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National Graduate School of Historical Studies

The National Graduate School of Historical Studies was established by Government decision in 2000 and is located at Lund University. Through the Graduate School, doctoral students are able to interact with other doctoral students and academic staff engaged in historical research at Lund University, the University of Gothenburg, Linnaeus University, Malmö University and Södertörn University. About 80 doctoral students and about 100 supervisors are taking part. Subjects included are History, Human Rights, History of Ideas and Sciences, Ethnology, Art History and Visual Studies, Book History, Musicology, Historical Archaeology, and Classical Archaeology and Ancient History. Our operations are characterised by breadth and depth in a multidisciplinary environment.

The Aim of the Graduate School

The aim of the National Graduate School of Historical Studies is to provide education of high quality for doctoral students in Sweden specialising in historical subjects. This will be achieved through collaboration across departmental and subject borders. The work has two aspects:

1. A graduate education partnership, hosted by Lund University and with the University of Gothenburg, Linnaeus University, Malmö University. and Södertörn University as partners.

2. A national network with opportunities for international expansion based on the needs and interests of the doctoral students.

The graduate education partnership means that the Graduate School will finance doctoral student positions and coordinate graduate education in History and related subjects at participating institutions (however, from 2019 finance is available only for new doctoral students at Lund University). Methods include joint residential seminars, one-day events and courses on specific themes, and international doctoral student exchanges, as well as facilitation of contacts between supervisors, teachers, and doctoral students.

An important aspect of quality graduate education is to prepare the doctoral students for life after graduation. The labour market for newly graduated PhDs in History and related subjects is a recurring matter for discussion during residential courses and thematic events organised by the Graduate School. 

The History of the Graduate School

The original Graduate School (National Graduate School of History) was a partnership between the departments of History at Lund University, Malmö University (then a college), Linnaeus University and Södertörn University. A little over ten years from the start, new initiatives were introduced, which among other things meant that the University of Gothenburg became a partner. There was a further expansion of operations in the autumn of 2014, when doctoral students in Ethnology, History of Ideas and Sciences, and Historical Archaeology at Lund University began to be financed by the Graduate School. In 2016 the Graduate School began financing doctoral students in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History at Lund University, and by now the partnership also includes Human Rights, Book History, Art History and Visual Studies, and Musicology at Lund University.

The Organisation of the Graduate School

Ultimate responsibility for the Graduate School lies with the Board of the Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology at Lund University. The Board for Third-Cycle Studies of the Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology is responsible for implementing Board decisions. The Graduate School comes under the remit of the History subject in the Department of History in Lund. The Department appoints a Director of Operations for the Graduate School who, together with the Director of Second and Third Cycle Studies in History, is responsible for the functioning of operations. The Director of Operations and the Director of Studies are assisted by a Deputy Director of Studies, education coordinators and other staff associated with a management group tasked with running the administration.

The Director of Operations for the Graduate School has lead responsibility for the graduate education partnership and for networking. A Collaboration Council acts in an advisory capacity. Its members include representatives of the History subject at the partner universities and of the doctoral students collectively. In turn these subject representatives are responsible for contacts with other subjects with a historical perspective participating in the graduate education partnership.

Up until 2019 the Graduate School financed doctoral student positions at Lund University and partner universities. As from 2019 the Graduate School only finances new doctoral students at Lund University. For doctoral students at other institutions, who are still financed by the Graduate School, the old agreement of 2016 remains in force. Doctoral students are accepted by and employed at one of the collaborating universities. Doctoral students are accepted in accordance with the general provisions of the Higher Education Ordinance and the local regulations of the specific university, and are employed by the specific university. The working language of the Graduate School is Swedish, and most subjects included in the Graduate School require a prospective doctoral student to be able to comprehend texts in Swedish.

The option of joining the network and participating in activities arranged by the Graduate School is also open to doctoral students in Lund who are financed by their faculties or by projects, if they belong to departments that also have doctoral students financed by the Graduate School. The other participating universities offer doctoral students in History, and in subjects where the Graduate School finances doctoral students, the option of taking part in the activities of the Graduate School.

Activities of the Graduate School

Introductory Year

Doctoral students financed by the Graduate School must complete the prescribed introductory year. Doctoral students who are not financed by the Graduate School must complete the Graduate School introductory year if they are to be regarded as part of the Graduate School partnership. The introductory year includes the following elements: participation in the Introduction Day, completion of the Historical Problems course, presentation of their thesis project at the PM Residential Seminar at the end of January, and completion of the Historical Theory course.

