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University of Gothenburg

Doctoral Studies at the Department of Social Work

Welcome to the Department of Social Work’s page on third-cycle education! So you would like to become a doctoral student in social work and contribute new knowledge in the field? That’s great news! Doctoral education in social work will deepen your knowledge and give you training in conducting original research. It will also develop your capacity for independent and critical thinking, with the goal of contributing new knowledge to the world at large.

Below is information about being a doctoral student with us and how you apply.

Applications and admissions

Students are admitted to doctoral studies in social work every two years.

The most recent admissions round ended on 12 February, 2019. The next admissions round is scheduled for January 2021, with studies due to start in the autumn semester of 2021.

Doctoral studies in a nutshell

Doctoral studies comprises 240 higher education credits and leads 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 you should acquire a sound knowledge of how to plan and implement research projects. During your studies, you develop your communication and teaching skills, learning about how to express yourself well in speech and writing – both within and outside of academia. Our courses are also intended to develop your international contacts through, for example, participation in international research conferences and a stay at 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 yourself 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 programmes in social work.

General syllabus for third-cycle programmes in social work

General syllabus for third-cycle programmes in social work (PDF)

Application and admission

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 studentships are advertised on the University’s portal for vacant positions. The most recent admissions round ended on 12 February, 2019. The next admissions round is scheduled for January 2021, with studies due to start in the autumn semester of 2021. 

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 programmes, as well as in a variety of forums for organisational 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 per cent and 80 per cent of their studies, respectively, in accordance with their individual study plan, their salary increases in accordance with 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 (information is only available in Swedish).

Doctoral dissertation and courses

In consultation with your supervisors, you choose whether you will write a monograph, which consists of one coherent text, or write what is termed a compilation thesis consisting of a number of scholarly articles with a summarising introductory chapter. 

In addition to writing a thesis, you also study courses with other doctoral students at the Department. You can also choose to study courses offered at other departments and universities, as well as at 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 own 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 in national and international conferences.