A higher education institution (HEI) may admit doctoral students with funding other than a doctoral studentship, doctoral grant or a stipend; this is often a student grant or various forms of external funding.

This is provided that the HEI’s assessment is that the funding can be guaranteed for the entire period of study and that the student can spend enough time studying to complete studying within four years for a licentiate degree, and eight years for a doctoral degree.

Student grants

A student grant may not be awarded for third-cycle education if the student is or has been employed as a doctoral student, or has received a doctoral grant (Act on Student Finance, Chapter 3, Section 25).

In other cases, a student grant can be awarded for third-cycle education. CSN (the Swedish Board of Student Finance) also reviews the results of students in third-cycle education. A doctoral student with a full student grant is counted as a full-time student when calculating the net study period.

A student grant provides no social security benefits, apart from the grant itself being the basis for a pension. The amount used as the basis of a pension is 138 per cent of the grant, i.e. almost SEK 25,000 annually.

The period with a student grant can be extended in case of sickness. If you receive a student grant you should therefore always register a period of sickness with Försäkringskassan (the Swedish Social Insurance Agency). If you are sick for a continuous period that is longer than 30 days, the loan is written off from the 31st day (i.e. a qualifying period of 30 days). It is also important to be able to certify that you have been sick if you have problems achieving the necessary results, or if you study for too many semesters. Försäkringskassan informs CSN of all sick periods for students with student grants.

Financing with a student loan limits the period of more beneficial funding. A two-year student loan means that it is not possible to have a full-time doctoral studentship for more than two years.

CSN

Försäkringskassan

External funding

It is not unusual for doctoral grants, doctoral studentships and stipends to be funded by a body external to the HEI. External financiers could include research councils, research foundations, industry bodies, the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences (RJ), business, municipalities and county councils. A significant amount of this money also comes from public funding.

The rules for doctoral students whose employment, grants or stipends are externally funded are the same as for those who are funded by the HEI. However, only those who have a doctoral grant are entitled to be employed on a doctoral studentship, after applying, when no less than the equivalent of three years of full-time studies remains (according to the individual study plan). See Chapter 5, Sections 4 of the Higher Education Ordinance.

Externally employed doctoral students

The doctoral students with the best financial situation are perhaps those who are externally employed. They have a job in business or industry, but may study as part of their employment and keep their salary. Some externally employed doctoral students conduct their entire education at their workplace, while others spend most of the time at the HEI. The doctoral student often has one supervisor at the workplace and one at the HEI.

An externally employed doctoral student has the opportunity to combine experiences and resources from a number of places, but there is a risk that the doctoral student will be caught between two tasks – that of the researcher and that of the employee. There can be pressure to focus on issues that are close to the employer’s field of interest.

Other employment

The HEI may also admit applicants who have some other form of funding. According to Chapter 5, Section 8 of the Higher Education Ordinance, the HEI may employ teaching, research and clinical assistants.

Assistant

Employment as an assistant may be no more than 40 per cent of a full-time post. Work may include teaching, administration or participation in research or artistic work. Only people who receive doctoral grants may be employed as an assistant. Assistants are employed until further notice for a maximum of one year. The post may be renewed.

Teaching assistant

Employment as a teaching assistant may be no more than 50 per cent of a full-time post. Work may include teaching, administration or participation in research or artistic work. Only people who have been admitted to first or second-cycle education (Bachelor’s or Master’s) may be employed as a teaching assistant. Assistants must be employed until further notice, for at least one year. The post may be renewed. The total period of employment may be no longer than three years.

Clinical assistant

A clinical assistant must work in clinical research and education. Only a person who has been awarded a medical or dentistry degree, or who has already been admitted to third-cycle education in medicine or odontology, may be employed as a clinical assistant. Clinical assistants must be employed until further notice, for a maximum of one year. The post may be renewed. The total period of employment may be no longer than three years.

Lecturers, research assistants and hourly-paid teachers

In 2011, lecturers, research assistants and hourly-paid teachers disappeared as teacher categories in the Higher Education Ordinance. Each HEI can now establish its own teacher categories. In order for the position of lecturer to exist, each HEI must make a local decision, partly to establish the position and partly to decide eligibility and the rules that apply to the position.

Page last updated 2017-09-28