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Minor Field Studies (MFS)

If you are at the end of your higher education studies, you can apply for a Minor Field Studies (MFS) scholarship. The scholarship is financed by Sida. If your application is granted, you will receive a scholarship to go to a low or middle income country to collect material for your essay or thesis for your Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. You must have a supervisor at Umeå University and a contact person in the host country who can help with practical matters.

How does COVID-19 and a travel dissuasion from the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs affect the Minor Field Studies scholarship?

If you are interested in applying for a Minor Field Studies scholarship for spring semester 2022, you have the opportunity to do so. However Umeå University is not allowed to grant any scholarships to countries or regions where the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Utrikesdepartementet) dissuades from travelling to.

An MFS-study can not be undertaken when the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs advise against the below travel:

  • Dissuasion from non-necessary travels to a country
  • Dissuasion from all travels to a country
  • When all Swedes are to leave a country/part of a country

If the dissuasion from non-necessary travels and all travel is only applicable to one specific part of the country (a region), it may be possible for students to carry out the field study in a secure area of the country as long as the dangerous areas are avoided also when travelling to or from the main destination. If the advice against travel is introduced during the stay abroad, the student has 30 days to return home. In that case you do not need to meet the MFS conditions of spending 8 weeks in the field.

Umeå University will only make preliminary assessments of the received applications for countries or regions where the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affaiors advice against travelling to. If you are qualified for a Minor Field Studies scholarship, you may receive one if the situation changes. No decisions will be taken before the travel restriction is removed from the individual student’s specific country or region.

If the Ministry of Foreign Affairs changes its travelling advice

Even if a travel dissuasion has not been issued by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Umeå University should always secure that the personal safety and health of the student, and of persons concerned in the host country, is not at risk during the period of the Minor Field Study.

When the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs revise the travel restrictions, the university will make a risk assessment of where it is still unsuitable for students to travel to with regard to health, security and possibility to carry out the field study. The same risk assessment is made for students who has been granted a scholarship but still hasn't left Sweden.

When the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs removes its dissuasion from travelling to the country or region where students are planning to conduct their field study, students who have received a preliminary assessment of their application need to submit three documents before a decision can be made:

  • information from the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs which shows that it is permitted to travel to the relevant country and region for the planned field study.
  • Updated confirmation from the supervisor at the department.
  • Updated confirmation from the contact person in the field.

More information about COVID-19 can be found on our website.

Minor Field Studies - do your degree project or thesis abroad

The Minor Field Studies scholarship  makes it possible for final-year students at bachelor's or master's level to carry out their degree project abroad with a scholarship.

The scholarship gives you SEK 27,000 to travel to a low- or middle-income country to collect material for your degree project or thesis. The field study must last for at least 8 weeks.

Frequently asked questions about Minor Field Studies

How long must the field study be?

Your field study must be carried out for at least 8 weeks (56 days).

When can I apply for the scholarship?

We announce scholarships a couple of times a year, provided that we receive funding from the Swedish Council for Higher Education. The deadlines for when to apply, depends on when you plan to do your field study.

  • 1 February: if you plan to do field studies in the latter part of the Spring term, or the following Autumn term.
  • 15 May: if you plan to do field studies in the Autumn term.
  • 15 September: if you plan to do field studies during the latter part of the Autumn term, or the following Spring term.
  • 15 November: if you plan to do your field studies during the following Spring or Autumn term.

Where can I go?

You can apply for a scholarship to go to the countries listed on the Swedish Council for Higher Education's web page:

Possible cooperation countries for Minor Field Studies (Möjliga samarbetsländer för Minor Field Studies)

You can not be granted a scholarship to go to a country/region that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD) advice against travelling to. You are responsible for being informed of UD's travel recommendations regarding the destination, country and region where you will be staying.
UD travel information (In Swedish)

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs' travel information (in Swedish)

You can read the latest press release on the advice against all non-essential travel here

How much do I get?

The scholarship is a travel grant of SEK 27,000 and is not intended to cover all costs. It is a supplement to other funding, such as student grants and loans.

I have a disability, can I receive additional support?

If you need individual support, or special adaptions during your stay abroad, you can apply for an additional grant of a maximum of SEK 27,000 to cover added costs in the host country. The costs can cover:

  • transportation
  • teaching material
  • accommodation
  • assistant/career
  • medical equipment
  • physiotherapy

You need to indicate in your application if you have a disability.

Am I eligible for the scholarship?

To apply for a scholarship there are certain criteria you must meet. 

You are not eligible if you have:

  • received another scholarship financed by the Swedish Council for Higher Education or Sida for the same study period as your current application intends
  • started a postgraduate education.

