Before joining PhD program in Sweden, it is very important to know key factors to make sure that you know the roadmap as you will live at least four years in a new country. Here are five things you should know about PhD study in Sweden.
1- What are the requirements for a PhD entry in Sweden?
In Sweden, PhD is considered as a staff position at university/institute/company. Professors or groups of research at University/Company often collaborate to submit applications to get grants from governments or funding agencies like VINNOVA, KKS, SSF, String. After receiving the grant, professors will broadcast job ads to recruit PhD candidates. This is a strict process to find high quality candidates. It often take three rounds as follows:
a) Interview to filter the best candidates who may match well with the requirements of the project.
b) Selected candidates will be assigned an assignment to examine the background and other things.
c) The selected candidate will join the salary negotiation.
To get a PhD position in Sweden, you should prepare things as follows:
Have at least one conference paper in a high rank conference or journal. Your published result should match well with research topics but sometimes it is not a prerequisite. It is only to prove that you can do research and how passionate you are about research.
There is no specific English requirement for PhD entry in Sweden. But you must be good at all skills reading, writing, and communicating.
2- How long does it take?
To complete a PhD program in Sweden, it often takes 4-5 years in general. If your position holds for 4 years. You often focus 100% on research. Otherwise, you will spend 20% for teaching and 40% for research.
There are two phase in PhD:
1- Lecente PhD (mid-term):
After doing PhD in 2-3 years, you need to complete some courses and defend the mid-term. One opponent will join the defense and give you comments about contributions and future work. This is a wonderful opportunity to practice writing skills, defend skills, and so on. All PhD candidates should pass this mid-term to get a higher salary. Some PhD candidates will quit after completing this phase because they find a good job in an industrial company. It is worth remembering that a PhD in Sweden is considered as a job. If you don’t like this job, you can find a new one that you really love.
2- PhD defend:
After you satisfy the requirements of your supervisors, project, and courses, you will write the thesis, and then send it to the committee before the defense day in two months.
Note that If something is not good, members of the committee will inform your professor to delay your defense day to fix your thesis.
A committee of five members from different countries will be established on the basis of your supervisor's suggestions. During the defense day, one opponent will ask you many questions but he/she does not join the adjustment. After debating with the opponent, you will debate with other members of the committee. They will vote if you pass or not.
The committee comes to share the success and the happy moment with you on defense day. Thus, do not overstress. Just focus on the presentation and prepare for the party.
3- PhD benefits:
Because a PhD is considered a job in Sweden, thus you will get paid and you have to pay for the income tax as well. You also get full social benefits from Sweden. You don’t have to pay for hospital and school fees.
The salary is high and you can save a lot if you are single. If you have a family, you still can save but not much. It depends on your spending style.
You may travel to other countries in order to join conferences and connect with other researchers. You not only visit many countries but also make friends with many researchers all over the world.
If you have children, your children can get full social benefits such as almost free school fee, free dental care, and the child allowance, you will have 16 months for parental leave with 80% salary.
4- After PhD:
You have a high opportunity to get the permanent resident permit and become Sweden citizenship after 5 years living in Sweden provided that you find a job with two year contracts and pass basic Swedish course (SFI).
In summary, Sweden is the perfect country to study for a PhD, you get a high salary, and benefits for you and your family. The worst thing in Sweden is the weather, it is very cold and dark in the winter. PhD may suffer more stress this time. However, in the summer, the weather is wonderful and it is perfect to have outside activities. Let's enjoy it.