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OPEN POSITIONS Doctoral student in Educational Sciences

The Department of Education, Communication and Learning is part of the Faculty of Education at the University of Gothenburg. Education is provided in the first, second and third cycles (Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD level). The Department’s primary programmes are those in pre-school education and primary education with a specialisation in afterschool programmes. The Department consists of three complete academic environments, i.e. environments comprising education, research and outreach: Child and Youth Studies, Early Childhood Education and Learning and IT. There are different research groups and projects within each of these academic environments. For more information about the department, see

The PhD position is a four-year position in Educational Sciences attached to the Swedish Research Council funded project Social Dimensions of Expertise Development in Networked Communities (SOCDEX). The project aims at better understanding how online communities contribute to expertise development by combining the expertise research paradigm with a socio-cultural perspective and emerging digital methods. It focuses on the case of expertise development in programming as people interact on the popular Stack Overflow platform, unpacking how expertise is shared, recognised and developed in online communities as part of lifelong learning. More information about the project can be found here:

The announced PhD Candidate position will be situated within the Learning and IT Group (@gothenburggroup) at the Department of Education, Communication and Learning. The group drives research, education and cooperation with civil society in a wide variety of forms with an interest is the ways digitalisation and access to information reform learning contexts and what these shifts mean for our view of learning and knowledge. With a range of approaches and a strong international network of collaborators, the common denominator in the work of the group is a critical approach informed through empirically-grounded studies of the relationships among digital technologies, education and learning. More information about the group can be found here:

Job assignments

As a PhD Candidate in the SOCDEX project, you will contribute to the overall project while taking responsibility for the sub-studies that will form your dissertation. Your dissertation will consist of a series of sub-studies published in international venues. You will negotiate the specific topics for these sub-studies as you become involved in the project, but they should fit within the overall themes and aims of the project. Since the working language of the Stack Overflow platform is English and broad international dissemination of results is a goal of the project, you will be expected to publish in English. The project involves several research methods including interviews, surveys and digital methods to analyse the activity of StackOverflow participants. Given this diversity of qualitative and quantitative methods, you will have the opportunity to work to develop skills in a variety of different approaches as part of your dissertation. While programming knowledge is not required, you will be expected to learn some digital methods that will involve developing at least basic programming skills while also developing in other areas such as virtual ethnography and interaction analysis.

As a PhD Candidate, you will also be expected to actively participate in the academic culture of the research group, department and university more broadly through such activities as workshops, seminars and colloquiums. You may also be asked to undertake a limited amount of teaching, administration or research not directly connected to your dissertation topic (max 20%). Such duties will extend the length of the position accordingly.


The requirements for admission to third-cycle courses and study programmes are that the applicant, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 7, Section 35 of the Higher Education Ordinance, meets the general and specific entry requirements and is considered in other respects to have the ability required to benefit from the course or study programme.

General entry requirements

According to Chapter 7, Section 39 of the Higher Education Ordinance, a person meets the general entry requirements if he or she has been awarded a second-cycle qualification, or has satisfied the requirements for courses comprising at least 240 higher education credits of which at least 60 credits were awarded at the second-cycle level.

Eligible applicants include those who have acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

Specific entry requirements

A person meets the specific entry requirements if he or she has 90 higher education credits in education, of which at least 30 credits were awarded in the second-cycle, including an independent project (degree project) comprising at least 15 higher education credits.

Eligible applicants include those who have acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.


Selection between applicants who meet the basic requirements and specific qualifications will be based on an assessment of an applicant’s ability to successfully complete the doctoral programme.

Selection will be based on the following criteria:

- Quality of the submitted theses or thesis and scientific article.

- Quality of the submitted research plan related to the SOCDEX project.

Research plans that are not related the  SOCDEX project will not be considered and such applications will be removed from consideration.

