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PhD studentship

Based on the Higher Education Ordinance, the Faculty of Medicine in Lund has chosen to apply the following rules regarding PhD studentship positions.

The maximum term of employment as a PhD student is five years (which corresponds to four years of study and one year of departmental duties) but can be extended in the event of extraordinary circumstances. Employment as a PhD student is a full-time position. A PhD student can request a part time position, but must work at least 50% of a full-time position.

Appointments are made for one year at a time, but usually not for longer than to the end of the summer/winter when the PhD student is due to have their public thesis defence.
PhD studentships cannot be filled by substitutes.

A PhD position is entitled to the same employment rights protection as other forms of employment.

Holders of PhD studentships must primarily focus on their own studies, but can to a limited degree (max 20%) engage in teaching, research and administration.


In order to teach undergraduate students, PhD students must complete and pass an introductory course in higher education teaching skills, along with one more elective course. These courses can be included in the individual study plan, and therefore do not qualify for an extension. Other teaching activities shall, however, be financed using the department’s GU-funds, which can then be used to extend the duration of the PhD studentship.

Secondary employment (bisyssla)

Those holding PhD studentships should not be permitted to have any secondary employment that may significantly prolong the time needed to complete the PhD programme. PhD students may, however, request reduced study hours by as much as 50% due to e.g. ongoing clinical work. A PhD studentship may be held on a part-time basis in conjunction with parental leave. PhD studentships may not finance undergraduate studies. This means that a person holding a PhD studentship is not permitted to engage in undergraduate studies. This applies to PhD students both prior to and after the public defence.

Departmental duties

The Postgraduate Education Committee consider that PhD studentships shall, at the time of appointment, place great emphasis on the holder of the position to be able to teach undergraduate courses. The department has the right to prescribe that departmental duties form part of the employment. Departmental duties should be planned jointly by the supervisor and the PhD student, to make sure progress with the thesis is not affected. If possible, this should be discussed as early as at the time of admission to the PhD programme. Departmental duties may not take up more than 20% of full-time hours. PhD students who have departmental duties included in their position are permitted to extend their studies in equal measure. Calculating the extension period is done according to the local working hours agreement. Time calculations for teaching are done in the same way as for all teachers employed at the faculty.

Agreements regarding departmental duties and any teaching skills courses must be recorded in the individual study plan. It is important to agree on any study period extensions that the departmental duties result in, and to make a note of this in the individual study plan. Extensions resulting from teaching are financed by the department’s GU funds.

Incremental salary increase (etapplyft)

When an employed PhD student has completed 50% (120 credits) of their studies, and again at 75% (180 credits), they are entitled to an incremental salary increase in accordance with the local agreement. The lead supervisor and the PhD student jointly complete the form below:

Send the completed and signed form to the departmental HR coordinator. A copy of the minutes from the halfway review must be attached to the form for the 120 credit increase. Retroactive payments are limited to a 6 month period.


Supervisors are responsible for making sure that employed PhD students take their holidays during their employment period. Faculty funding does not cover holiday bonus pay – this must be covered by the supervisor/department. 

Studies abroad

It is possible for PhD students to pursue a part of their education at another university abroad, as long as it is deemed to be beneficial to their studies and does not result in a prolonged study period.

PhD students intending to study abroad as part of their PhD education can request to keep their grant/studentship during the time they spend abroad. The decision in these cases lies with the supervisor.

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