External Funding - Doctoral Studies Funded by External Organisations

On an annual basis, the Swedish Defence University announces a number of available doctoral positions financed by the university. Additional opportunities for doctoral studies at the Defence University may be provided by external employers/organisations who wish to provide employees the opportunity to conduct their doctoral studies within the terms of their existing employment. This latter form of doctoral education is regulated by agreements between the Swedish Defence University and the participating external organisation

The following text describes a number of aspects regarding collaboration in relation to PhD students who have secured study funding through employment with external parties, and are admitted to postgraduate studies at the Defence University. A proposed agreement between the external party and the Defence University is enclosed.

Entry requirements

Admission to postgraduate studies can be given to students that meet the general entry requirements and the special entry requirements prescribed by the Swedish Defence University. The Defence University must also have concluded that the person is able to complete the education. Information on entry requirements is available in the general study plans for the respective subjects.


The decision on admission to the PhD programme is made on recommendation by the Subject Council in the subject the student has applied to. The decision is not only made upon an assessment of the fulfilment of entry requirements, but also on an estimation of the applicant’s ability to complete the education, and the resources available at the SEDU.

In general, the admission of an externally funded PhD student is made at the same time as PhD students funded by the SEDU. A PhD student with an external employer preferably starts their education at the same time as the regular start of the SEDU PhD programme. The PhD student can then complete the same educational cycle as other PhD students and thus enjoy a natural entry into the PhD study environment.

Scope and pace of study

The postgraduate education should lead to a doctorate and corresponds to a total of 4 years of full-time studies that must be conducted on at least a 50 percent basis. The education consists of courses and an independent research project resulting in a doctoral dissertation. It is important that the PhD student participates actively in the research environment in the respective subject. Primarily the student will do so by participating in seminars and conferences both within the Defence University and externally.

The PhD student is expected to spend the main part of his or her postgraduate education at the Swedish Defence University, participating in, and contributing to, the research environment in the field of postgraduate education as well as within the subject area.

A PhD student who completes the education in the framework of employment with an external employer can complete the education on a full-time basis at the request of the employer. However, the Defence University emphasizes the fact that a PhD student retains certain duties within his/her ordinary job in order to avoid losing contact with his or her employer. By way of comparison, other PhD students at FHS usually complete education at postgraduate level at a study pace of 80 percent and spend the remaining 20 percent of their employment on departmental work.

Funding of the education

When a PhD student is admitted to the programme with employment through an external employer, the academic institution must assess whether the applicant has secured study funding for the full study period and thereby can devote sufficient time to their postgraduate studies. A PhD degree should be completed within eight years (at the most), or within four years for a licentiate degree. In addition to this time frame, there are possibilities for extension due to sick leave, parental leave, etc.

In addition, the employer is expected to give a contribution to the Swedish Defence University of 125 000 Swedish kronor annually.

Funding of the PhD student’s education can be secured under the enclosed agreement between the Swedish Defence University and an external party in relation to education at the postgraduate level. In addition to this agreement, an individual study plan is required, with a funding plan in the form of an annex.

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