Umeå University, Faculty of Arts

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. And 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 what it is all about. But also about delivering education to enable regions to expand quickly and sustainably. This is simply where the future is built.

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

The Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies invites applications for the doctoral training program in Religious Studies with a focus on Islamic Studies.

The Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies conducts teaching and research in 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, 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 and systematic theological theories and methods, with the emphasis on Christian traditions. Applications are restricted to studies within the specialization socio-religious studies, with a specific focus on Islam. We welcome applicants who plan to write a dissertation with a focus on contemporary Islam in Southeast Asia and/or Islam and politics. 

The PhD student will be part of the newly established national Graduate School in Islamic Studies, co-funded by the Swedish Research Council. The graduate school will have twelve PhD students in Islamic Studies based at seven Swedish universities, including Umeå University. The graduate school will offer courses and organize joint activities for all PhD students, such as summer schools, workshops, conferences, and seminars. For more information about the Graduate School in Islamic Studies, see or contact its coordinator, Professor Jonas Svensson,


General requirements 
To be admitted to studies at the third-cycle level, 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 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 study plan 

Assessment criteria

Applicants are ranked with reference to their capacity to benefit from and complete the program. 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 possibly additional evaluations of the main candidates. The ability to work independently, to perform tasks on time and other personal characteristics relevant to the ability to undertake research at doctoral level and successfully complete a PhD education will be assessed.

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

Terms of employment

PhD students will mainly devote themselves to their own education at third-cycle level. Employment as a PhD student will be for the time deemed necessary for the completion of research studies at a normal rate of study, which corresponds to a full-time position for four years. An initial contract of 12 months is extended with up to two years at a time provided that the individual study plan is followed. A PhD student may to a limited extent also work with teaching and administration up to a maximum of 20 percent of full-time. The period of employment may thus be extended up to a maximum of five years. 

Additional information

The PhD student will be part of the national Graduate School in Islamic Studies, and it will be coordinated with the PhD training program in Religious Studies at the Department of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies. The PhD studies begin on September 4, 2023. The place of work is Umeå and a high level of attendance at the department is required. PhD student is expected to actively contribute to the research environment.  According to The Higher Education Ordinance, chapter 12 §2, a decision of appointment for a PhD student position may not be appealed. 


An application should contain:

  • A degree certificate, transcript from the Ladok student registry, and/or equivalent attested copies of your academic transcripts proving that general and specific requirements are met.
  • Curriculum vitae, including name and contact information of two reference persons.
  • Copies of relevant BA and MA theses and other relevant publications.
  • A letter that states your motivation for undertaking research training leading to a PhD, 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 project’s:  
    - 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 no later than May 2, 2023. 

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 PhD positions. 

We look forward to receiving your application! 

Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment 2023-09-04
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100%
City Umeå
County Västerbottens län
Country Sweden
Reference number AN 2.2.1-504-23
  • Jonas Nilsson, Head of Department, +4690-7869990,
  • Tomas Lindgren, Professor, +4690-7869564,
  • Henrik ÅströmElmersjö,Director of doctoral studies, +4670-7866816,
Union representative
  • SACO, +4690-7865365
  • SEKO, +4690-7865296
  • ST, +4690-7865431
Published 30.Mar.2023
Last application date 02.May.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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