PhD programme in musicology

Considering pursuing doctoral studies in musicology?

Leaflet with information about studying as a PhD student in Uppsala
General syllabus for the PhD programme in Musicology

Uppsala University is Scandinavia’s oldest and most prestigious university, with a strong record in world-leading research in both science and humanities. The university, with its many fine buildings and libraries dominating the centre of one of Sweden’s most picturesque cities, offers the perfect environment for research. It also enjoys excellent transport links: Arlanda Airport, Stockholm’s principal international airport, is 18 minutes from Uppsala by train, and Stockholm central station is 40 minutes by train.

The PhD programme in Uppsala benefits from several unique advantages. Swedish PhD candidates are classed by the university as fixed-term staff rather than as students, and employed on a four-year basis during which they are paid full-time salary (see below for details). No fees are payable by the candidate. The position is extendable by one further year in return for teaching and/or administrative work undertaken by the candidate. In addition, candidates benefit from a yearly grant of 10,000 SEK (€1,000) for travel, conference registration and acquisitions of books and other research materials. Additional travel funds may also be applied for with a good chance of success. International collaboration and research stays abroad are encouraged. PhD candidates are eligible for student accommodation with subsidised rent. For further information, visit the Uppsala University doctoral studies web page.

The doctoral programme incorporates a year’s worth of formal courses in theory and methodology and other topics more specific to the area of proposed research. As well as pursuing such courses within the department of musicology at Uppsala, students can also take courses in other departments at the university, at other Swedish or European universities, subject to availability. The courses are usually spread over the two first years. Standard practice is to pursue this formal element on a half-time basis over the first couple of years, dedicating the rest of their time to getting their individual research programme firmly established.

Each student has a main supervisor in the department, and at least one external supervisor (often an international scholar). The student has the right to demand 100 hours of supervision per year (shared between the supervisors), text reading included.

Candidates can propose research in wide variety of music-related subjects, covered by the broad expertise of the faculty and the freedom to choose external supervisors. Recently completed and current doctoral theses range from European music history c.1600–2000 to music theory and analysis, traditional and popular musics and media.

Applicants will be expected to possess a Masters degree in a relevant area at deadline for proposals. No Swedish language competence is required, and supervision and research may both be conducted in English. Support for students in learning Swedish and other languages relevant to their research is also offered by the university.

The salary for a doctoral student is as follows:

Year 1   28 800 SEK/month

Year 2   29 500 SEK/month

Year 3   31 200 SEK/month


However, as soon as you reach 50% of your dissertation (usually in year 3) you get a raise (31 700 SEK/month), and then another raise at 80% (usually in year 4) (34 400 SEK/month). The salaries usually increase by a few percent each year.

In Sweden you pay ca 32 % of tax on a salary of that size.

Last modified: 2022-09-27