Doctoral Positions in Public Administration

University of Gothenburg School of Public Administration


Doctoral students in Public Administration

Ref PAR 2020/1508


The University of Gothenburg tackles society’s challenges with diverse knowledge. 49 000 students and 6 400 employees make the university a large and inspiring place to work and study. Strong research and attractive study programmes attract scientists and students from around the world. With new knowledge and new perspectives, the University contributes to a better future.

The School of Public Administration is a department within the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Gothenburg. We provide education and research in the discipline Public Administration.

Public Administration is multi-disciplinary, combining perspectives in the study of the function of the public sector and its role in society.

We provide candidate, master and PhD degrees in Public Administration. We also provide single subject courses and contract education. Cooperation between the university and society is a core idea of School of Public Administration.

The School of Public Administration has (in December 2020) close to 60 employees of which 16 are PhD students. Our offices are in Campus Haga in central Gothenburg.

More information about our department is found on our web page

The School of Public Administration is seeking qualified and motivated persons for three PhD student positions in Public Administration, who are expected to be part of the groups of researchers linked to the following three teaching teams:

  1. Democracy, politics and administration. This group currently conducts research into how policies are created and implemented in public administration; civil servants and their roles; local politics and democracy; politics and administration in multi-level systems; scrutiny of public activities; sustainable development; etc. The group welcomes both applicants whose research interests relate to these themes and applicants who contribute new perspectives.
  2. Organisation, management and society (OMS). Research and teaching within the field of organisation, management and society is based on an interest in understanding organisation in relation to major contemporary challenges. In both research and teaching. we look for explanations regarding how public actors are working in conjunction with local communities to become innovative and sustainable, to develop employees, officials, politicians and their surroundings, and how they can be successful in their endeavour. The research is multifaceted in both perspective and research methods.
  3. Public finance. This group currently conducts research into the role of accounting and governance in public administration. Areas of interest concern governing principles, forms of accountability, efficiency problems and coordination. The group welcomes both applicants whose research interests relate to these themes and applicants who contribute new perspectives

Job assignments

A PhD student is conducting research and is expected to contribute to the development of knowledge in the discipline Public Administration. The PhD student is expected to develop own ideas and communicate scientific results orally and in writing.

The aim of the doctoral (third- cycle) education is for the PhD student to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to be able to conduct research autonomously within Public Administration and to contribute to the development of knowledge within the discipline through the production of a scholarly thesis.

Another aim for the doctoral (third- cycle) education in Public Administration is for the PhD student to develop an ability to later apply the acquired knowledge and skills within post-degree research or other professional work.

The doctoral (third- cycle) education studies are equivalent to four year full-time and lead to a Degree of Doctor. Those appointed to doctoral studentships shall primarily devote themselves to their studies. Those appointed to doctoral studentships may, however, work to a limited extent with educational tasks, research and administration (departmental duties). Duties of this kind may not comprise more than 20 per cent of a full-time post. Departmental duties will extend the studentship by a corresponding period.


Applicants must meet both general and specific entry requirements.

 General entry requirements: To be eligible for doctoral (third- cycle) education applicant must have (according to the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance, SFS 1993:100 chapter 7, section 39):

  1. been awarded a second-cycle degree
  2. been awarded at least 240 higher education credits, of which at least 60 must be at second-cycle level, or
  3. acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.

Specific entry requirements: To be eligible for the doctoral (third- cycle) education in Public Administration applicants must have (cf Swedish Higher Education ordinance, chapter 7 section 40): completed a second-cycle degree in public administration or a second-cycle degree incorporating a master thesis/degree project focusing on public administration. The specific entry requirements are also met by applicants who have acquired substantially equivalent knowledge in some other way in Sweden or abroad.


Regulations for the evaluation of qualifications for education on a doctoral level are given in the Higher Education Ordinance, chapter 7. The chosen candidates are those deemed most likely to complete the programme successfully. The availability of supervisors within the department is also a factor. As a base for this evaluation, the following criteria will be used:

  1. The master thesis/degree project and other relevant texts will be evaluated according to traditional criteria for scientific quality. An overall assessment is made based on the candidate’s ability to formulate a research problem; theoretical orientation; methodological awareness; analytical abilities; and presentation.
  2. A statement regarding which of the three research groups A) Politics, democracy and administration, B) Organisation, management and Society (OMS), or C) Public Finance, the applicant wishes to join.
  3. A project proposal in which the candidate present a research interest and a suggested theme for the dissertation. The proposal should indicate familiarity with earlier and current research and show the ability to formulate scientific problems.
  4. Degree certificates.
  5. CV, course grades and other documents claimed by the candidate. Assessments and merits in areas relevant for research in Public Administration will be included in the evaluation.
  6. Letters of recommendation (not mandatory)
  7. Documented ability to communicate in both Swedish and English – in speech and writing.
  8. Declared intention to take an active part in the academic milieu of School of Public Administration in Gothenburg.
  9. Interviews may be included as part of the evaluation process.

