Doctoral student in social work

Ref PAR 2022/1723

The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 56 000 students and 6 600 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.

The Department of Social Work is announcing a number of third-cycle (doctoral) positions.

Form of employment: Fixed-term employment, four years of full-time studies. Full-time employment (100 %).

Placement: The Department of Social Work, Gothenburg.

Admission: Beginning of September 2023

The Department of Social Work is at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Gothenburg. The Department offers expansive and dynamic research characterised by a high level of social commitment and contacts with universities around the world. The Department, which has over 120 employees, of which 35 are doctoral students, also offers programmes at first, second and third cycle, with social work as the main subject for the Social Work Programme at second cycle in family therapy education and credentialling education for social workers, as well as other continuing professional development.

Social work as a research discipline is concerned with the living conditions of vulnerable individuals and groups, social interventions, social policy measures and social processes. Our research is conducted within the framework of a number of research areas that include studies of social problems, their causes and consequences for individuals, groups and society, and all our researchers and doctoral students are active on one or other of the Department’s research platforms.

The third-cycle study programme comprises 240 credits in total (four years of full-time studies) and ends with a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree. The programme covers 65 course credits within the framework of the research programme and 175 dissertation credits. Within the framework of their studies, the doctoral student is also expected to participate in seminars and contribute to the joint activities of the Department. Studies are to be conducted full time unless special circumstances exist, in which case the study rate shall not be reduced by more than 50%. The doctoral studentship incorporates departmental duties (especially teaching) of up to 20% of a full-time position distributed over the entire study period. Following implementation of departmental duties, the duration of the research appointment will be extended accordingly.

Job assignments 

A third-cycle study programme equates to four years of full-time studies and leads to a Degree of Doctor. During the programme, the doctoral student is expected to plan and carry out a thesis part and a course part, with compulsory and elective third-cycle courses in accordance with both a general curriculum and an individual study plan. During the period as a doctoral student, the thesis will be presented and discussed on at least three seminar occasions. The programme ends with the doctoral student’s public defence of their thesis.

The general curriculum and other information about third-cycle studies in Social Work are available here.

Entry requirements

General entry requirements
General entry requirements for third-cycle (doctoral) level, pursuant to the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance, Chapter 7, Section 39. The applicant must have earned a second-cycle degree, completed course requirements totalling at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits must be at second-cycle level, or have acquired equivalent knowledge in some other manner.

Specific entry requirements
To gain admission to third-cycle education in social work requires the following additional qualifications:

Degree of Bachelor of Science in Social Work, 210 credits, as well as at least 60 credits at second cycle level, which must include a scholarly work of at least 15 credits, or have acquired knowledge that satisfies the above-mentioned requirements in some other manner.

Assessment criteria

The selection amongst applicants is done on the basis of an assessment of the applicant’s ability to benefit from third-cycle education and the ability of the Department to offer academic supervision, in light of the applicant’s preliminary research focus, as well as to provide a good research environment for the planned work relating to the dissertation.

The assessment will consider the research plan annexed to the application, previous academic papers and other works, as well as other educational and research qualifications. Based on these, an assessment will be made of the relevance of the project to the subject of social work, as well as the ability of the applicant to benefit from third-cycle education.

The research plan (maximum three pages) should indicate the research domain that the applicant wishes to study, with relevant research questions, justify its relevance, and discuss the theories, methods and materials which may be used. The plan must show possible areas of focus for the applicant’s dissertation-related work and serve as a basis for assessing the applicant’s ability to identify interesting research questions and deal with relevant methodological considerations in relation to the project planned. Please use the headings ‘Description of the Problem/Problem Area’, ‘Purpose’, ‘Justification of the Relevance of the Research Domain’, and ‘Theories, Methods and Materials’.

The assessment of the application is primarily based on the ability of the applicant to formulate, delimit and analyse research material, as well as present the results of research. Experience of professional social work is considered a useful qualification. The selection process includes interviews. We welcome applications that focus on one or more of the research areas of poverty, income support, exercise of public authority, addiction and dependence, and the elderly. Other qualifications being equal among applicants, applications with one of these research areas will be given priority.

The applications are assessed and ranked by a special assessment group at the Department of Social Work. The Head of the Department makes the final admission decision and it cannot be appealed.

Places in this educational programme can also be given to applicants who are employed by another employer who will be financing the applicant’s studies. These students are known as collaboration doctoral students (Sw. Samverkansdoktorand), and are subject to the same admissions criteria as other applicants. A separate agreement will be signed by the employer and the Department.

The provisions governing doctoral student employment can be found in Ordinance 1998:80. Only persons who have gained admission to third-cycle (doctoral) education may be appointed to these positions.

Other matters

The third-cycle courses given by the Department are primarily conducted in Swedish, as are seminars. A good knowledge of English is also important in order to be able to benefit from this third-cycle programme in its entirety.

Read more about this programme in the General Curriculum for Third-Cycle Education in Social Work (Sw. Allmänna studieplanen för utbildning på forskarnivå i socialt arbete) that can be found at:

Contact information regarding the position

Sandra Stén Böll, Postgraduate Studies Administrator, +46 31 786 19 00

Frida Petersson, Deputy Department Head responsible for third-cycle education, +46 31 786 63 83, 0766-18 63 83

Ida Kjellberg, Doctoral Student, Chair of the Department’s Doctoral Student Council

Matilda Karlsson, Doctoral Student, Chair of the Department’s Doctoral Student Council

Department website:

Trade unions

For trade union representatives at the University of Gothenburg, see: 


Application deadline 9 February

You apply for admission to third-cycle studies via the University of Gothenburg recruitment portal by clicking on the button marked ‘Ansök’ (Apply). Applicants are responsible for ensuring that their applications are complete as described in the advertisement and sent to the University no later than the application deadline.

A complete application must include the following

  1. A cover letter of not more than 500 words (about one page). This letter should contain (a) a short presentation of yourself, (b) a short presentation of your qualifications and (c) a short presentation of your research project.
  2. A CV, including a list of qualifications with substantiating documents, as well as a list of publications.
  3. Academic papers and independent projects, as well as other relevant works.
  4. A research plan of no more than three pages.
  5. Certified copies of diplomas and proof of specific entry requirements.
  6. Description and proof of relevant qualifications, such as participation in research, assessment and similar development work.

Documents, certificates, publications and similar not in electronic form must be posted to:

University of Gothenburg
The Department of Social Work
Att: Sandra Stén Böll
Box 720
405 30 Gothenburg

State reference number PAR 2022/1723

The University actively promotes a work environment characterised by gender equality and values those qualities that diversity contributes.

The University applies a local agreement regarding the setting of salaries for doctoral students. The initial salary for doctoral students is currently SEK 28,675 per month.

According to the regulations of the National Archives of Sweden, the University is required to keep application documents on file for two years following the employment decision. If an applicant requests their documents back, they will be returned after the two years have passed. Otherwise, they will be disposed of.

The University works actively to achieve a working environment with equal conditions, and values the qualities that diversity brings to its operations.

Salaries are set individually at the University.

In accordance with the National Archives of Sweden’s regulations, the University must archive application documents for two years after the appointment is filled. If you request that your documents are returned, they will be returned to you once the two years have passed. Otherwise, they will be destroyed.

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.