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Terms of employment for doctoral students

This page provides relevant information on terms of employment for doctoral students.

Short cuts

Employment period

Employment as a doctoral student is for a fixed term and can never apply for longer than one year after completion of a Degree of Doctor or a Degree of Doctor in the fine, applied or performing arts.

The first term of employment as a doctoral student is to be no more than one year. Thereafter, the employment may be renewed for no more than two years at a time. The total period of employment is not to be longer than the corresponding third-cycle programme at a full-time rate of study over four years. Regarding studies that are to conclude with a Degree of Licentiate or a Degree of Licentiate in the fine, applied or performing arts, the total period of employment is not to be longer than the corresponding third-cycle programme at a full-time rate of study over two years. 

The total period of employment may be extended if specific circumstances apply such as illness, parental leave or elected office in union organisations. 

Student finance for doctoral studies

As a general rule, a person admitted to doctoral studies at Lund University is also to be employed through a doctoral studentship. However, it is possible to undertake your studies using another form of financing such as an external scholarship or an agreement between Lund University and another employer.

As an employed doctoral student, you are covered by local and central agreements concerning terms of employment. 

If you are admitted to doctoral studies and have a position with an employer other than Lund University, it is the employer who is responsible for employer-related matters. However, Lund University is responsible for education-related matters and the study environment when you are at the University as a doctoral student.


The entry salary for a doctoral student is decided by each faculty. The salary is then raised in stages as you progress in your studies. Each faculty decides when the salary rise is to be applied. Typically, the doctoral student receives a salary increase on completing 60, 120 and 180 credits.

When the Degree of Doctor is awarded, the salary is raised again. This salary is only paid out for a short period, as in most cases the employment ceases soon after the Degree of Doctor is awarded.

As is the case for all employees at Lund University, doctoral students’ salaries are paid on the 25th of each month.

Read more about salary and benefits as an LU employee 

Working hours

As an employed doctoral student, your annual working hours are established in the agreement on working hours for teaching staff. Opportunities for departmental duties vary between the faculties. Due to differences in the calculation of teaching hours and departmental duties, there are no general rules concerning how any extension is to be calculated in relation to departmental duties. Contact your immediate staff coordinator or staff administrator if you have questions regarding this. As a doctoral student, you can never be ordered to work overtime, i.e. to carry out departmental duties that exceed more than 20 per cent of full-time working hours.

Sick leave and annual leave

As an employed doctoral student, you have the same terms regarding annual leave as other University employees. It is assumed that doctoral students will take annual leave during the same period as teaching staff, but there is also an option to apply for annual leave in another way. Four consecutive weeks of annual leave are to be planned and taken between June and August. Contact your immediate staff coordinator about how to apply for annual leave. 

Bear in mind that as the doctoral studentship consists of several short periods of employment, it is possible that the annual leave balance does not seem to be correct when you view it in Primula. The correct balance is shown once the period of employment is extended to cover the whole calendar year. 

If you are ill, you are entitled to sick pay. This is paid by the employer for a maximum of 14 days.

You are to register sick leave in Primula on your first day of illness. If you are ill for a long period, you are to submit a doctor’s certificate. 

Read more about sick leave and annual leave

Reimbursement for business trips 

If you have to cover costs during a business trip, you are entitled to travel expenses reimbursement. In certain circumstances, you are also entitled to a subsistence allowance. It is important to follow the applicable rules when booking a trip to ensure that you receive the correct reimbursement.

Read more about business travel 

Health promotion

The University reimburses health promotion expenses, such as a gym membership card, up to a certain amount. The benefit is offered to all employees.  

Health promotion reimbursement for LU employees

Leave of absence

With a doctoral studentship, you have the same possibility as other fixed-term employees to apply for leave of absence. Bear in mind that you are not entitled to leave of absence for another position, even if you are offered another public sector position. Taking leave of absence does not entail an entitlement to extend your doctoral studentship.

Read more about other types of leave 

Secondary employment

No government employee is to engage in secondary employment that damages credibility. This also applies to doctoral students and is stated in the legislation concerning government employees. According to the general agreement on terms of employment for government employees, your manager can prohibit secondary employment that is deemed to interfere with duties or constitutes competition.

Read more about secondary employment 

Career development

Lund University offers a broad range of activities that contribute in one way or another to doctoral students’ career development. 
Read more about your possibilities

Insurance for employees

As an employee at Lund University, you are covered by occupational injury insurance that applies during working hours and for travel to and from work. You are also covered by group life insurance and are insured while on business trips and stationed abroad.

Read more about insurance for Lund University employees

Fees for assignments on committees and boards 

As a doctoral student, if you take on assignments on committees or boards this may sometimes involve receiving fees. The document in the right-hand menu shows what applies for university-wide bodies.

The doctoral studentship ends

 When your employment as a doctoral student ends, you may be entitled to certain benefits in accordance with the State Job Transition Agreement. This means, for example, that you may receive assistance in finding new employment and certain financial support. 

Read more on the Job Security Foundation (Trygghetsstiftelsen) website


Contact your organisational unit’s HR/staff officer if you have any questions.