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Being a doctoral student

This page contains information for you who have recently been admitted to postgraduate studies at the Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG).

General information about your rights and obligations and the conditions that apply to postgraduate programmes at Swedish universities and colleges will be found in the invaluable Swedish Council for Higher Education’s Handbook for Postgraduate Students. Important information for doctoral students at the University of Gothenburg, rules and regulations, common as well as specific for each faculty, is available at www.doktorand.gu.se/english/. Here you will also find links to other important information. The university also offers an introductory course for new doctoral students.

Department Council
The Department Council decides upon strategic issues and matters of principle concerning the department.

Research Administrator
The Research Administrator is responsible for the administration of the postgraduate programmes and handles the proper filing of all formal documents, individual study plans, records of results achieved, admission procedures, as well as procedures in connection with the thesis defence, among other tasks.

Human Resources Officer
The Human Resources Officer is responsible for issues regarding position appointments, work at the department and other staff issues.

Head of Administration
The Head of Administration is responsible for the administration of the department’s finances and staff, and is your contact in most financial issues. The Head of Administration works together with the Human Resources Officer on matters such as departmental duties as part of your PhD student position and other technical matters concerning the staff, and is a member of the Management Team.

Head of Department
The Head of Department is responsible for the daily management of the department, and holds the collective responsibility for the department’s activities.

Director of Studies
Mats Ekström is the Director of Studies for doctoral studies. He is responsible for the courses, and represents the department on the faculty panel for doctoral studies issues.

Board of Supervisors
The Board of Supervisors, which handles strategic and fundamental matters concerning doctoral studies, consists of supervisors and examiners within doctoral studies, as well as a doctoral student representative.

Equality Representative
The Equality Ombudsman monitors issues concerning equality, and is responsible for matters including the development and follow-up of the non-discrimination plan.

Postgraduate Student’s Council at the Faculty of Social Sciences (SDR)
The Postgraduate Student’s Council at the Faculty of Social Sciences organizes doctoral students within the faculty and strives to increase their possibilities to influence their own work situation and education. For more information, see the faculty’s web pages at Education > Postgraduate Studies > Postgraduate Student’s Council.

Student Union
As from autumn term 2010 membership in a Student Union is no longer compulsory. Previous associations have ceased and new ones have been formed. The Göta Student Union offers membership to those studying or taking their PhDs in the Social Sciences, Art/Humanities, Educational Sciences, IT and Natural Sciences (there is also a specific section for doctoral students). For more information on the union and the advantages of being a member, see Göta student union’s web site.

General Syllabus
There is a general syllabus for doctoral studies that contains information on, among other things, entrance requirements, admission and selection, goals of the education, content and organization. See also Structure of the doctoral programme.

All doctoral students have the right to supervision for a period corresponding to four years’ full-time study. For newly admitted PhD students a minimum of two supervisors should be appointed, one principal and one assistant supervisor. At least one of them must have received training in supervision or be considered to have corresponding qualifications. The supervision entails a minimum of 300 hours distributed over the four years, and may vary in intensity depending on what phase the doctoral student is in at any given time. The task of the supervisor is to guide the doctoral student through the postgraduate education, starting from choice of courses and literature, through research project, writing the thesis, and finally the thesis defence. Supervision may take place at scheduled meetings or more informally, although at least one meeting every term must be documented in the individual study plan. A doctoral student has the right to change supervisor on request. If this issue should arise, first establish contact with your present supervisor, secondly the Director of Studies, and, thirdly, the Head of Department. For more information on supervision, see The supervisor is very important in the Swedish Council for Higher Education’s Handbook for Postgraduate Students.

Individual Study Plan
In connection with the admission the supervisor and the PhD student shall agree upon and draw up an individual study plan. The individual study plan shall constitute the base for planning and evaluating the studies. Among other things it should include a time-plan and a schedule for the studies, funding, planned supervisory contacts, courses, and thesis work. The study plan should further include notes about the extent of departmental duties, as well as notes about potential parental leave, sick leave, work within student unions and other leaves of absence, as a result of which the study time/employment will be extended accordingly.

The study plans shall be reviewed on an annual basis, and on 15th November each year, at the latest, a copy of the latest study plan agreed upon shall be sent to the Faculty Board.

A template for the individual study plan can be found at the faculty’s web pages at Education > Postgraduate Studies > Rules and Regulations.

Study Time
Doctoral-level education comprises four years of full-time studies. Depending on certain conditions, extension of the study time may be allowed. See further information below.

Changing the rate of Studies
A doctoral student who has been admitted on a full-time basis may be allowed to change his/her rate of study if there are special reasons as stated in the individual study plan. For more information, see Rules and regulations for postgraduate students at the University of Gothenburg on the faculty’s web pages under Education > Postgraduate Studies > Rules and Regulations.

Doctoral Studentship (Employment as Doctoral Student)
Employment as a doctoral student entails four years of full-time employment. The university web site offers for new employees regarding conditions for employment at GU and other information that you often look for, such as occupational health service, keep-fit activities, IT service, etc. See the Staff Portal > Working at GU for more information. At this site you will also find information about introductory courses for new employees. See also the ordinance on study grants (only in Swedish) as well as the overview of benefits that accompany a doctoral position at www.doktorand.gu.se/english/ under General rules.

Departmental Duties
A doctoral student may, within the scope of his/her position, carry out so-called departmental duties. The amount of such duties may not be higher than 20% of the study time, in which case the study time is extended for a maximum of a year. Departmental duties may entail teaching as well as administrative tasks. For information on what is considered departmental duties, see the Faculty of Social Science’s guidelines for postgraduate studies at the faculty’s web pages under Education > Postgraduate Studies > Rules and Regulations.

