Third-cycle studies

The Department of Modern Languages offers third-cycle courses and programmes in Finno–Ugric Languages, Romance Languages, Slavic Languages and German. The department has an extremely broad research profile and doctoral students with both Swedish and international educational backgrounds have defended their dissertations with us. Furthermore, the Department of Modern Languages engages the services of principal and assistant doctoral supervisors from both Uppsala University and other Swedish and international higher education institutions.

Our third-cycle courses and programmes cover a highly diverse range of subjects. The doctoral dissertations written at the department deal with the most disparate themes within languages and literary studies, as well as the pedagogy and didactics of language subjects. Grammar, phonetics, dialect, language learning and translation studies, language and society and the literary spatial and temporal representation of diverse phenomena are just a few of examples of themes explored in the research of the department’s doctoral students. Our doctoral students work with various types of material and sources – including fiction, manuscripts, newspapers, social media, as well as still and moving images – and apply both qualitative and quantitative methods such as interviews, observation, corpora and close reading in their research projects.

Over the years, the high quality of many of the doctoral dissertations completed at the department has been recognised by awards and, while still studying, our doctoral students have had opportunities to publish research results and attend conferences and other events to present their research to fellow researchers and an interested public. Nor is it uncommon for doctoral students at the Department of Modern Languages to incorporate a period of research at a foreign university into their studies. You can find more detailed descriptions of ongoing research and our current research projects in the presentations on individual subjects under the heading “Research” on the department’s website and in our researchers’ profiles in the University’s Staff Directory.

The net period of study for a PhD (240 higher education credits) is four years. As a rule, third-cycle studies are funded through employment as a doctoral student at the department. In addition to conducting their own research within the framework of third-cycle studies, many of our doctoral students also perform departmental duties such as teaching, commissions of trust or other tasks. Like all teaching staff at Uppsala University, doctoral students are offered opportunities to acquire educational qualifications and take part in continuing professional development.

How to apply for PhD studies.

PhD studies in languages and literature


Rogier Blokland, director of studies, third cycle education

Modern Languages Doctoral Students’ Society

The Modern Languages Doctoral Students’ Society represents all doctoral students at the department on matters related to third-cycle studies at departmental and university level. All doctoral students become members of the society automatically on admission to third-cycle studies.

The society elects representatives on an annual basis to bodies such as the Department Board, Faculty Board, the disciplinary domain’s Doctoral Students’ Council, various working groups and many other of the University’s decision-making bodies and committees, in order to monitor and promote the interests of doctoral students. The Doctoral Students’ Society also acts as a social forum where doctoral students can meet to exchange ideas and discuss topical issues related to research, third-cycle studies or teaching in order to strengthen cohesion in the doctoral college.

The activities of the Doctoral Students’ Society in brief

  • Representing the interests of and exercising influence on behalf of doctoral students at the department and on university-wide bodies.
  • Contact and collaboration with the department’s director of third-cycle studies.
  • Quality assurance and development of third-cycle courses and programmes in collaboration with the Department Board and faculty, including revising the general syllabus for third-cycle programmes and the range of third-cycle courses as and when necessary.
  • Collaboration with doctoral students and doctoral societies at other departments and faculties.
  • Training courses, seminars and workshops, etc. as necessary.
  • Social forum for the department’s doctoral students.


Having completed third-cycle studies and been awarded a PhD, pursuant to the Swedish Higher Education Ordinance (SFS 1993:100) you are formally qualified to autonomously conduct teaching at university level. Several of the department’s former doctoral students are currently continuing their academic careers in higher education as researchers and teachers, both in Sweden and abroad. Of course, a PhD is also a sought-after qualification in the civil service, other public authorities and the private sector. Our former doctoral students can also be found working outside academia in professions such as translation, in organisations working at various levels of education, in research archives or in administrative posts at the University.

Last modified: 2022-05-13