Funding and financial support

The financing of a doctoral project can vary considerably between  different PhD students. According to Swedish university legislation (the Higher Education Ordinance, chapter 7 §§ 34 and 36), only PhD students who have secure financing for the entire research education may be admitted to doctoral programmes. In practice, this means that departments cannot withdraw support for a registered PhD student on the basis of a contingent lack of funding. The particular remuneration and benefits for a doctoral student differ depending on the type of funding one has. Provided below is an overview of the most common forms of financial support. More detailed information can be found at the Medarbetarportalen-website (see links below).

If you are employed as a PhD student (doktorandanställning) you are entitled to receive compensation (in the form of extra time or payment) in certain situations, i.e. parental leave, illness, military
service (maximum 60 days), care of a relative (närståendevård) and commissioned assignments (for instance, a post on the Faculty 20

Doctoral Council). Specific guidelines for how many days extension are applicable for the various assigned positions can be found at: (swedish).

Employment as a PhD student

Employment as a PhD student shall normally relate to work full-time.
If a PhD student so requests, the employment may relate to work
part-time, however no less than 50 percent of full-time (the Higher
Education Ordinance, chapter 5 § 3 a). The salary for this position is
to follow a development curve that is negotiated annually by the trade
union, see:

As an employee, you are provided with a range of benefits, including
paid holiday, sickness benefits and paid parental leave. You are also
entitled to paid leave in connection with funerals of relatives, moving
accommodation and medical appointments. There are different
systems in use for the practicalities of taking holiday depending on the
department; speak to your particular Personnel administrator to find
out what applies for your department.

Study grant

The study grant for PhD students is set by the government at currently (May 2013) 15500 SEK before tax. Certain faculties and departments are still using this study grant system to finance the first year of the doctoral programme, but these grants are due to be fased out in favour of full employment for the entire programme. From the 1st January, 2015 this form of financing is no longer to be used at Uppsala (though certain exceptions may still be permitted.)

PhD students funded via study grant are not formally employed by the university and are thus not entitled to paid holiday. Since the university does not pay the "employer’s contribution" for such students, this grant does not contribute to your social security entitlement (sjukpenninggrundande inkomst: SGI). You are not, therefore, eligible to apply for benefits from the Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) in case of illness or parental leave --- unless you have been employed for a sufficient length of time prior to doctoral studies to have earned some SGI. Instead, what generally happens is that you continue to receive all or a proportion of your study grant when absent for such things as illness, parental leave, etc.
Contact your department's personnel administrator for detailed advice about such matters.

Scholarships and other forms of financial support

Additional forms of financial support range from external funding and scholarships to self-supported studies. Funding from an external employer means that the PhD student is employed by that particular organization, and subject to their employment terms and conditions.

As of 2016 study grants are not an approved means of funding.

Information on available scholarships can be found in different places, among others: and

Doctoral students supported via scholarships have the right to an income level that is at least equivalent to a study grant after tax. It is generally the case that scholarship recipients are not entitled to the full social security benefits that an employed PhD student has (i.e. the right to paid sickness leave, holiday etc.). To improve the conditions and social protection of all scholarship funded PhD students, from the first of january 2014, there is an insurance at The Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency (Kammarkollegiet), applicable to cases where PhD students are deprived of scholarship funding due to sickness or parental leave. For more information, visit:



Employment as an assistant

According to the Higher Education Ordinance (chapter 5 § 2) employed PhD students are supposed to primarily devote themselves to their own education (where the own research is included). However PhD students are commissioned to work up to 20 percent of full-time as an assistant (institutionstjänstgöring). This time can normally be spread out over the years of your education, and does not count as part of the doctoral programme. This means that working 20 percent as an assistant reduces the pace of studies to 80 percent, with the result that the education will take five years instead of four. Working as an assistant can cover a range of tasks at your department, from teaching and supervising labs to copying and administration.

You do not have to perform any teaching or other departmental duties unless your contract for your scholarship allows it, and it is written in your individual study plan. You generally do not have to do anything that is not stated in your Individual study plan. Some flexibility is however allowed, for example if a senior asks you to help out with smaller issues with short notice (and you do not have time to revise the study plan).

Leave of absence and study breaks

Prolongation (extension of education time)

A PhD student’s net study time shall correspond to four years of full-time studies (240 ECTS credits). If a PhD student spends time on other things than the student’s own studies the education time can in some cases be extended (prolongation), if there is reason for extension. Such reasons can be sick leave, leave for service in the armed forces or leave for commissioned assignments of trust in trade unions and student organizations or parental leave.

Guidelines for the extension of study time for PhD students with positions of trust are available at: (however only in Swedish).

Since the amount of work required can vary between the various positions, the guidelines provide for minimum levels of extension.

Sickness and sick leave

There is some information on the health care provided by the University below, under the section on Additional benefits and advantages. If you get sick you should report it. It can be reported via Primulaweb ( If you go on sick leave, your study time will be extended with a time equivalent to that of the sick leave. It is important to report in sick from first day, since you cannot go on sick leave retroactively.