Residential Seminars

Regular residential seminars are central to the programme of the Graduate School. These are arranged twice each year, principally for discussion of the doctoral students’ own texts. Each January there is a PM Residential Seminar, where the most recent intake of doctoral students present their thesis projects, with doctoral students of previous intakes acting as opponents. Each September sees an Autumn Residential Seminar, where all except the most recent intake of doctoral students are expected to present texts based on their thesis projects. Every second year this residential seminar has an international flavour, expressing the ambition of the Graduate School to encourage international publication of work. On these occasions the texts are expected to be in English.


There are various types of courses within the Graduate School: compulsory courses, optional courses, and extended literature courses. The courses on Historical Problems and Historical Theory are compulsory for doctoral students within the Graduate School partnership. Optional courses are also offered within the framework of the Graduate School, but may also – space permitting – be made available to other doctoral students in subjects with a historical perspective.The aim of the extended literature courses is to enhance the quality of individual literature studies. A teacher plus a minimum of four doctoral students from at least two of the participating universities get together for a day-long examination seminar. Doctoral students are free to initiate extended literature courses themselves.

Mobility Grant

Under this heading the Graduate School provides funding for a minimum of one month’s visit to a university in another country. These grants are envisaged as an opportunity for Graduate School students to spend time in a foreign research environment likely to be beneficial for their thesis work. A precondition is an invitation from the foreign university making it clear that they offer a workspace for the duration of the stay. In addition, the applicants’ principal supervisor has to certify that the stay abroad is important for their thesis work. These grants are advertised once per year and are only open to doctoral students included in the Graduate School partnership structure. 

Desk swaps

Desk swaps form part of the effort of the Graduate School to create national and international networks for doctoral students in subjects with a historical perspective. The exchange is on offer to doctoral students in the whole of Sweden and also to students at those institutions in the Nordic and other European countries with whom the Graduate School has partnership agreements. The identity of participating universities may change from year to year. The desk swap means that the doctoral student is able to spend two weeks in a department at another university with the purpose of being an active participant in a new research environment. In the course of their stay the doctoral students are expected to do a presentation of their research project, orally or in writing, for instance in a seminar or doctoral student group.

  • The Graduate School has been organising the Nordic exchanges since 2012. They take place in March each year (weeks 10 and 11).
  • Participants in the international exchange are the University of York (including sister departments at the University of Sheffield and the University of Leeds) and Universität Bielefeld. This desk swap is organised as a triangular exchange and takes place in November. For desk swaps with York and Bielefeld the Graduate School arranges and covers the cost of travel and accommodation for doctoral students sent out by the Graduate School.

Doctoral Student Conference with York and Bielefeld

Each June the Graduate School organises a doctoral student conference jointly with our international partners, the University of York and Universität Bielefeld. The purpose of the conference is to create interactions between doctoral students and to provide them with an opportunity to present their thesis projects, briefly and orally, in an international context. The conference location rotates between the universities.


The Graduate School invites doctoral students from participating institutions to organise workshops together with doctoral students from other universities in order to create networks around central aspects of their thesis work. A workshop is defined as a small-scale event with short presentations by the participants and a great deal of discussion. The Graduate School provides financial support and helps arrange bookings.

Writing Retreats

The Graduate School organises writing retreats for doctoral students from participating institutions. For three days (and two nights) concentrated writing time is offered in an environment that is secluded, calm and beautiful. The main purpose is for the doctoral students to have time to work on their own texts but also to have opportunities for conversations around writing. A senior level teacher, with experience in teaching scientific writing, is present as support for part of the retreat.

Thematic Events

The Graduate School organises regular thematic events. These may consist of public lectures and tutorials by an invited guest, by preference a leading researcher from an international university. Doctoral students are able to take part in individual sessions, so called tutorials. Doctoral students are welcome to submit proposals for invited guests.

Equalisation Grant

The partnership agreement stipulates that the doctoral student’s home university provides pre-doctoral bursaries. Such bursaries may be used for purchase of literature and for travel to archives or conferences. The Graduate School intends participating doctoral students to have equivalent conditions in terms of opportunities to attend conferences and work in archives and deems it appropriate for doctoral students to be able to spend SEK 40,000 of so called pre-doctoral bursaries. Applications for equalisation grants require completion of the introductory year as well as participation in one further residential seminar in its entirety.

Funding for International Publication and Language Revision

The Graduate School covers the cost of language revision of the texts of all participant doctoral students in connection with the international residential seminars. In addition, the Graduate School offers the chance of further language revision for doctoral students who submitted texts to the international seminars in 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020. The aim is to provide support through language revision throughout the process leading up to international publication. The Graduate School also covers the cost of language revision to a maximum of SEK 20,000 for a thesis written in a language other than the writer’s native language. This applies to doctoral students financed by the Graduate School.


The Graduate School communicates via the following channels: email, website, monthly newsletter, and a Facebook group.

Sidansvarig: henrik.rosengrenhist.luse | 2023-08-29