Doctoral studies in law consist of four years of full-time studies, leading to a Doctor of Laws Degree (LL.D). Most time is devoted to the writing of a thesis, normally in the form of a monograph that should not exceed 300 pages. In addition, two obligatory courses (see "Doctoral courses" in the menu) as well as the presentation of the research topic in seminars is required.

Doctoral studies are intended to educate new researchers in order to enable them to conduct independent research in academic institutions and elsewhere. As a doctoral candidate you should advance into an independent and critically analysing researcher while you are being educated in the scientific traditions. By improving your theoretical proficiency and methodological skills you should learn how to ask questions, reason, structure, analyse and reflect over your thesis topic.

The Faculty can only approve doctoral candidates for which there is sufficient financial support. Research studies are either financed through an employment contract with the Department of law or by external funding. The employment is held for the period of time equivalent to full-time study at licentiate/doctoral level. Research students may be required to carry out teaching activities, in which case their employment period can be extended to five years, depending on their teaching load. The employment contract is issued for one year at a time with the prospect for continuance as long as the research studies are performed in a satisfactory manner.

In case of external funding, the grant has to cover the costs for the whole period of research studies, i.e. four years in case of doctoral studies and two years for the licentiate level.

Qualification requirements

In order to meet the general entrance requirements to doctoral studies, the applicant must have completed a university degree with completed courses equivalent to at least 240 university credits, of which 60 credits must be at an advanced level, or otherwise have acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or elsewhere.

The specific entrance requirements are a completed juris kandidat/juristexamen (masters of laws) degree or the equivalent. Eligibility can also be granted to applicants who, through professional experience or other training are deemed to have acquired competence equivalent to that necessary to conduct studies at the post-graduate level, both in terms of academic skills as well as legal knowledge relevant to the research area. A successful applicant is to have a very high level of Swedish and good knowledge of English, or in the alternative, a very high level of English.

Information about research studies can also be found at the website of the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education.The interests of the doctoral and licentiate candidates are actively promoted by the Doctoral Candidate Council.

The syllabus for the programme for Research Studies will be published shortly.


The Research Committee of the Faculty of Law decides on admission. The selection among the eligible candidates is based on their deemed capacity to carry out studies at a doctoral level. This is assessed on the basis of the following criteria as stipulated by the Faculty of Law:

  • The applicant's general competence;
  • The doctoral project proposal – the originality of the project – the theoretical framework and the question at issue in relation to previous research – the clarity of the method and its relevance in relation to the research question at issue – the production of new knowledge and its relevance; and
  • The viability of the project plan.

The applicant’s general competence is assessed through proven academic performance, essays and other writings demonstrating the ability to make a clear presentation and critical analysis, as well as professional experiences and other similar activities relevant to the education.

The criteria taken into account in the assessment of competence include: the applicant´s documented subject knowledge and its relevance to the research; the ability to express oneself orally and in writing; the capacity for analytical thinking; creativity, self-initiative and independence as well as work capacity. As a basis for this assessment, the following is reviewed: previous studies and grades, as well as the quality of the individual work, references, relevant experience, interviews, the applicant’s written motivation as to the research proposal.

Admission Regulations for Doctoral Studies at Stockholm University are available at: and regulations.

Specific instructions for the Department of Law: Candidate Program.

Terms of employment

Only a person who will be or has already been admitted to a third-cycle programme may be appointed to a doctoral studentship.

The term of the initial contract may not exceed one year. The employment may be extended for a maximum of two years at a time. However, the total period of employment may not exceed the equivalent of four years of full-time study.

Doctoral students should primarily devote themselves to their own education, but may engage in teaching, research, and administration corresponding to a maximum of 20 % of a full-time position.

Please note that admission decisions cannot be appealed.