Admission takes place in competition on the basis of a combined assessment of the applicant’s submitted documents. Assessment of the applicant’s ability to complete doctoral studies will guide the decision. Key for this assessment are the results of earlier thesis work or alternatively thesis work and scientific article writing, together with a clearly formulated research plan where the applicant articulates a possible plan for a dissertation project within the scope of the SOCDEX project.

The dissertation research plan will be evaluated based on its scientific relevance, as well as on whether or not it raises motivated and researchable questions and presents reasonable methods for their examination.

Beyond meeting the admissions criteria for doctoral studies in education, it is desirable that the successful applicant has an academic background in a social sciences discipline such as pedagogy, psychology, sociology or anthropology while at the same time demonstrating an interest in technology and digitalization.

Documented experience of analyzing social situations that involve technology and an interest for online learning are a merit. The successful applicant is expected to have a background that is relevant for the task of investigating expertise development through social interaction i online groups.

With this in mind, applications should clearly show which specific and relevant knowledge, skills and experience an applicant has for contributing to the SOCDEX project. Due to the international character of the project focus and to publication goals, the successful applicant is expected to have good abilities in both spoken and written English.

Applicants who are invited to an interview will be asked to read a scientific article and then write a short text in English that proposes how the article might be relevant for the themes of the SOCDEX project. This text will also be considered in the admission process.

Applications are evaluated by an admissions panel, admission decisions are made by the head of department and cannot be appealed.

Regulations of employment as doctoral student can be found in chapter 5 of the Higher Education Regulation (SFS 1998:80). Only those who are simultaneously admitted to doctoral studies can be employed as a doctoral student.


The position is a temporary position of four years according to the Higher Education Ordinance with an extent of 100 %. The employment is located at the University of Gothenburg, at the department of Education, Communication and Learning. First day of employment is by agreement.

Regulations for the evaluation of qualifications for education on a doctoral level are given in SFS 1998:80.

Only those who are admitted to postgraduate education may be appointed to the position. In addition to the obligation to pursue his / her own postgraduate education, the holder may be required to perform duties relating to education, research and administrative work in accordance with particular provisions in the regulation.

A new employment as a PhD student applies for a maximum of one year. The Appointment may be prolonged for up to two years at a time. The total employment period may not be longer than the equivalent of four years of full time doctoral studies.

The University applies the current local agreement on the salaries of graduate students.

For further information regarding the position

About the project:
Thomas Hillman, Primary investigator
+46 (0)31-786 2205

About the department and PhD-studies:
Cecilia Wallerstedt, Head of department
+46 (0)31-786 3272

About the application process:
Kristin Martinsson, Administrative manager
+46 (0)31-786 2344


Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg:

Application process

You apply for admission to doctoral studies via the University of Gothenburg recruitment portal by clicking on the ‘Apply’ button. As applicant, you are responsible for ensuring that your application is completed in accordance with this announcement and that it is received by the university on the final application day at the latest.

Applications should include the following: 

  1. Curriculum Vitae
  2. Study documents that provide evidence that basic and specific requirements have been met (Extracts from LADOK or other official study documents)
  3. Max two research related texts where one is a thesis equivalent to at least 15 credits at the master’s level. For example, an undergraduate and a master’s thesis or a scientific article and a master’s thesis. If a required text has been written by more than one author, the applicant’s individual contribution must be described.
  4. Research plan, max six A4 pages (for guidelines see the assessment section)
  5. References (optional)
  6. Other merits that the applicant would like to include.

Any documents that are not available in electronic format should be mailed to:

Göteborgs universitet
Institutionen för pedagogik, kommunikation och lärande (IPKL)
Kristin Martinsson
Box 300, 405 30 Göteborg


Closing date: 2019-08-08



The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 47 500 students and 6 400 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.

In connection to this recruitment, we have already decided which recruitment channels we should use. We therefore decline further contact with vendors, recruitment and staffing companies.

Page Manager:|Last update: 2/23/2017

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