A PhD student position could also be available for candidates whose employer is prepared to finance the education, so-called external position. The assessment criteria for external positions are the same as above. A special agreement is established for such positions.

Applications are prepared by a working group, decisions on admission are taken by the head of the department. Interviews with a selection of applicants can be conducted. Decision on admissions cannot be appealed.


Employment: Time-limited employment, four years of full-time studies. Full-time employment (100%)

Location: School of Public Administration, Gothenburg
Access: August 16, 2021 (or according to agreement)

After admission to third-cycle studies you will be appointed to doctoral studentship. Regulations for employment of doctoral students are given in SFS 1993:100. The initial appointment may apply for no longer than one year. An appointment may be renewed for no more than two years at a time. A person may be appointed to a doctoral studentship for a total of eight years. The total employment period may, however, not exceed the time corresponding to full-time third-cycle study for four years

The university applies a local agreement on the salary of PhD students.

For further information regarding the position

David Karlsson, Deputy Head of Department, responsible for research and the PhD programme
Tel: + 4631-786 1741
E-mail address:

Maria Utterhall, HR Officer
Tel + 4631-786 2966
E-mail address:

Christoffer Matshede, PhD student representative
E-mail address:


Union representatives at the University of Gothenburg:

Information for International Applicants

Choosing a career in a foreign country is a big step. Thus, to give you a general idea of what we and Gothenburg have to offer in terms of benefits and life in general for you and your family/spouse/partner please visit:

How to apply

In order to apply for a position at the University of Gothenburg, you have to register an account in our online recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline. The selection of candidates is made on the basis of the qualifications registered in the application.

Register your application electronically under "Apply". In order for the application to be complete, it must contain the following:

1) A presentation letters of up to 1,000 words (about 2 pages), preferably shorter. The letter shall contain three paragraphs in the following order:
a) a short presentation of yourself including a brief presentation of your qualifications and an account of your ability to communicate in speech and in writing in both Swedish and English.
b) a brief presentation of your research interests where you motivate why you would like to be part of one of the three groups described above, (A) Politics, democracy and administration, B) Organisation, management and society (OMS), or C) Public Finance)
c) a brief explanation of why the School of Public Administration is interesting to you, including a statement of how you intend to participate actively in the academic milieu of the School of Public Administration if you do not live in Gothenburg at the time of application.

2) CV, including a publication list (if publication list is available).
3) An essay. Normally, the thesis work (usually master thesis) is submitted, but it may also be a process or further development of the essay, such as an article, a book chapter or other similar work. We only consider texts in Swedish and English or translations into any of these languages. In the case of translations, the original text must also be attached and the text should be translated in its entirety.
4) A project outline in which the applicant provides a preliminary proposal for a planned dissertation and research focus within the framework of the above-mentioned project. Max 1,500 words (about 3 pages), excluding references.
5) Certified copies of academic grades and, where applicable, certificates of other relevant qualifications. Recommendation letters can be attached, but are not mandatory.

Please note that it is up to the applicant to complete the application, and that incomplete applications or additions after the deadline date will not be taken into account.

All electronic documents must be submitted as PDF files.

Any scientific publication, writing and the like that are not in electronic form must be sent to (Mark your documents with a diary number: PAR 2020/1508

University of Gothenburg
School of Public Administration
To. Maria Utterhall
Postbox 710
SE405 30 Gothenburg

Closing date: 2021-03-01

The University of Gothenburg promotes equal opportunities, equality and diversity.

Applications will be destroyed or returned (upon request) two years after the decision of employment has become final. Applications from the employed and from those who appeal the decision will not be returned.

In connection to this recruitment, we have already decided which recruitment channels we should use. We therefore decline further contact with vendors, recruitment and staffing companies.


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