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Doctoral student in Religious Studies

Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies




  • Type of employment Temporary position
  • Extent 100 %
  • Place Umeå

Umeå University is one of Sweden’s largest higher education institutions with over 37,000 students and about 4,700 employees. The University offers a diversity of high-quality education and world-leading research in several fields. Notably, the groundbreaking discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool, which was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, was made here. At Umeå University, everything is close. Our cohesive campuses make it easy to meet, work together and exchange knowledge, which promotes a dynamic and open culture.

The ongoing societal transformation and large green investments in northern Sweden create enormous opportunities and complex challenges. For Umeå University, conducting research about – and in the middle of – a society in transition is key. We also take pride in delivering education to enable regions to expand quickly and sustainably. In fact, the future is made here.

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The Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Umeå University develops arts and humanities and invests in future Areas of Excellence. 

The Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies invites applications for the doctoral training programme in Religious Studies.

The Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies conducts teaching and research in Archaeology, Environmental Archaeology, Philosophy, History, History and Education, History of Science and Ideas, Religious Studies and Theology.

The department offers courses in Religious Studies and Theology at the undergraduate (first-cycle), advanced (second-cycle), and graduate (third-cycle) level. Research is conducted in the fields of History of Religions, Psychology of Religion, Sociology of Religion, Religious Education, Biblical Studies, Church History, Practical Theology, Philosophy of Religion, and Systematic Theology. 

The graduate program in Religious Studies has two specializations: socio-religious studies and historical-systematic theology. Students specializing in socio-religious studies study religious beliefs, ideas, behavior, collectives, and organizations in cultural and social life, drawing inspiration from the arsenal of theories and methods from social sciences. Students specializing in historical-systematic theology study historical and modern religious ideas and practices using historical, hermeneutic, philosophical, and theological theories and methods, with the emphasis on Christian traditions. Applications are restricted to studies within the specialization historical-systematic theology, with a specific focus on Biblical Studies, Philosophy of Religion, Systematic Theology, Church History, or Practical Theology.  

To be a doctoral student at the Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies

Doctoral students write their research plan and independently conduct their thesis project in consultation with their supervisors, who are assigned based on the project´s scientific focus. Supervision and guidance occur continuously with both supervisors and director of doctoral studies. Doctoral students are a central part of the department’s research environment and are expected to be engaged through participation in activities such as seminars, research networks and scientific conferences, as well as subject meetings, workplace meetings and staff day. 


General requirements
To be admitted to studies at the third-cycle level, i.e. doctoral education, the applicant must meet both general and specific eligibility requirements. General requirements: a Master’s or equivalent degree in a relevant field, having completed course requirements worth at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits must be at second-cycle (Master’s) level, or in some other way – either in Sweden or abroad – having acquired equivalent knowledge.

Specific requirements
In order to meet the specific eligibility requirements for admission to Religious Studies at third-cycle level, the applicant must have completed at least 30 credits at second-cycle level, with an independent project worth at least 15 credits in Religious Studies/Theology. Students who have acquired equivalent knowledge in some other way, either within Sweden or abroad, may be admitted for third-cycle studies after assessment.

See general syllabus.

Assessment criteria
Applicants are ranked with reference to their capacity to benefit from and complete the programme. The assessment is based primarily on prior study results, with particular consideration given to essays, and the quality of the research plan and its relevance for the subject area. The assessment is also based on references and interviews, and additional possible evaluations of the main candidates.

The degree must be completed at the latest at the end of the application period.

Terms of employment

Doctoral students will mainly devote themselves to their own doctoral studies. Employment as a doctoral student will be for the time deemed necessary for the completion of doctoral studies at a normal rate of study, which corresponds to a full-time position for four years. An initial contract of twelve months is extended with up to two years at a time provided that the individual study plan is followed. A doctoral student may, to a limited extent, also work with teaching and administration up to a maximum of 20 percent of a full-time position. The period of employment may thus be extended up to a maximum of five years. The entry level salary is SEK 30,900 and rises in three steps to SEK 35,600.

Additional information

Doctoral students are affiliated with a research school, normally the Faculty of Arts and Humanities Doctoral College. The studies are coordinated with the doctoral training programme at the relevant department. The doctoral studies begin at the start of the autumn semester, 2 September 2024. The place of work is Umeå University. The doctoral students are expected to contribute actively to the research environment. High level of attendance at the department is required.

According to The Higher Education Ordinance, Chapter 12, Section 2, a decision of appointment for a doctoral student position may not be appealed.


An application must contain:

  • A degree certificate, transcript from the Ladok student registry, and/or equivalent attested copies of your academic transcripts proving that general and specific entry requirements are met
  • Curriculum vitae, including name and contact information of two reference persons
  • Copies of relevant Bachelor’s and Master’s theses and other relevant publications
  • A letter that states your motivation for undertaking doctoral studies, and that specifies what expertise at the department is needed for carrying out your research
  • Research plan – should normally not exceed 30,000 characters including spaces – that contains a description of the proposed: 
    - purpose and research problem
    - previous research
    - implementation, that is, method, material and theory
    - relevance
    - time plan

Your application must be registered in Umeå University’s e-recruitment system Varbi no later than 10 March 2024.

Please note: the Swedish version is the official version of this advertisement. In the case of any differences in information between this and the official version, it is the official version that is the legally correct version of the advertisement for these doctoral student positions.

We look forward to receiving your application!

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Monthly salary

Application deadline


Registration number

AN 2.2.1-1701-23


Tomas Lindgren, Professor


Jonas Nilsson, Head of Department


Union representative







Umeå University wants to offer an equal environment where open dialogue between people with different backgrounds and perspectives lay the foundation for learning, creativity and development. We welcome people with different backgrounds and experiences to apply for the current employment. We kindly decline offers of recruitment and advertising help.