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PhD Handbook

Doctoral Studies at the Sociology of Law Department

Table of contents

What are PhD studies?

- The role of the Faculty of Social Sciences
- Entry requirements and admission

PhD courses and thesis work

- Doctoral seminars
- Defence of the doctoral thesis
- PhD courses

Teaching as a PhD student

- Higher education teacher training
- How teaching affects your employment

Terms of employment

- Welcome guide for international staff
- Introduction days
- Salary issues and extensions
- The university's rules and regulations
- Doctoral students’ council
- In case of illness
- Parental matters and benefits
- Work environment
- Benefits

Internal documents

Guide to Swedish academia



What are PhD studies?

Programmes leading to a doctoral degree (PhD) comprise 240 credits – a course component of 60 credits and a thesis component of 180 credits. For a doctoral degree, you write a research thesis (doctoral thesis) based on independent research that must be of a high scholarly standard. You publicly defended your thesis by the rules in the Higher Education Ordinance and local provisions for the Faculty of Social Sciences in Lund.

Doctoral studies follow a general syllabus established by the Sociology of Law departmental board and the faculty. Each PhD student follows an individual study plan (see information about electronic resources) that is revised annually. The revision should be done and signed by the head of department on 15 March every year.

The role of the Faculty of Social Sciences

The faculty is responsible for the coordination and quality assurance of doctoral studies. The Faculty Board determines issues such as the establishment and phasing out of subjects for PhD study programmes, general syllabi, as well as principles within the framework of Lund University’s decisions.

Here you will find information on PhD study programmes at the Faculty of Social Sciences – from general syllabus and courses to funding and supervision.

Entry requirements and admission

Vacancies for doctoral studentships in sociology of law are published on Lund University's main website. When you apply for a PhD position, we ask that you write a research plan. Look at our Research Plan Template to know what to include.

To be admitted, you must meet both the general and the specific entry requirements. The general entry requirements are a completed master’s degree or equivalent knowledge acquired in some other way. Additionally, you must have earned at least 30 credits in sociology of law in the second cycle, or acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or abroad. You must also have completed an independent degree project of at least 15 credits in the second cycle.

Each PhD student must have a funding plan covering the entire estimated period of study.

Mainly applicants employed under doctoral studentships are admitted to PhD studies leading to a doctoral degree. Lund University does not set up scholarships for doctoral studies. However, the study programme can be funded through a scholarship set up by an external agent, such as a municipality or research institute. It is also possible to be admitted if an external employer guarantees the salary, e.g. in the case of industry-employed doctoral students.

Lund University has its own rules of admission for PhD studies, which apply regardless of the faculty where you intend to do your PhD.

PhD courses and thesis work

PhD studies comprise 240 credits. The doctoral thesis, the core of the study programme, constitutes 180 credits – PhD courses make up the remaining 60 credits. The thesis can be written as a monograph or a compilation thesis in which different parts (in the form of academic papers) are compiled along with a summarising introduction.

During the first six months, the head of department in consultation with the PhD student and the director of doctoral studies appoints two to three supervisors. You and your principal supervisor establish and revise your individual study plan (ISP).

Below are guidelines for each year of the PhD programme at the Sociology of Law Department (PDFs). You can use these when creating and revising the ISP.

Doctoral seminars

There are three formal milestones to help you complete the various stages. Relatively early on in the work, you hold a start-up seminar. This is mainly an occasion to present the research issue to be addressed in the thesis project, but also its theoretical starting points and planned methodology. On completion of approximately half of the thesis work, there is a midway review seminar, where you present an introduction and a coherent extract from the future thesis. Two discussants are appointed, one senior researcher from the department or external, and one PhD candidate, to be special reviewers for the midway seminar. The last milestone is the final seminar before the public defence of the thesis.

All employed researchers are encouraged to take part in seminars as much as possible to enrich the research environment and disseminate interesting and topical information. The Sociology of Law Department arranges a series of research seminars, inviting both local and international researchers specialising in various areas of law and society. These seminars are normally open to the public.

Defence of the doctoral thesis

When you approach the final phase of the PhD studies (public defence of the thesis), you and the supervisors are to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. The department has therefore produced a quick reference guide and some local guidelines. The faculty has also produced a quick reference guide with reminders of the most important stages and actions for the final period leading up to the public defence. Below are links to the department and faculty quick reference guides and guidelines for the public defence of your doctoral thesis.

PhD courses

The course component comprises 60 credits. Of these, you must study at least 7.5 credits in the philosophy of science, at least 7.5 credits in socio-legal methodology, and at least 15 credits in socio-legal theory. You attain credits by taking common courses and individual courses, known as independent study courses. Courses are offered by the Sociology of Law Department (these are advertised internally) and by the Faculty of Social Sciences. There is also the possibility of creating a tailored reading course of 7.5 credits (see the document below).

You can also attend suitable courses outside your immediate environment. Courses organised around Sweden and in other countries can be integrated into your PhD studies. The costs of course participation outside the faculty are covered either by your funding or by other grants, which must be applied for.

