Umeå University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities

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 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 Archaeology with a focus on Arctic & Sub-Arctic Wetlands. 

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.

Third-cycle (PhD) level studies in archaeology at Umeå are undertaken under two broad themes: (a) archaeology and (b) archaeology specialising in environmental archaeology. Applications are welcome under either of these themes, as long as there is a clear and demonstrable connection to Arctic and/or Sub-Arctic Wetlands and some aspect of sustainable development. Applications including one or more of the following topics are especially encouraged:

  • Palaeoentomology, archaeobotany, palynology or other archaeological research methods (including methods development)
  • Long-term climate change (past, present, future) and threats to cultural heritage and landscapes (e.g. preservation of organic remains in wetlands, palaeoenvironmental reconstructions)
  • Sustainable development, sustainability and/or human-landscape interactions over long timescales

Projects using the laboratory (e.g. MAL) or digital (e.g. databases, GIS) resources available at Umeå University are encouraged, as is international or local collaboration and interdisciplinary collaboration.

At Umeå we have a well-resourced archaeology research group that is continuing to develop and expand its research activities in the study of the human past, and whilst we place an emphasis on human-landscape interactions in the past. We are also interested in developing research into areas linked to among other things, cultural heritage conversation and sustainability, but also in directions that expand the subject´s range of areas of interest in general.

The department hosts The Environmental Archaeology Lab (MAL)  - an established research unit with excellent laboratory facilities. MAL engages in national and international projects in environmental archaeology research and consultancy and leads the Archaeological research module  of the Swedish National Infrastructure for Digital Archaeology ( We are also involved in research and development connected to the Swedish Biodiversity Data Infrastructure ( and work closely with Humlab at Umeå university (

See the archaeology syllabus (at for more information on the structure, including its composition and content, of the PhD program.

To be a PhD student at the Department of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
As a PhD student, you will formulate your own research plan and independently conduct your project in consultation with your supervisors. Supervisors are appointed on the basis of your project’s research focus. You will have continuous supervision and meetings with both the supervisors and director of studies for the doctoral programmes. As an archaeology PhD student, you will be part of the department’s larger research environment and will be expected to be involved and contribute through participation in seminars, research networks and meetings, and conferences. You will also participate in other meetings and gatherings at the department, such as subject meetings, workplace meetings and staff days.

The Arctic graduate school 
As a doctoral student, you will be part of an interdisciplinary context with affiliation both to your own department and the Arctic Graduate School with a focus on sustainable development at Umeå University. The Arctic Graduate School is part of the Arctic Centre's activities. You will participate in the research school's course activities, seminars, workshops, and international collaborations, among other things. 


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 studies in archaeology at third-cycle level, the applicant must have completed at least 30 credits in archaeology at second-cycle level, with an independent project worth at least 15 credits. Students who have acquired equivalent knowledge in some other way, either within Sweden or abroad, may be admitted for third-cycle studies after assessment.

Interdisciplinary experience relevant for the proposed project and in relation to the Arctic Graduate School is welcome.

See general study plan for more information on requirements:

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. 

To be considered for eligibility, existing degrees must have been completed at the latest by the application deadline. 

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 will be 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, administration or other relevant activities 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. The entry level salary is 29,600 SEK and rises in three steps to 34,200 SEK. 

Additional information
Studies will start as soon as is feasible within the autumn term of 2023. The place of work is Umeå and a high level of attendance at the department is required; PhD students are 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. 

Please submit your application through the application platform, and include:

  • 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.
  • A Bachelor's or Masters' theses (or equivalent degree project) relevant to the main field, along with any other research qualifications
  • A cover letter that states the motivation for undertaking research training leading to a PhD, and that specifies what expertise at the Department is needed for carrying out your research project (max one page).
  • Research plan – max. 8 pages, single line spacing at 12 pts (diagrams are welcome) – containing 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 submitted in Umeå University’s e-recruitment system no later than 5th October 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 As soon as is feasible within the autumn term of 2023
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100%
City Umeå
County Västerbottens län
Country Sweden
Reference number AN 2.2.1-1472-23
  • Philip Buckland, Associate Professor, +4690-7865295,
  • Jonas Nilsson, Head of Department, +4690-7869990,
  • Henrik ÅströmElmersjö,Director of doctoral studies, +4690-7866816,
Union representative
  • SACO, 090-7865365
  • SEKO, 090-7865296
  • ST, 090-7865431
Published 14.Sep.2023
Last application date 05.Oct.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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