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Organisation and governance of doctoral-level education and student influence

This page provides a general description of how doctoral-level education at Södertörn University is organised. You can also read about the student influence at the university, an important means through which doctoral students can affect their education and study situation.

Research areas for doctoral studies

Many of the doctoral students at Södertörn University are admitted to doctoral-level education in one of the university’s research areas for doctoral studies. All subjects are included in one of the five research areas for doctoral studies for which the university has degree-awarding powers at doctoral level.

Each area is located at an academic school, which has the overarching financial and administrative responsibility. The subjects included in each area and their organisational location are shown below.

  • Historical Studies (HS)
    Subjects: Archaeology, Ethnology, History of Ideas, History and The Study of Religions
    Organisational location: School of Historical and Contemporary Studies
  • Critical and Cultural Theory (KKT)
    Subjects: Aesthetics, Art History, Comparative Literature, Gender Studies, Media and Communication Studies, Philosophy and The Theory of Practical Knowledge
    Organisational location: School of Culture and Education
  • Environmental Studies (MS)
    Subject: Environmental Science
    Organisational location: School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies
  • Politics, Economy and the Organisation of Society (PESO)
    Subjects: Business Studies, Journalism, Political Science, Social Work and Sociology
    Organisational location: School of Social Sciences
  • Studies in the Educational Sciences (UVS)
    Subjects and organisational location:
    Education - Teacher Education
    Comparative Literature, Media and Communication Studies, Swedish and The Theory of Practical Knowledge - School of Culture and Education
    History - School of Historical and Contemporary Studies

BEEGS, the Baltic and East European Graduate School

A major profile area at the university is the Baltic Sea region and eastern Europe, and a majority of the doctoral students in all research areas are at the Baltic and East European Graduate School (BEEGS), which is part of the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies (CBEES). Doctoral students at BEEGS include those admitted to Södertörn University and to other higher education institutions.

How is doctoral-level education governed?

Preparatory and decision-making bodies

The university has a number of bodies that investigate and decide on issues relating to doctoral-level education. Some cases are decided upon by the steering committees, while others must be forwarded to the Faculty Board or its committee – the Committee for Research and Doctoral Education – for a decision to be made.

All bodies are collegial and include student representatives. You can read more at: Student influence.

Doctoral supervision collegium

The doctoral supervision collegium at the university (abbreviated FHK) is a preparatory and advisory collegial body for issues relating to the quality, content and development of doctoral-level education. There is no university-wide governing document for collegiums’ composition, orders of delegation, tasks or authority but, in general, FHK is an important body for collegial coordination, and the discussion and investigation of educational issues relating to doctoral education. Descriptions of tasks may be at the level of the school or subject.

FHK includes colleagues with doctoral degrees who are or who may provide supervision at Södertörn University. External supervisors must also participate and are invited when necessary. FHK cooperates with doctoral students on all issues relating to the planning and quality assurance of doctoral-level education.

Steering committees

Each research area for doctoral studies has a steering committee in which the subjects are represented. A steering committee is a body that has the primary responsibility for your educational environment, that education is conducted in accordance with the university’s strategies and objectives and that the laws and regulations for doctoral-level education are complied with. Steering committees must create the right conditions for doctoral education of high quality and for admitted doctoral students to complete their studies in the stipulated time.

Click on the following links to to read more about the steering committees:

Steering committee for Historical Studies
Steering committee for Critical and Cultural Theory
Steering committee for Environmental Studies
Steering committee for Politics, Economics and the Organisation of Society (PESO)
Steering committee for Studies in the Educational Sciences

Faculty Board

The Faculty Board is the highest collegial body at the university and has the overarching responsibility for following up and improving the quality of the university’s education and research. It must ensure that academic activities are conducted in accordance with the university’s strategies and overall aims and, based on these, provide guidelines. It must continually evaluate and follow up the quality of education and research and, where necessary, suggest a course of action to the vice-chancellor. The board must also monitor strategic and ethical issues that are important to research and higher education, and deal with issues related to degree-awarding powers and the establishment and closure of main fields of study and degree programmes.

Read more about the Faculty Board and see the minutes of its meetings here.

The Committee for Research and Doctoral Education (FFU)

FFU is a committee under the auspices of the Faculty Board and prepares cases ahead of Faculty Board meetings on doctoral-level research and education. The Faculty Board has delegated some issues to the committee.

Read more about the FFU and see the minutes of their meetings here.

Which body prepares and decides on which issues?

This table provides some examples of cases linked to doctoral-level education that are prepared and decided on by the various bodies:
CasePreparatory bodyDeciding body
Validation of individual study plansDoctoral supervision collegiumSteering committee
Validation of syllabuses at doctoral levelDoctoral supervision collegium
Steering committee
Decisions on the external reviewer and members of the examining committee for a public defence of thesisDoctoral supervision collegium
Steering committee
Validation of general syllabusesDoctoral supervision collegium
Steering committee
Admission of doctoral studentsDoctoral supervision collegium
Steering committee

Student representation

Student influence at the university is an important means through which doctoral students can affect their education and study situation. The right to representation on bodies that directly or indirectly relate to doctoral-level education is legislated in the Higher Education Ordinance and Higher Education Act. Student representatives are appointed by the students’ union via the Doctoral Students’ Committee.

Doctoral students can be members of the following bodies:

  • Governing Board
  • Faculty Board
  • Faculty Board’s Committee for Research and Doctoral Education
  • Management board of an academic school
  • Steering committees for research areas for doctoral studies
  • Subject councils

Student representatives may also be needed for temporary working groups or for tasks assigned to the university.

Students’ union

The student’s union at Södertörn University is called SöderS.

Some of the most important tasks of the students’ union include working on how education at the university functions, as well as providing guidance and support for students who experience discrimination by teachers or students, or who feel their education to be unfair or incorrect.

Social activities are another important element of the work of the students’ union. They also organise discounts for their members.

Doctoral Students’ Committee

The Doctoral Students’ Committee (Doktorandrådet) is an independent organisation under the auspices of SöderS, which works to ensure the presence and influence of doctoral students in all decision-making at Södertörn University.

SöderS and the Doctoral Students’ Committee work together to guarantee representation on the committees, councils and boards that make decisions that affect doctoral-level education at the university. SöderS union council appoints the doctoral students’ representative on Södertörn University’s Governing Board.


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2023-03-14 by Elisabet Möller