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Funding and employment

At Södertörn University, most doctoral students are both admitted to and employed at the university, but there are those who are admitted at other universities and/or have their employment funded in other ways. You can read more about the various categories of doctoral students, your terms of employment and issues relating to the work environment below.

The information on this page is currently being updated.

Regulated by the Higher Education Ordinance and local regulations

A doctoral studentship is regulated in Chapter 5 of the Higher Education Ordinance External link, opens in new window.. Your employment on a doctoral studentship at Södertörn University is also regulated in the university’s Regulations for Doctoral Studentships.

Funding

Doctoral students must have funding secured for the entire period of study and, once you have been admitted to doctoral education, an individual funding plan will be drawn up for you by Finance & Auditing. Funding for your employment is guaranteed for the equivalent of four years of full-time study for a doctoral degree, or two years for a licentiate degree. This applies provided that you fulfil your obligations as a doctoral student, in accordance with your individual study plan, so that a new decision on employment can be made for each year of employment.

The majority of doctoral studentships at Södertörn University are funded by the Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, public funding or externally funded research projects. Another form of financing is through cooperation with other parties – externally employed doctoral students.

There may be specific funding conditions for project-specific doctoral students, e.g. for expenses, depending on the project’s budget. This also applies to externally employed doctoral students, depending on the agreement between the employer and the university. Read more at: Expenses.

Categories of doctoral students at the university

Doctoral students who are admitted to and employed by the university

The majority of doctoral students at Södertörn University are both admitted to and employed by the university. The university is entirely responsible for both education and employment. Many of them belong to the Baltic and East European Graduate School, BEEGS.

Doctoral students admitted to other higher education institutions

Some of the university’s doctoral students have been admitted to another higher education institution, but are conducting their doctoral studies using funding from the university. In these cases, an agreement is drawn up between the admitting higher education institution and Södertörn University. The entire responsibility for issues relating to education rests with the admitting higher education institution, while the university has the role of employer. For detailed information about the allocation of responsibility, please see the relevant agreement. A number of these doctoral students are part of
BEEGS.

Doctoral students employed by other higher education institutions

Some doctoral students are admitted to Södertörn University, but are employed at another higher education institution. In these cases, an agreement is drawn up between Södertörn University and the higher education institution that is the employer. The entire responsibility for issues relating to education rests with the university, while the other higher education institution has the responsibilities as the employer. For detailed information about the allocation of responsibility, please see the relevant agreement.

Doctoral students as part of research projects

Some doctoral students at the university work on research projects that are funded by external research financiers. Most project-specific doctoral students are admitted at the university, but they may also be admitted at another higher education institution. The higher education institution that administers the project’s funding is the one at which the doctoral student is employed and which has the responsibility as employer. The admitting higher education institution is responsible for issues relating to education.

Externally employed doctoral students

Externally employed doctoral students are admitted to the university but are employed externally, usually in trade and industry or the public sector, and have funding from their employer to undertake doctoral studies at a minimum of 50% of full time as part of their employment. An agreement is drawn up between Södertörn University and the external employer. The entire responsibility for issues relating to education rests with the university, while the employer has the responsibility of the employer. For detailed information about the allocation of responsibility, please see the relevant agreement.

Employment as a doctoral student at Södertörn University

Doctoral education for a doctoral student takes four years of full-time study and is worth 240 credits. The equivalent for a licentiate degree is two years of full-time study and 120 credits. A doctoral studentship is a fixed-term position that runs for one year at a time. You have the same benefits and responsibilities as other staff employed by the university, such as paid holiday, occupational injury insurance, parental leave, income on which pension and unemployment insurance is based and an obligation to report secondary employment. You are also entitled to sick pay, reimbursement for medicine and access to occupational health services.

If you are employed at Södertörn University, you can read about your terms and conditions of employment at: Min anställning (My job) [Swedish only].

Working hours and annual leave

Doctoral students at Södertörn University follow the working hours agreement for teachers:

  • 1700 hours for employees with 35 days of annual leave.
  • 1732 hours for employees with 31 days of annual leave.
  • 1756 hours for employees with 28 days of annual leave.

The number of days of annual leave you have is decided by the provisions of the Swedish Annual Leave Act and the collective agreements for state employees, Villkorsavtal or Villkorsavtal-T:

  • Until the year in which you turn 29: 28 days.
  • Until the year in which you turn 30: 31 days.
  • From the year in which you turn 40: 35 days.

Just like teaching staff, doctoral students at Södertörn University follow a local collective agreement on scheduling annual leave. Holidays are automatically scheduled on consecutive weeks during the summer as a “standard holiday”, starting on the Monday prior to the Midsummer weekend. If your employment starts after 1 August, during your first year as a doctoral student you must apply for annual leave in Primula. Your annual leave is automatically scheduled as standard holiday in Primula for subsequent years.

Remember to check your holiday days with your HR officer when you receive your last employment contract as a doctoral student. You then apply to take any remaining days of annual leave before your employment comes to an end.

You may choose to take your annual leave at a different time, in which case you and your head of department must agree on the dates by 30 April. If you need to save your annual leave and take it the following year, you must apply for this in Primula. You must also inform your supervisor if you are taking annual leave at other times of the year than the standard holiday. Read more about annual leave on the page Semester och andra ledigheter [Swedish only].

Leave and part-time work

As a doctoral student, you have the right to part-time employment, but at a level at least 50 % of a full-time position. Discuss any requests for part-time work with your principal supervisor and contact your local HR officer well in advance of your decision on employment being renewed.

