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For PhD students and supervisors

For PhD students

Once, you are accepted to the PhD program, there are a few things that might be useful to know. You will find here most information for PhD students that you might need, but note that this information is not adapted to our department.


In Sweden, PhD students are regular employees who enjoy all benefits of an employment, such as

  • sick leaves, medical support, health/training support, retirement funds, computer glasses, etc.
  • trade unions
  • participation in the regular workplace meetings and research seminar series
  • etc.

For more information, look here.

All newly employed at UGOT must take an introductory course (~one day).

Mandatory seminars (Timeline)

As a doctoral student, you are expected to give the following obligatory seminars:

1. Planning seminar (Idésemnariet). About approximately one year into the education, you are requested to present your research idea to a forum of the researchers at the department. The most appropriate venue is the Monday Seminar series. You will have approximately 40-60 minutes. Make sure you plan and discuss your presentation with your supervisors, and share the slides with them in advance.

2. Half-way seminar (Mittseminarium). About half way (or a bit more) through the program, you will present your half-way results to the researchers at the department. It is structured the same way as above, but it is more critical to get suggestions and comments from the public. Make sure someone in the audience takes notes of the suggestions and questions.

3. Final stage seminar (Slutseminarium). This seminar is of a more formal nature and is aimed at giving a proper review to your thesis draft. It usually takes place when the thesis draft is already written and approved by the supervisors, about 4-6 months before the foreseen defense (i.e. by end of the program). The thesis is sent to an external reviewer who is selected by the supervisors. Following the recommendations and comments from the reviewer and the participating public, you will spend the next months in improving the thesis draft.

See the formal description of rules for the Final stage seminar. 

4. Public defense (Disputation). This is a formal event, and its planning involves many steps. Please, involve your supervisors, the vice-head of the department for PhD education, and the administrative representative from the department well in advance. Some initial instructions are available here for students of another department. However, in many ways these are the same steps that you would need to take.


    The syllabus includes 60 credits through courses. Of these, one course is obligatory, the rest can be negotiated with the supervisors and examiners.

    To find other relevant courses, consult the following sources:

    Some other options to get course credits:

    • Summer schools. Some summer schools offer credits directly, others can be converted to credits - please, take contact with your supervisors. Some summer schools are regular, others are one-time events. One example of a summer school is ESSLLI (European Summer School in Logic, Language and Information)
    • Master level courses. Often, you will be expected to do a bit extra in addition to the master level course to lift it to the doctoral level. This extra moment has to be agreed with the  supervisor (e.g. an extra experiment relevant for the topic of the thesis and a paper/presentation describing it). In the end, you will get the same number of points as the master level course offers.
    • Individual reading courses. Consult your supervisors and the examiner to define the topic, the scope and the design. They need to create a course description according to an approved format. You will need to submit a report/paper based on the course, and (often also) give a presentation.
    • Scientific presentation training. There is a possibility to report published conference publications/presentations as an individual course (roughly 3 papers and presentations amounts to roughlt 5 credits). This can be done once per the doctoral study period and can be reported as (an individual reading) course in Scientific Presentation.
    • Online courses. If you find an online course relevant for your studies, consult your supervisors and your examiner.

    Extra funding for doctoral students (Doktorandpeng)

    In addition to the salary, every PhD student receives 30,000 SEK for extra expenses (such as conferences, books or similar), usually (but not necessarily) equally divided between the years of studies. 

    If these 30,000 SEK are not enough to cover the travel/extra expenses, PhD students can apply for additional funding, e.g.:

    Besides, there are other types of funding, e.g. for traineeships etc. Please, have a look a this page:

    Departmental duties

    You can choose to do some departmental duties up to 20% per year. If you are engaged in those duties during all years of study, you will be able to prolong you employment to 5 years. Departmental duties can be of different nature:

    • Teaching
    • Administration
    • Work in a project
    • Systems development

    Tips on organizing your work

    Åsa Burman (2016). Bli klar i tid och må bra på vägen – handbok för doktorander. Natur & Kultur

    • this book covers things like study techniques, stress management, and effectiveness, and is targeted at PhD students specifically
    • it is available at most (online) book stores, and at UB (the GU university library)

    Åsa Burman (2018). Finish on Time: the Doctoral Student Handbook. Finish on Time Publications

    • this is the English translation, also available at book stores and at UB

    Blog on study techniques and research methodology, by Thomas Basbøll: Inframethodology 

    • "It is the practices that are grounded in our care for research that will interest us here. These are things like clear writing, proper referencing, close reading of sources, attention to detail in note-taking, the collection and storage of data. In short, everything that ensures the quality of our research, short of those issues that properly belong to the methodologies of particular disciplines. Everyone is welcome to read along, but researchers, and especially PhD students, will probably find it most useful."

    Expected output

    The thesis can be either a monograph or a compilation of articles.

    Monograph is written as a book, and is usually around 250-300 pages.

    Compilation of articles usually consists of 4 or more articles, preferably written by the PhD student as the first co-author, and a least some of them should be published in a journal. The articles should be unified by the common theme that should be described in an introductory part (aka kappa). It varies how long kappa should be (approx 50-100 pages).

    For more inspiration, look into some of the theses published by the past PhD students at SBX. There are examples of both manuscripts [5,6,8,9] and compilations [1,2,3,4,7]:

    1. 2016–21: David Alfter. Exploring natural language processing for single-word and multi-word lexical complexity from a second language learner perspective [https://gupea.ub.gu.se/handle/2077/66861
    2. 2014–19: Luis Nieto Piña. Splitting rocks: Learning word sense representations from corpora and lexica
    3. 2013–18: Ildikó Pilán. Automatic proficiency level prediction for Intelligent Computer-Assisted Language Learning
    4. 2010–15: Taraka Rama. Studies in computational historical linguistics: Models and analyses
    5. 2010–15: Judy Ribeck. Steg för steg. Naturvetenskapligt ämnesspråk som räknas
    6. 2010–14: Ann-Marie Eklund. The Game of Health Search 
    7. 2008–13: Dana Dannélls Multilingual text generation from structured formal representations
    8. 2008–13: Katarina Heimann Mühlenbock. I see what you mean
    9. 2005–10: Friberg Heppin Karin. Resolving power of search keys in MedEval, a Swedish medical test collection with user groups: doctors and patients
    10. See more at https://spraakbanken.gu.se/en/about/alumni

    For PhD supervisors

    You can find (some) information relevant for supervision, tasks, policies, etc. below:

    • In Swedish
    • In English. Note, though, that information in English is much more scarce than in Swedish

    Documentation at the Faculty level: