Doctoral studies at SLU

Last changed: 07 June 2023

Doctoral studies at SLU train students to become skilled independent researchers.

It is an education with courses and various other educational activities, but most of the time is devoted to research work.

The doctoral student runs a project with the help of two or more supervisors. Initially, the doctoral student is dependent on the supervisors, but as the project progresses the doctoral student becomes the driving force behind the project and the supervisors are given the role of adviser.

Within the project, the doctoral student will

  • find the latest research results,
  • contact others who work in the field,
  • plan trials and set-ups,
  • apply for funding and make budget plans,
  • write reports and articles,
  • collaborate with various groups and/or individuals.

During the experiments, the doctoral student usually acts as team leader for technical staff. The training of pedagogical skills through teaching and presentations of research, both for other researchers at national and international conferences and for non-academics, is an important part of the education.

If you would like to read more about doctoral education at SLU, please visit the staff webb pages. 

PhD student councils

At SLU, all doctoral students belong to one of four PhD councils.  Each council is linked to faculty.

LTV Faculty - PhD student council - Alnarps studentkår (ASK)

NJ Faculty - PhD student council - Ultuna studentkår (ULS)

S Faculty - PhD student council - Skogshögskolans studentkår (SHS)

VH Faculty - PhD student council - Veterinärmedicinska föreningen (VMF)

These councils monitor the quality of the university's doctoral programmes. Read more about the PhD councils.

Time frame

Doctoral education normally comprises four years of full-time studies. However, it is quite common for doctoral students to teach at undergraduate level or have other duties at the department in parallel with the education. This means that it may take five years to complete the education.

Doctoral education

Doctoral education is independent and flexible. Your own responsibility is significant. Together with your supervisors you create an individual study plan at the start of the training. The plan specifies the work, and contains a time and financing plan.

Licentiate degree

You may also choose a doctoral education of two years, and this will lead to a licentiate degree. 

Employment as doctoral student


The examination is both written (the thesis) and oral (the public defence). The thesis is reviewed by an examining committee, which is also involved in the public defence. It is a public seminar, when an external reviewer discusses the dissertation content with you. When all the parts are approved, you will receive your doctoral degree and the title doctor.


Directors of studies at the LTV Faculty:

Helene Larsson Jönsson, Alnarp. Phone: 040-415370. 
Åsa Klintborg Ahlklo, Alnarp. Phone: 040-415421.

Directors of studies at the NJ Faculty:

Elisabet Lewan, Uppsala, Phone: 018-67 26 29.
Robert Glinwood, Uppsala, Phone: 018-67 23 42.


Vice dean for doctoral studies at the S Faculty:

Göran Spong, Umeå. Phone: 0730-350641

Director of studies at the VH Faculty:

Carl-Gustaf Thulin, Uppsala. Phone: 0705-64 53 58


General information on doctoral studies at university level:

Lotta Jäderlund or Eva Stening