Otherwise, doctoral students all have the same rights as all the other employees at the university for parental leave, caring for close relatives, funerals, etc. Read more about different types of leave on the page about annual leave, parental leave and other leave: Semester och andra ledigheter [Swedish only].

Reporting sick leave

If you are off sick, you must report this to your head of department and inform your principal supervisor. At the same time, register your first sick day in Primula. When you are well, end your sick leave in Primula.

If you are sick for more than seven calendar days in a row, you must provide the employer with a certificate from your doctor from the eighth day. If you are sick for more than 14 days, you or your employer must send the doctor’s certificate to Försäkringskassan. Read more on the page Sjukdom och arbetsskada - Företagshälsovård [Swedish only].

Salary scale for doctoral students

Doctoral students do not have salary negotiations. Your pay is regulated in a local collective agreement, the salary scale for doctoral students (Doktorandstegen), and is decided by the university after negotiations with the unions. The salary scale has four levels and is based upon how long you have been employed. You move up from one level to another after 12, 24 and 36 months of full-time employment on a doctoral studentship. The doctoral salary scale can be found here.

Extension to employment

As a doctoral student, your employment can last no longer than four years of full-time study, or two years if you are studying for a licentiate degree. However, your employment as a doctoral student may be extended. Activities that are grounds for extending employment on a doctoral studentship are listed below and are in the provisions of the Higher Education Ordinance and in the university regulations. The calculation of the extension is made according to a specific template used by the university – contact your local HR officer if you want to know more about how it is done.

For the annual update to your individual study plan, and for the best possible planning, there may also be reason to contact your HR Officer and get a calculation of time spent on activities that are grounds for extension at that time.

For the first four years, your employment is extended one year at a time. After the fourth year, your local HR officer will add up how many activities that are grounds for extension have been registered for you in Primula and Agresso during your employment, and further extend your employment if you have not completed your studies.

If you defend your thesis and completely finish your studies before the end of your final year of employment, your employment will not be extended due to departmental duties or other exceptional reasons for extension. Remember to consult your local HR officer before accepting departmental duties in your final year of employment.

Extension due to exceptional circumstances

Your doctoral studentship may be extended due to exceptional circumstances. Under Chapter 5 of the Higher Education Ordinance, these are:

  • sickness registered in Primula
  • service in the armed forces
  • positions of trust in union organisations
  • positions of trust in student organisations (doctoral students’ committee)
  • parental leave

Extension due to departmental duties

Read more about departmental duties at: Departmental duties and activity reporting.

Extension due to part-time work

Read more under the above heading on "Leave and part-time work".

Planning and evaluation meetings

As a doctoral student, you are entitled to a planning and evaluation meeting, an appraisal, every year. The meeting is with your line manager, your head of department. However, planning your studies is done in consultation with your supervisors, the director of studies and steering committee, whereas the purpose of the meeting with the head of department is to focus on the work environment, how supervision is going and any departmental duties.

You will also be offered regular meetings with your director of doctoral studies. The purpose of these meetings is to bring up and discuss issues linked to your doctoral studies. Each research area for doctoral studies has one or more directors of studies who takes overarching responsibility for education at doctoral level within the area and its subjects. The director of studies can answer questions for which the supervisors are not responsible.

Unemployment insurance funds: a-kassa

Employment on a doctoral studentship entitles you to unemployment insurance (a-kassa). You must have been a member of your a-kassa (unemployment insurance fund) for at least 12 months before the end of your employment. Remember to sign up well in advance, so you avoid any gap in income and so the payment you receive is based on your income over your last 12 months in employment. You are only entitled to payments if you have worked in Sweden during this period and if you have worked more than half time for the past six months.

To be able to receive a-kassa payments, you must have finished your studies, i.e. given up your place or have a thesis ready for printing. Having finished studying is a condition for you to be classed as unemployed. If your studies are not complete, you must have definitively withdrawn from studying to be entitled to payments. How your studied were funded is of no relevance when an a-kassa assesses when you are unemployed or not.

You cannot receive payments during a break in your work on the thesis, because you have not finished your studies; it does not matter whether the break is long or short, voluntary or involuntary.

When your thesis is finished, you may be entitled to receive payments even if your public defence has not been held, but you must be able to prove that work on your thesis is over and is ready for printing. Your studies are considered finished even if there are minor editorial changes to be made, such as questions from the printer. On the day of your public defence, you report that you are not available for work.

The usual a-kassa for graduates to join is Akademikernas erkända a-kassa (AEA) External link, opens in new window., but there are others. There is a search function on Sveriges a-kassors website External link, opens in new window., called “Hitta din a-kassa”, which provides suggestions for which unemployment insurance fund you can apply to join.

Managing the work environment

More information about systematic work environment management, risk assessment, the work environment plan, equal opportunities, occupational injuries and incidents, routines in cases of victimisation, discrimination, harassment and reprisals, alcohol and drugs policy, etc., is on the page for work environment and equal opportunities: Arbetsmiljö och lika villkor [Swedish only].

Who should you contact?

There are several places you could contact if you want to raise a work environment problem or you have questions about the work environment. You can always contact the local work environment representative at your academic school or the university’s work environment representative. Contact details are available at the page Arbetsmiljö och lika villkor [Swedish only].

Naturally, you can also contact your line manager, the head of department, about work environment issues. If you are experiencing psychosocial work environment problems associated with doctoral studies, you can also talk to your director of studies.

Externally employed doctoral students are not employed by the university, but follow the employment conditions of their employer. Externally employed doctoral students can raise work environment issues related to education with the director of doctoral studies.

More about employment conditions and work environment can be found under the tab Min anställning/My job.

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Last updated: 2021-08-30 by Elisabet Möller

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