Become a PhD student at the Faculty of Science
As a PhD student at the Faculty of Science, you will work with prominent researchers in an international and innovative environment. Doctoral studies offer you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a subject and at the same time expand your scientific horizons. The faculty currently has approximately 200 PhD students in five different subject areas.
The faculty offers PhD students the opportunity to work both in the field, and in modern laboratories as well as theoretically. You also will be able to make contacts with other universities and organisations, nationally and internationally.
As a PhD student at the Faculty of Science, you conduct your own doctoral studies, with the support of one or more supervisors. To ensure high standards of supervision, all faculty examiners and supervisors have taken the University’s supervisor courses and a special examiner and supervisor course at the faculty.
During your education
Doctoral studies comprise 240 higher education credits, which corresponds to four years of full-time studies. Since the PhD employment also include other work at the department, such as teaching in undergraduate programmes, it often takes five years to complete a doctoral education. You can also take a Degree of Licentiate after 120 credits.
Being a PhD student at the faculty allows you a lot of freedom to pursue your education, and you will have the opportunity to shape your studies based on your own interests. For a doctorate, you need to complete the equivalent of 60–90 credits through courses or other regulated activities. This gives you broader knowledge in your subject and in more generic skills like academic writing, research ethics and statistical methods. You devote the remainder of your education to autonomous scientific work on your dissertation. As a PhD student, you need to be self-motivated and dare to take the initiative. When you have completed your doctoral studies, you can apply for a Degree of Doctor, which is the highest academic degree.
Important roles in doctorial studies
- Supervisor: Supervisors play a key role in your doctoral studies.
Supervisors has a responsibility for the successful progression of the doctoral student's research project (dissertation work) and that other activities are suitably planned. The person who will have the main, ongoing responsibility of supervision to ensure progression, will be appointed your principal supervisor.
- Examiner: The doctoral examiner’s main task is to monitor the progression of the PhD education, ie. to ensure that the learning objectives in the Higher Education Ordinance can be met. Courses and activities that you, as doctoral student, and your supervisor have identified as appropriate, must be approved by the doctoral examiner before they start, and when completed, the doctoral examiner decide upon the scores
- Head of department: The highest-ranking manager of the department’s staff and in charge of the department’s leadership. The head of department is also responsible for the physical and psychosocial work environment.
- Director of studies for postgraduate education:Coordinates postgraduate education issues at the department.
- Director of Studies for first-cycle education:
- Directors of studies are responsible for planning, administrating and following of first-cycle education, where you may be working.
- Council of Postgraduate Students: Council of Postgraduate Students at the departments and the faculty level monitors the interests and wishes of the doctoral students and is often advisory to the department management, and the faculty board respectively.
Objectives for doctoral studies
Through your studies, you will gain in-depth knowledge in your research domain and acquire cutting-edge knowledge in a specific specialisation. This means that you will master scholarly theories and be able to formulate questions and choose appropriate methods for your research.
When you complete your education, you will have honed your ability to plan your time, independently analyse your research results and critically review new complex issues and situations. With the educational tools you have gained through your studies, you will also have the skills to impart knowledge and teach students. You will also have learned the art of communicating your research, both in national and international contexts within the research community and for the public.
Strong research and unique research environments
The faculty conducts research in several different fields: everything from basic research in physics, mathematics and chemistry to more applied research in climate, life sciences and biodiversity. Marine research at the faculty ranks among the top in Europe. The University has a unique standing in conservation. It is the only higher education institution in Sweden that has the natural sciences as a research perspective in subjects related to the humanities, social sciences, the arts, architecture and crafts.
As a PhD student at the Faculty of Science, you will have access to research environments with research facilities meeting high international standards. Most of the faculty’s buildings are located on three campuses in central Gothenburg and one in Mariestad, which offers modern lab environments and advanced equipment. Mariestad has a brickyard, a builder’s yard and a plant nursery for conservation activities. The faculty also owns two marine research stations along the coast of Bohuslän and one research vessel. In addition to these settings in Gothenburg and the surrounding area, your dissertation project, depending on subject and specialisation, can also take you to exotic places such as the Antarctic, the Amazon, the Pacific or our own Latnjajaure in the far north of Sweden.
To find out more, visit the faculty’s research pages.
Good work environment
As a PhD student, you are employed by the University. The University strives to maintain a good work environment. The work environment is everything that affects you at work, how we thrive here and help others thrive and perform well. Our goal with work environment efforts is to create healthy workplaces where no one becomes ill or injured at work. While you can contact your department about work environment issues, as a PhD student you are also able to contact the Council of Postgraduate Students in the Sciences about your work environment.
Collaborations and networks
The faculty works closely with other higher education institutions both nationally and internationally. Our closest collaboration is with Chalmers University of Technology, with which certain parts of our organisations have been integrated. The faculty also works with other organisations, such as Sahlgrenska University Hospital and Astra Zeneca. Collaborations also commonly occur among different disciplines, which advance research in interesting and unforeseen directions.
Doctoral students at the faculty arranged their own poster conference for two consecutive years, 2018 and 2020. The main aim was to allow PhD students from different departments to meet to share their work and to find interdisciplinary collaborations. Hopefully the PhD students will arrange this event again after the corona pandemic has come to an end. Courses also give you the opportunity to meet PhD students studying other subjects at the faculty, but who have a similar work and life situation as yourself.
Part of the world around us
Doctoral studies have an international character. Half of our PhD students and one third of our researchers come from other countries. In addition, the faculty has several international collaborations with other universities and partners outside Sweden. This means one of the requirements for those applying for a doctoral studentship is a documented good command of English.
The faculty has long worked on sustainable development. The University of Gothenburg was one of the first universities in Sweden to be environmentally certified. We have received the highest marks in the Swedish Higher Education Authority’s assessment of the work of universities and university colleges to promote sustainable development in education. If you are planning to become a researcher in sustainable development, you have come to the right place. A lot of research at the faculty is conducted in the field of sustainable development, and as a PhD student, you will have the opportunity to work with prominent researchers in the field.
Career and job opportunities
A doctorate is a sought-after qualification in the labour market. You will find good opportunities for work after receiving your degree. Expertise in the natural sciences is highly valued in both the private and public sectors and in academia.
The faculty’s follow-up of PhD students who graduated 10 years ago (2004/2014; 2007/2017; 2010/2021) shows that a third work as a researcher or university lecturer today. Of those who work outside academia, most have careers in industry. One fifth of those who completed their dissertation 10 years ago currently work abroad.