You receive the course credits once you have completed and passed the course, and submitted appropriate course certificates to the director of doctoral studies, who registers the courses in Ladok.

The credits of completed second-cycle courses in the relevant subject can be transferred to the PhD studies subject by the decision of the director of doctoral studies. The credits form the basis for a reduction of the length of the doctoral studentship. Potential credit transfers are reviewed at your request.

Teaching as a doctoral student

In addition to your doctoral studies, you may be asked to teach in first and second-cycle education and/or take on administrative duties.

The director of first and second-cycle studies is primarily in charge of planning teaching duties for doctoral students. They will consult with you early on to find out your teaching interests, etc. We usually work with teaching teams on our various courses, which supports you when you start teaching. The director of first and second-cycle studies will also assist in various ways.

Higher education teacher training

A doctoral student engaged in teaching is to have undergone two weeks’ introductory training in teaching and learning in higher education, or to have acquired equivalent knowledge by some other means. This does not affect the admission procedure, but it entails that, before being assigned teaching duties, you will be offered an opportunity to attend a course (or the equivalent) comprising at least two weeks’ training in teaching and learning in higher education.

During your time as a PhD student, you will also have the opportunity to attend various courses in teaching and learning in higher education offered either by the faculty or by the University’s Division for Higher Education Development. They list all current courses in teaching and learning on their website. Your plan your teacher training in consultation with your supervisor and director of studies.

The University’s stated target is for all teaching staff employed until further notice to have undergone 10 weeks’ training in teaching and learning in higher education.

How teaching affects your employment

A doctoral studentship is 4 years long. Teaching and administration can make up 20% of full-time working hours at most. For time spent teaching and doing administration, you are compensated with an equivalent extension of the study period. If you are a doctoral student in sociology of law, you are also granted an extension for participation in courses in teaching and learning in higher education (equivalent to a maximum of 7.5 credits).

Terms of employment

As a doctoral student, you are employed for a fixed term at the Sociology of Law Department at Lund University. The Staff Pages offers a one-stop source of information answering FAQs about salary, sick leave, secondary employment and more.

Welcome guide for international staff

There is a guide for newly employed international staff containing advice and tips on everything from tax issues and how to open a bank account to options for healthcare and preschool.

Introduction days

An introduction will take place early in the first semester of your PhD studies. You meet and receive information from the head of department, director of doctoral studies, director of first and second cycle studies, human resources manager, health and safety representative and other people at the department. The faculty also organises introduction days for new doctoral students. In addition, you are invited to take part in the University’s introduction day for new employees. This event is normally organised once per semester. It addresses issues such as terms of employment, work environment, occupational health and employee organisations. It also includes an introduction to the large organisation that is Lund University and to its history.

Salary issues and extensions

There is a special salary scale for doctoral students. As a newly admitted doctoral student, you will normally receive an entry-level salary determined by the faculty. The doctoral student’s salary is increased in stages according to a salary ladder upon completion of 60 credits, 120 credits and 180 credits, respectively. It is the responsibility of the doctoral student to ensure that applications for salary increases are submitted when the necessary credits have been earned. The application is to be signed by the supervisor and the head of department and submitted to the HR coordinator at your department. The credits are to be calculated as 60 credits = one year of full-time studies within your PhD education in the form of doctoral courses and/or dissertation work. Time for departmental duties such as teaching and leave of absence is not included in the basis for the salary increase.

In addition to an extension on the grounds of teaching duties carried out at the department, an extension is also granted for sick leave and parental leave. Also some types of authorised leave of absence, but not all, can give rise to an extension (check in advance with the director of doctoral studies or the human resources manager). There are also rules for the extension of an employment period due to elected office within student organisations and bodies in which students are represented.

The University’s formal rules and regulations

Lund University’s online rules and regulations include all University-wide rules, such as regulations, general advice and guidelines which are decided by the University Board, the vice-chancellor, the head of University administration, and the bodies or functions within the central university administration that have been authorised to make such decisions.

Doctoral students’ council

You find information about the Social Science Doctoral Student Council, i.e. the PhD student representation at the faculty level, in their most recent guide for PhD students and postdocs.

In case of illness

You report illness directly to the human resources manager when you fall ill. Once you have recovered, you register your declaration of illness for the period of absence in Primula Web.

Parental matters and benefits

Parental leave entitles you to an extension of your doctoral studies.

Work environment

Lund University has a doctoral students’ union and a doctoral student ombudsman who provides advice, support and information during your time as a doctoral student.


You are entitled to various benefits as an employee of Lund University, including health promotion benefits.

Internal documents

You need permission to access the internal documents of the Sociology of Law PhD Handbook.

To the restricted internal section of the PhD handbook.

Guide to Swedish Academia

Young Academy of Sweden has produced a guide explaining higher education and research in Sweden.

Read A Beginner's Guide to Academia in Sweden (PDF, new tab)