions on the research project to be included in the dissertation work.

2. Applicants who do not have an SLU employment under paragraph 1 above, can not be employed for the primary purpose of preparing for doctoral studies, before the Faculty Board has approved the admission.

3. The principal supervisor is responsible for compiling the preliminary ISP which is to be attached to the application from the faculty to the faculty board regarding admission of the main candidate. A preliminary ISP's main purpose is to show that the research project that will form the basis for the planned dissertation work is reasonably defined and defined. Other parts of the education planning may be superficial and be completed after admission together with the PhD student.

Certified copies

N.B! Applicants will no longer send in certified copies of documents with the application in ReachMee. Instead the top candidate/s should be encouraged to bring certified copies of the following documents when she/he arrives for the interview:

  • certificates and diplomas from previous studies at an internationally recognized higher education institution (university or university college) as well as transcripts of completed courses and grades for each semester
  • Proof that the candidate meets the requirement of English 6*
  • If the applicant is a foreign citizen, we require a copy of the page in your passport with your personal data and photograph, or some other identification document

At the external SLU web you can find further information about certification of copies which is needed for an application for admission of a new doctoral student. The documents mentioned above should then be sent to the Division of Educational Affairs.

For specific questions regarding evaluation of eligibility and certification of copies, please contact Ylva Lönnerholm at the Div. of Educational Affairs. Please note that all first contact with the Div. of Educational Affairs should be taken by the department contact person/prospective supervisor.

Forms of financial support

All doctoral students at SLU receive some form of funding during their studies. The majority are funded through employment as a PhD student. This provides stable social and financial conditions throughout the study period. Others may have a different type of employment at SLU or a partner organisation, or may be funded by a scholarship. However, funding through employment does not always guarantee an even rate of study. Doctoral studies are tailored to the individual. Some doctoral students may progress faster, whereas others may need more time to meet their targets. As with undergraduate and postgraduate studies, the results are what count – not the workload.

Doctoral studentships (employment as doctoral student) are the normal form of support for doctoral students at SLU.  Financing studies with the help of a doctoral grant or private means is not allowed.
 
In addition to doctoral studentships, the following means of funding are permitted:

a) Other forms of employment at SLU: accepted only if a contract is drawn up between the doctoral student and the head of department. The contract shall ensure that the time allocated for third-cycle studies as part of the employment is sufficient for the studies to be completed within the stipulated time (HEO Chapter 7 Section 36). 
 
b) Employment with another employer (company, university or other government agency). If a contract is drawn up between the employer, doctoral student and head of department, doctoral students may be admitted using this form of funding. The contract shall ensure that the time allocated for third-cycle studies as part of the employment is sufficient for the studies to be completed within the stipulated time (HEO Chapter 7 Section 36). If the PhD student will be "industridoktorand" this template can be used for forming the aggreement.

Doctoral students from international universities taking part in research projects funded by Sida must be employed by their home university. The contract between Sida, SLU and the foreign universities governs the funding of the doctoral students' financial support and other costs. 
 
c) Scholarships
SLU accepts funding through scholarships until such a date when, according to the individual study plan, the remaining period of study corresponds to three years of full-time study before the award of a doctorate. There are restrictions on the types of scholarships that are accepted, for more information please read the SLU admission regulations for doctoral education. 

 

Joint and double degrees

Preparing and planning educational cooperation intended to result in a joint degree is a complex process that often takes a long time.

Educational cooperation aiming at a joint degree must be regulated by a written agreement. Both the Higher Education Ordinance and SLU's own guidelines stipulate special requirements that must be fulfilled.

About joint degrees

Guidelines for joint and double degrees - policy and rules that apply when two or more universities wish to set up a doctoral programme aiming at a joint degree.

About double degrees

Educational cooperation may also lead to a double degree. 

Information on travel grants for international cooperation is available from the Grants office.

Instructions for interviews


At least the top-ranked applicant must be interviewed, following the instructions below.

Time and place

The interview shall be held a meeting where the applicant, the prospective supervisor and preferably one of the department's doctoral students participate. It is recommended but not compulsory with doctoral student participation in the recruitment process. The doctoral student representative should answer any questions from the applicant regarding doctoral education in Sweden, at SLU and the department, but she/he is not expected to be involved in the hiring decision.  If no doctoral student representative is present at the interview meeting, the prospective supervisor should provide the applicant with contact information to one of the current doctoral students at the department, for answering questions from the applicant. 

The applicant and the prospective supervisor should meet in person, but the doctoral students may participate via video or telephone if the interview is not performed at SLU.  The applicant and the prospective supervisor could, in special circumstances, perform the interview using video-link. The head of department may grant exemption from the normal procedure of a personal meeting between the applicant and the prospective supervisor.

Invitation to the interview

The time of interview is determined together with the applicant. The applicant must receive a written invitation to the interview. The invitation should state the general purpose of the interview, its scale, form, time, place and participants. The invitation must also describe how the results of the interview will be documented and used, as well as the final steps of the admission process. It is also possible to ask the applicant to prepare a brief presentation of no more than 10 minutes.

Costs for travel and accomodation

Any costs for the applicant's travel and accomodation expenses caused by the interview will be paid by the department.

Summary of the interview

A written summary of the interview, with comments on the applicant's language skills and collaborative and educational potential is signed by the prospective supervisor. The summary is used as a basis for the justification for proposing the candiate for admission. This justification has to be attached to the application when it is sent to the faculty board.

Interview structure

At least two hours should be set aside for the interview. The interview should include the following:

  • Presentation of participants.
  • A brief presentation of SLU, the department, its research, education and the planned form of financing.
  • Questions from the applicant.
  • Questions from the supervisor and others, based on the applicant's Master's dissertation or equivalent; previous education; the forthcoming thesis work and other overarching issues etc. This should lead to a discussion that will give sufficient information about the applicant's educational potential, own ideas and interests.

The discussion also aims to ensure that it is the applicant who is the author of the documentary evidence, usually a Master's dissertation, which it submitted as an appendix to the application.

Letter of acknowledgment


If the applicant will be supported by a personal scholarship, a copy of the letter of acknowledgement sent to the applicant must be attached to the application. Only letters of acknowledgement drafted using the template intended for the purpose will be accepted.

The letter of acknowledgement is also available as a Word file.


To whom it may concern

Letter of acknowledgement

 

I have received your request and understand that you are interested in the doctoral education at SLU.

This letter acknowledges that you are an interesting applicant for our PhD programme. Consequently, you are welcome to provide us with information according to the list below so we can proceed with the evaluation.

Please observe that this letter is no guarantee that you will be admitted to a PhD programme at SLU. If the evaluation of your credentials is favourable, the last step in the evaluation is a face-to-face interview that normally takes places at SLU. If this is the case, you will receive a formal invitation. Any travel expenses will be paid by us. If, after the interview, the applicant and the department wish to proceed with the evaluation, the next step is for the application to be approved by the faculty board. For additional information about the admission procedure, please see the SLU Admission regulation.

  

…………………………………………………………

Xx Head of department xx at SLU

 

Please mark below if the requested information is attached:

  1. Curriculum vitae with certified copies of examination certificates, course certificates etc.
  2. One copy of the dissertation for your Master's or Bachelor's degree, or an equivalent independently produced paper.
  3. Certified knowledge of the English language equivalent to English B in the Swedish educational system, or an international test such as TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge ESOL. More information can be found at www.universityadmissions.se
  4. Certified copy of your passport.
  5. List with personal references with contact information.
  6. Draft of the contract regulating your stipend that you and the donator will sign.
Page editor: lotta.jaderlund@slu.se