As regards the compensation for employees, the following applies: The first day is a qualifying day (karensdag) and the whole pay is deducted. Day 2 - 14 you get sickness salary (sjuklön) from the University, with 80 % of the monthly salary. From day 15 the employer reports the case of sickness to the National Social Security Department (Försäkringskassan) which then pays social security benefits in the form of Sick Pay (sjukpenning) until, and including, day 365. The University will supplement this with 10 percent of your monthly salary as Sick Pay Supplement (sjukpenningtillägg). For more information: visit: (Swedish only).

Scholarship funded PhD students instead get compensation through the Health and parental insurance for doctoral students with stipends, where The Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency (Kammarkollegiet), is the insurer. Sick reports can be made to: For further information on the insurance and on how to claim compensation, visit:

Leave of absence and ’study breaks’

Leave of absence can be granted when the PhD student, supervisors and Head of Department are in agreement, and it is documented in the individual study plan. If a student is scholarship funded, the application for leave works in the same way regardless of whether it is regarded as a question of ’leave of absence’ (tjänstledighet) or a ’study break’ (studieuppehåll). Whichever form of absence it may concern, it is important that the conditions surrounding it (the most important of which being the extent of it) are documented.

Parental leave

You have a right to parental leave, and are not required to perform work assignments during the time of leave. The rules governing benefits for parental leave can often seem complicated and hard to interpret. If you need to apply for parental leave, you are advised to contact both the National Social Security Department (Försäkrings-kassan), and the Personnel department at the University to establish what applies for you. It is important to do so as soon as possible in these circumstances, since you might be required to have worked a certain amount of time to be eligible for full parental leave benefits.

The faculty board may extend the research education time, due to, among other things, parental leave. In addition to the extension which should this way be given directly equivalent to the time of the parental leave, the respective faculty board may extend a phd student’s time with up to 3 months if the leave has caused particular difficulties for the resumption of gathering of materials, experiments or similar things, that is, grant so called start up-months (uppstartsmånader). A condition is that the phd student has been on leave for at least 4 months. See the Parental Policy of Uppsala University: (Swedish only)


Withdrawal of support and de-registration

PhD students who are judged to have grossly neglected their commitments, as laid out in the individual study plan, can have their support and resources, i.e. supervision, financing, office-space, telephone, etc., withdrawn. The decision to withdraw support is taken by the University Vice-Chancellor following the involvement of the organ responsible for doctoral programmes at the faculty-level. Both the PhD student and supervisors are entitled to express their views before such a decision is made.

Should such a situation arise, the Ombud for PhD students can offer help and advice. In the considerations leading up to a judgement as to whether a doctoral student’s support should be withdrawn, due attention shall be paid to how far the University has met its commitments according to the individual study plan, in terms of adequate supervision, a good study environment etc. If the University has failed to meet any of its obligations, measurements should be taken to help the PhD student get back on track with their studies. However, if it is established that the PhD student has failed to fulfill their requirements support can be withdrawn, through a fully documented and motivated decision.

PhD students who have had their support withdrawn can appeal for it to be reinstated following a special judgement, based mainly on the student being able to show clear signs of progress pointing towards the possibility of successfully completing the research education (the intended degree) within a reasonable time span. There is a difference between having support withdrawn and being de-registered. Even though support has been withdrawn, a student may continue to be registered as a PhD student and have the possibility of presenting a doctoral thesis. You cannot be de-registered against your wishes.

Employment forms and conditions


Employement as doctoral student

Scholarship funding

Rate of remuneration

Lowest salary: 25 000 kr (before tax)

Minimum: Equivalent to the level of a Study grant after tax, i.e. ca 12 500. Some faculties, as a general rule, pay more (often equivalent of a PhD-student salary).

Paid holiday?

28-35 dagar, with additional holiday payment (semestertillägg)


Grants right to social security entitlements (SGI) ?

Paid sickness leave.

Compensation from the Insurance for PhD students from The Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency’s (Kammarkollegiet).

Compensation for medical appointments, prescriptions, etc??



Paid parental leave?

Parental leave payments claimed via social security department, Försäkringskassan. A supplementary payment (föräldrapenningtillägg) is made by the university of up to 10% of your salary. To be entitled to the maximum level of parental leave payments, you must have been employed for at least 8 months prior to taking leave.

Compensation from the Insurance for PhD students from The Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency’s (Kammarkollegiet).

Pension contributions?

Contributes towards general pension (allmän pension), and from 28 years of age even for state occupational pension (statlig tjänstepension).


Group life insurance?

Covered by the state’s group life insurance, including certain survivor protection.

Covered by the state’s group life insurance, including certain survivor protection (efterlevandeskydd).

Work injury?

Covered by insurance for, and legislation on, work-related injuries.

Not covered by insurance for, and legislation on, work-related injuries. Instead covered by the University’s student insurance.