For doctoral students who want to teach, a completed basic course in teaching and learning (5 credits) is required.

Extension of Study Time
Apart from departmental duties (see above) extension of the study time may, according to the Higher Education Ordinance, be allowed if there are special reasons, such as sick leave, parental leave, serving in the armed forces, or commissions of trust within for instance boards at different levels of the university, unions or students' associations. Rules and guidelines for doctoral students’ leave of absence/pause in study as well as for extending the study time due to commissions of trust can be found at the faculty’s web pages under Education > Postgraduate Studies > Rules and Regulations. In cases of extended study time due to commission of trust, teaching or administrative tasks, the doctoral student must make a request on his/her own. The request shall be directed to the Head of Department, and documentation confirming the commission or task shall be included.

At the JMG research seminar series (HAS), the Research Board regularly meets to discuss papers, dissertation chapters, etc. Doctoral students are expected to participate in these seminars.

The PhD programmes usually include both compulsory and optional courses. The general study plan for each subject states how many course credits the programme comprises, and what courses are compulsory. Optional courses are selected together with the supervisor.

At the faculty’s web pages you can find information about courses common to the faculty, and courses given within other departments of the faculty. All courses on the postgraduate level at the faculty are open to all doctoral students accepted by any of the departments of the faculty.

A doctoral student is expected to attend and introduce a paper at an international conference at some time during his/her study period. The students should first of all apply for the travel scholarships that are announced. However, those who have applied and not been granted or who have not been granted enough can apply for a contribution from the department. The department can fund one conference yearly.

Doctoral Thesis
To receive the degree of PhD the student has to pass all courses which are part of the education. He or she also has to produce an approved doctoral thesis which can be deemed to have contributed to the knowledge within the research field. Within the department’s postgraduate programmes, the thesis comprises 180 higher education credits. The thesis is the most important part of the PhD examination, and may be written as a monograph or as a compilation thesis. The latter consists of a number of articles produced during the PhD studies, plus a summary. See also Printing of Doctoral Thesis.

Public Defence of Doctoral Thesis
The defence is oral and public. The faculty examiner and examining committee are appointed by the Faculty Board, subject to proposals from the department. A formal request for public defence of the thesis shall be made sex weeks (at the latest) before the planned date. The thesis shall have been subjected to a process of quality control prior to the PhD student being recommended to defend his/her doctoral thesis. For an example of what a public defence procedure might look like, see the Degrees chapter in the Swedish Council for Higher Education’s Handbook for Postgraduate Students. See also our page Application for public defence and Notification of submission of a doctoral thesis ("spikning").

PhD Degree/Licentiate Degree
A PhD Degree comprises 240 higher education credits including both course work and the writing of a doctoral thesis. There is, however, an option to go for a licentiate degree after 120 higher education credits, subject to the student having fulfilled the tests that are part of the postgraduate programme. For a licentiate degree, the candidate must have written an accepted academic thesis corresponding to 60 higher education credits. The thesis shall be defended at a public seminar, and a special examiner shall be appointed.

Application for Licentiate or Doctoral Degree
Application for a PhD or Licentiate Degree can be done online or on a paper form. See the university web page Education > Academic life > Degrees > Application.

Termination of Studies
A PhD student may request for termination of his/her studies. Such requests are to be in writing, and this signifies that you are no longer admitted to postgraduate studies within the subject area. If you intend to break off your studies, you should notify your supervisor, Director of Studies and Research Administrator as soon as possible. You are also required to fill in a form, which is available at the Research Administrator’s office.

Scholarships and Grants
There are a large number of scholarships and grants open for PhD students including salaries as well as travel costs, participation at conferences, etc. The university web site has a lot of information about these; see Grants and scholarships. Your supervisor may also know about the prospects for scholarships and grants within your particular research field.

The University Library (UB) is part of the University of Gothenburg with a stated aim of supporting academic research and development, teaching and higher education. UB is a public library, open to all. For information about services, hours, etc., see the library’s web site.

The Central Library offers courses in, for example, information searching and reference management for students, doctoral students, researchers and teachers at the Humanities and Social Sciences departments. From autumn 2010 an invitation will be issued by the Faculty of Social Sciences to a course in information searching and reference management for newly admitted doctoral students.

The Central Library also offers cost-free instruction and training in bibliographic reference management software, for example EndNote, for teachers, researchers and doctoral students within the Humanities and Social Sciences. The instruction takes place approximately once a month, and lasts an hour and a half.

The Learning Center Campus Linné is a library for reference literature and information searching, open to students, teachers and researchers at the Campus Linné departments of Journalism, Media and Communication, Global Studies and Psychology, respectively. In addition, the Ibero-American collection is located here. At the learning centre, you can book a librarian for help with information searching, in preparing an essay, course assignment, etc.

Mail, E-mail, Room, Telephone, Keys and Card
Upon admission, the doctoral student will be allotted a room, or part of a room, plus access to computer, e-mail address, postbox and telephone. Keys will be supplied by the Caretaker’s office at Mediehuset. Employees as well as students must also have a GU card. This is a card with many functions, serving as an entry card as well as a library card, offering discounts, and more. For more information and to order your card see the page http://www.utbildning.gu.se/education/academic-life/student-services/webservicesforstudents/gucard/

Contact information

Study Administrator
Christina Jones
+46 (0)31 786 5179

Director of Studies
Magnus Fredriksson
+46 (0)31 786 1196

Assistant Head of Department & Head of Research
Mats Ekström
+46 (0)31 786 1236

Box 710
S-405 30 Gothenburg

Visiting address
Seminariegatan 1B

Page Manager: Christina Jones|Last update: 7/12/2017

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