After the doctoral degree

Universities and university colleges
A start to your academic career further to defending your thesis could for example consist of employment as researcher or teacher. Certain subject areas within Sweden's university colleges can provide an opportunity for employment immediately after obtaining your doctoral degree.

For example, you may become employed as a research assistant, which is a time-limited employment totalling four years. The employment should be perceived as a preparation for an academic position within the university world or a higher research position within industry and commerce, at a research institute, or other research organisation. A research assistant should gain sufficient qualifications to be able to achieve associate professor competence at the end of the period of employment.

Chalmers also has a form of employment as Doctor, which is limited to two years. The objective of the Doctor position is primarily for you to obtain research experience from an international and/or industrial environment soon after taking your doctoral degree (normally maximum three years after).

Many of the fields require that you shall have carried out postdoctoral research before you become employed as researcher. This implies that you perform research for a number of years at another university – often abroad.

The most common form of financing of postdoctoral research is with a scholarship, although there are also people who become employed by the university or institute where they carry out their postdoctoral research. Remember to apply for such scholarships and positions in good time prior to taking your doctoral degree. It could be possible that you must submit your application, for example, in November/December to obtain a postdoctoral research position in September/October of the next year. Talk to your supervisor and examiner to obtain their opinion of your possibilities for an academic career, and what they did themselves after their doctoral studies.

Bear in mind that different rules apply during your postdoctoral period regarding sickness and parental insurance, unemployment benefits, income that gives right to retirement pension contributions, etc. You could also contact somebody who has already carried out postdoctoral research in the country that you have chosen so as to obtain valuable advice and suggestions. Further advice is also available at the websites of central trade-union organisations, such as SULF.

Industry and commerce
Many companies are confronted with adapting to a more scientific way of working and a need for deeper knowledge in technical fields. This implies raising the level of competence in companies, which subsequently opens the door for more people with a doctoral degree in the labour market. This particularly applies to companies that have a research and development department. Certain companies are looking for state-of-the-art competence within a specific field of research, while others are looking for your general ability to work in accordance with scientific methods. As the holder of a doctoral degree, you have an established way of analysing, processing and structuring information, and are used to working independently in an internationally demanding environment – qualities that will certainly benefit your career.

Bear in mind that most companies are looking above all for somebody who fits in as an employee. It is therefore important for you to emphasise your social proficiencies – your academic qualifications are obvious in view of your doctoral degree.

Chalmers' alumni
We very much wish to maintain contact with you after you have left Chalmers. Please become a member of the Alumni Network with more than 13,000 Chalmerists, spread across the whole world. Further information is available on Chalmers' Alumni website.

More information on searchable postdoctoral scholarships

Careers Service
Chalmers Alumni Network
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Swedish foundation for humanities and social sciences
Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research
Swedish Research Council
Swedish Research Council FORMAS

Published: Tue 08 Nov 2016. Modified: Sun 26 Mar 2017