You must:

  • Study at the Bachelor's or Master's level and use the scholarship to collect material for your essay or thesis.
  • Be proficient in English and have basic knowledge of Swedish. Knowledge of the host country's official language is considered a merit.
  • Be a registered student at Umeå University at the time of application and during the time of the field study.
  • Be a Swedish citizen or have a permanent residence permit in Sweden. If you are from another Nordic country but not a Swedish citizen you must have been registered in the Swedish Population Registry for at least one year.
 

Apply for Minor Field Studies

Step 1 - Contact your department

Before you apply for a Minor Field Studies scholarship, it is important to first discuss your idea with your department to know if it is feasible.

Step 2 - Find a supervisor and a contact person

You must have a supervisor at Umeå University and a contact person in the host country to carry out a field study. You need to arrange this before you apply. Instructions for the supervisor and contact person can be found at:

Instructions

Remember to forward the document to your contact person in the host country.

Supervisor at Umeå University

You must have a supervisor at Umeå University whose responsibility is corresponding to that of other degree projects on equivalent level. Your supervisor should in good time prepare you educationally and assist in project development, methodology, project design, and support and facilitate contacts with the contact person and authority of the host country.

To find a supervisor at Umeå University you should contact your course or programme coordinator.

Contact person in the host country

The contact person in the host country should be able to help you with practical matters, such as having a wide network, finding people to interview, offering advice on accommodation, transportation and information about safety. It is important to communicate with the contact person about the security situation in the host country. In your application, you should describe the role of the contact person and what he or she can help you with. The contact person does not have to be affiliated to a higher education institution.

You can check with your department if they have research projects and can suggest a potential contact person. You can also contact other organizations, for example Reporters without border, or contact one of the members of Forum Syd.

The contact person does not receive any compensation from Sida or Umeå University and it is therefore important that you compensate him or her for minor expenses in connection with, for example, local travel, materials or assisting as an interpreter. Agree on costs and benefits with your contact person so it can be included in your budget.

Step 3 - Define and develop your idea 

Your application is individual which means that even if you will be working in pair with another student, you will need to apply, and will be evaluated on an individual basis.

You should come up with an idea of what you want to do and, in consultation with your supervisor or other contact persons, develop an achievable project. Expect to be able to start your field studies two months after the deadline, at the earliest.

Keep in mind that:

  • The study is related to the Global Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  • Your study should be relevant to the country where it is conducted. For example, you cannot get a scholarship to study a Swedish company or organisation operating in a country without including its interaction with the host country.
  • Define your study - two months goes by fast, especially in a foreign country!
  • The problem statement in your study should have an overall significant societal application, even if you study individual institutions, organisations or specific events.
  • Choose a topic related to development problems.
  • Choose a topic that requires you to be in the host country to carry out your study (not a desk study).
  • You should not choose a country or area that the Government Offices of Sweden advisee against travelling to.
  • Consider the choice of method – the study must be achievable!
  • If you use an interpreter, consider how it can affect your results (choice of interpreter, man/woman, known/unknown, familiar with your subject/not familiar, official/non-official, etc.).
  • If you do not use an interpreter – reflect on the consequences it might have if your interview language is not the first language of those who are interviewed.
  • Your essay must be written in English. If your department approves, your essay can be written in the official language of the host country.

Step 4 - Prepare and send in your application

Print the application (English) and attach the required documents.

Application form

Attachments

In the document below you can find more information about which attachments you need for the application:

Attachments

One of the documents you must enclose is:

Certificate from supervisor at Umeå University

Send in your complete application with all necessary attachments to mfs.io@umu.se 

Step 5 - Selection and notification

Umeå University has an assessment group that is made up by representatives from the faculties (Faculty of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Medicine, and the Faculty of Science and Technology). The MFS-coordinator at the International Office is also part of the group but does not decide which applications are awarded a scholarship.

The selection is based on Sida's guidelines for Minor Field Studies. The academic quality as well as the achievability in the project description will be evaluated. You can read more in the document (in Swedish): Allmänna villkor
(under the headline "§8–Bidragsmottagares urval av projektdeltagare"), found at:

Minor Field Studies

About a month after you have submitted your application you will be notified by e-mail if you have been granted an MFS scholarship or not.

The decision is registered in the University's records and cannot be appealed.

When you have been granted a scholarship

Before you pack your bags there are some things you need to do. Read more about what’s to come and what you should do before you commence your field study:

Preparations

When you return

When you have completed your field study there are some practical things you need to do:

Upon return

Student stories and essays

You can read travelogues and essays by former MFS students at:

Search travelogues and essays (page in Swedish)

Join Minor Field Studies Facebook group

The Minor Field Studies Student Network is a Facebook group for students who want to share experiences and advice.