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PhD Studentships: War Studies

Swedish Defence University

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Stockholm - Sweden
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students, International Students
Funding amount: Not Specified
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 30th June 2020
Closes: 31st August 2020
Reference: Ö 314/2020

The Swedish Defence University is an internationally prominent institution in the areas of defence, crisis management and security. We provide a unique academic environment where civilians and the military meet. We educate civilian and military leaders, experts and researchers to analyse and manage current and future crisis situations and security problems. The Swedish Defence University educates Sweden’s officers and leads the academic development of the officer profession. 

The Swedish Defence University announces one or several PhD student positions in War Studies with a focus on Joint Operations or Tactics

The central object of study in War Studies is war, practices of war and the exercise of military power. Typical research  questions in War Studies concern the nature of war, the applicability of military means, the modus operandi of military organisations and how military capacities are created, led, organised and applied in different contexts (conventional and non-conventional). Further, War Studies scholarship is concerned with driving forces in military organisations and the military profession, civil-military relations, the total defence concept, how victory and defeat in battle are conceived and explained, and the problematics of war with respect to gender, peace and security. 


Doctoral students shall primarily devote themselves to their own War Studies education at the postgraduate level. Postgraduate studies consist of working on your research project and following an individual study plan under supervision. Writing a doctoral thesis in War Studies is the central task but completing postgraduate courses is part of the programme. Usually 20% of the job consists of departmental duties in the form of teaching, administration and participation in common activities. Postgraduate studies encompass 240 ECTS credits, i. e. four years. The total time for the doctoral student position, including the 20 % departmental duties, is five years.


General entry requirements:

  • a completed master degree or equivalent, or
  • completed courses equivalent to at least 240 ECTS credits, of which  at least 60 ECTS credits must be in the second cycle, or
  • otherwise acquired equivalent knowledge in Sweden or elsewhere.

Specific entry requirements:

  • completed courses of at least 30 ECTS credits at an advanced level in the main field of War Studies or the equivalent, and
  • an approved independent essay in War Studies or the equivalent of at least 15 ECTS credits at a higher level, and
  • completed courses of another 90 ECTS credits in subjects relevant for the education. 

The specific entry requirements include the applicant having a sufficient knowledge of English (equivalent to successful completion of English B/English 6 upper secondary school level). Applicants who fulfill the basic requirements (points 1 or 2 above) from academic education at a Scandinavian university are deemed to have met the English requirements. For other applicants documented knowledge of English is required by internationally approved tests like TOEFL and IELTS. 

Areas of Research

An important aim of the Swedish Defence University is to integrate officer education with War Studies research, therefore this position is specifically aimed at practice-related research linked to the officer profession. The prioritised areas of research in this advertisement are (a) joint operations, and (b) tactical warfare in land, maritime or air operations. The doctoral student must propose a project within one of these areas, described in a short dissertation plan of action (see below under Application). 

Assessment Criteria

The selection is based on the applicant’s ability to successfully pursue the research programme and the ability to produce a War Studies dissertation of high international quality in the areas of tactics or operations. 

More specific criteria for the selection process are:

  • the quality of the dissertation subject/plan, the ability to fulfil the plan within the given time frame and the relevance to prioritised military research areas,
  • the scientific quality of previous work (e.g. Master, Magister and Bachelor theses),
  • other merits relevant to the tasks of the position. For this position practical professional experience, like being an officer at a tactical unit or higher, is a merit. 

This position requires security clearance which entails an approved security check and register control. 

Terms of Employment

A doctoral student position is classified as full-time (100%) employment. The term of the contract is temporary and is regulated by Chapter 5 of the Higher Education Ordinance. The doctoral students are placed at the Department of Military Studies (MVI). 

The Swedish Defence University strives for equality and diversity in all occupations. We welcome applicants from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Women are encouraged to apply as there is currently a predominance of men in this area of employment. It is self-evident to us that within an inclusive working environment our employees should be able to combine their working life with active parenthood. 


Applications should include:

  1. Curriculum vitae.
  2. A sample of exam work at an advanced level which encompasses at least 15 ECTS credits or other relevant independent work of a comparable level of difficulty and scope. Confirmed grades and a grading scale should be included.
  3. Draft of research proposal (no longer than five A4 pages).
  4. Degree certificates and grades from previous first and second cycle studies confirming that you meet the general and specific entry requirements for the position. If your degree is from a foreign university the contents and scope of the degree must be clearly explain.
  5. If applicable, a recognised certification of English proficiency equivalent to English 6.
  6. If the applicant is not a Swedish citizen a copy of the passport must be included.
  7. Contact details for two references.
  8. Other documentation that supplements the application (e g publications).
  9. Where appropriate, affirmation of external financing of postgraduate studies (certificate of a personal scholarship or research grant) and a copy of a ”Letter of Acknowledgement” or a certificate from an employer guaranteeing financing of the entire programme and that the applicant can devote the necessary  time  to the studies to  completed the programme in  the stipulated time.  

Submit your application through this ad on our online job listing page. Mark your application with reference number Ö 314/2020. The last application date is August 31, 2020. 

Only complete applications with all required documentation will be considered. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ascertain that the application is complete and complies with the requirements stated in the advertisement. The application is to be completed in a Scandinavian language or in English. Authorised translations must be provided for documents in other languages. Applicants may be called to interviews in Autumn 2020. The aim is to finalise employment decisions well before the end of 2020. The employment is to commence on January 1, 2020. 


Further information about the position is available from: 

Professor Peter Thunholm, Tactical Warfare Division. (peter.thunholm [at], Professor Alastair Finlan, Joint Operations Section (, Director of Studies Dan Öberg ( and HR specialist Nike Gårdinger ( 

Union representatives:  Ronnie Hjorth (SACO), Anders Oltorp (OF) and Christian Friman (OFR), Tel: 08-553 425 00.

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* Salary has been converted at the prevailing rate on the date placed
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