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 At University West there are four models of doing this:

  • Admitted to the third-cycle programme at University West and employed as a doctoral student at University West
  • Admitted to a third-cycle programme at another university and employed as a doctoral student at University West
  • Admitted to the third-cycle programme at University West and employed as a doctoral student at another university
  • Admitted to the third-cycle programme at University West and employed ouside the university (so-called third party doctoral student) – see below

Normally the processes of gaining admission to a third-cycle programme and gaining employment as a doctoral candidate run parallel to one another.

Admitted to the third-cycle programme at University West and employed as a doctoral student at University West

You can apply to be employed as a doctoral candidate at University West if and
when a position is free. University West does not offer stipends or scholarships.

Doctoral posts are advertised and can be applied for just like any other position. Doctoral posts are regulated by the Higher Education Ordinance and are fixed-term positions. You must be admitted to a third-cycle programme to be employed as a
doctoral student.

General and specific entry requirements
To be admitted to a third-cycle study programme, you must meet the general entry requirements, which means that you should have a second-cycle degree or at least 240 HE credits. Of these 240 credits, at least 60 must be at the second-cycle level.
You must also meet special entry requirements, which means that you have specific knowledge of the subject in which you intend to do research. The special entry requirements are listed in the General Syllabus for each subject area. In addition, you must be seen to possess the prior knowledge necessary to pursue such a course of study.

If the number of eligible applicants is greater than the number of doctoral posts, a selection must take place. This selection is based upon the student's capacity to benefit from such studies. All of the applicants who meet the formal requirements
will be ranked according to certain established criteria, which can be found in the General Syllabus for each separate subject area. Thereafter, the top applicants are interviewed at the department to which they are applying. The applicant who is deemed best qualified is recommended to the board that makes the decision whether
or not to accept the student(s). At University West it is the Research- and Research Programmes Board who make admissions decisions. The head of department at each institution determines who will be given a doctoral post.

Third-cycle students have a right to four years of financed full-time studies. The degree must be completed within eight years. An extension is possible if the student is working in the department, falls ill, goes on parental leave, takes leave to care for children, or is doing military service. Other types of leave are not excused absences from third-cycle studies, unless the student and employer have agreed otherwise. Normally, third-cycle students are required to work in the department where they are
studying – teaching classes, for example – up to 20 per cent of a full-time post. If the third-cycle student works 20 per cent of a full-time post in the department, he or she will be employed a total of five years. The first year of employment can be extended, but only a maximum of two years at a time, and should not continue more than a year after the doctoral degree has been awarded.

Third-party doctoral student

There is another way of financing third-cycle studies that involves employment outside the university. In that case, your employer must agree to your taking time off for studies and University West must agree to provide supervision. This is regulated by an ad hoc agreement between the two parties. Students who finance their studies this way are called 'third-party doctoral students'. These students are expected to devote at least 50 per cent of their time to doctoral studies. The third cycle student has at least one supervisor at University West. There is often an assistant supervisor at the third-cycle student's place of employment. Anyone whose studies are financed by a third party or other longterm, credible employment can apply directly to be admitted to a third-cycle programme (and become a third-party doctoral student).