University of Gothenburg

About doctoral studies

Keen to study at the postgraduate level? Then our postgraduate program is for you! Here you will find information about the PhD program in Social Work as well as information about the application and admissions process.

Doctoral studies in a nutshell

Doctoral studies comprise 240 higher education credits and lead to the Degree of Doctor in Social Work. The duration of doctoral studies is four years (full-time study).

The goal of doctoral studies is for the student to develop the knowledge and skills required to be able to independently conduct research in social work or perform other qualified professional work. As a doctoral student, you contribute to the development of knowledge in the subject area through the production of a scholarly thesis.

An additional goal of our doctoral studies is that students should acquire a sound knowledge of how to plan and implement research projects. During your studies, you develop your communication and teaching skills, preparing you to express yourself well both in speech and writing, within and outside of academia. Our courses are also intended to develop your international contacts through, for example, participation in international research conferences or by attending a higher education institution abroad where applicable.

For those who are considering applying for admission to our doctoral studies, it is important to bear in mind that your studies require a high degree of independence where you are responsible to a large extent for the planning and implementation of your studies.

Entry requirements and selection

Information about intended learning outcomes, entry requirements, admission, the selection process, and the structure of doctoral studies can be found in the General syllabus for third-cycle programs in social work.

Application and admissions

Students are admitted to doctoral studies in Social Work every two years, and also in individual cases after advertising a doctoral studentship in specific research projects or as a collaborating doctoral student in cooperation with an employer operating in the field of social work.

Doctoral positions are advertised on the University’s portal for vacant positions.

A drafting committee reads and assesses the applicants’ qualifications and submitted papers. The drafting committee makes a final selection and submits its proposal to the Head of Department, who makes the decision. Decisions on admission to doctoral studies cannot be appealed.

Being a doctoral student

At present, the Department of Social Work has about 30 doctoral students. As a doctoral student, you also participate in the other activities of the Department. You can participate in the Department’s teaching and learning activities as a teacher in courses and study programs, as well as in a variety of forums for organizational development. At the Department of Social Work, there is a Doctoral Students’ Council that looks after current issues related to doctoral students. 

Being an employed doctoral student at the University of Gothenburg means that you receive a salary and are covered by the Swedish social security system. A doctoral student’s salary has its own set of contractual increases, which is referred to as the doktorandstegen (doctoral salary ladder). Once the doctoral student has completed 50 percent and 80 percent of their studies, respectively, by their study plan, their salary increases by the doctoral salary ladder that applies at the University of Gothenburg. 

Read more about the doctoral salary ladder on the Staff Portal of the University of Gothenburg

Doctoral dissertations and courses

In consultation with the supervisors, students choose whether they will write a monograph, which consists of one coherent text, or write a compilation thesis, consisting of several scholarly articles with a summarising introductory chapter. 

In addition to writing a thesis, doctoral students also study courses with other doctoral students in the department.   At the moment the department does not offer doctoral courses in English, but English-speaking doctoral students can try courses offered at other departments and universities, as well as universities abroad. 

Doctoral seminars – the heart of Doctoral studies

As a doctoral student, you broaden your knowledge by participating in various forms of seminars. Your thesis project will also be discussed at three seminars during your studies. The purpose of these seminars is to get support in your work process from colleagues in the Department. As a doctoral student at the Department of Social Work, you also have the opportunity to participate in the Department’s research networks and national and international conferences.