First year filled with courses
In the autumn semester of 2019, 11 new doctoral students from across the globe started at the Department of Economics, all with different situations and backgrounds. Universen met the new doctoral students to ask why they applied for doctoral education at Uppsala University.
“I didn’t want to stop studying following my Bachelor’s and Master’s level studies. I wanted to continue developing,” explains Malin Backman, doctoral student.
“I enjoy teaching and studying, so doctoral education was a natural next step,” says Daniel Klug Nogueira, doctoral student from Brazil. I applied to Uppsala University because Sweden offers extremely good conditions for doctoral students in, and the Department of Economics is internationally successful within my field of research.”
Two doctoral students from Asia offer slightly different reasons for ending up in Sweden:
“Sweden is one of the world’s most equal societies, which is positive for my field. It is also a peaceful and calm country and I am a peaceful person too,” notes Zunyuan Zheng from China.
“Indeed, it is not chaotic here. I come from India where the population is much larger. It is easier to concentrate here,” adds Rinni Sharma from India.
Doctoral education begins with on year of obligatory courses.
“The entire first year involves various courses, which is good as we all come from different backgrounds and it creates a common platform,” explains Zheng.
“There is no room for anything other than the courses for the first year, but in the second year they can begin thinking about their dissertation subject,” says Mikael Bask, Director of Studies of Doctoral Education at the Department of Economics.
Immediately following admission all doctoral students who are admitted are assigned a mentor from among the department’s previous doctoral students.
“The department ensured a very well organised reception, and the doctoral students in particular were really inclusive,” explains Malin Backman.
However, there are also aspects that could be improved during the initial period following admission.
“It would be good to have more examples of what happens after we defend our dissertations, such as examples of areas in which those who have defended their dissertations are working and how doctoral education impacts opportunities in the labour market,” adds Backman.
It has been noted at the department that the visa process for doctoral students coming from countries outside the EU has become a greater problem over the last few years.
“Sometimes the case officers at the Swedish Migration Agency are not satisfied with the documentation they receive, meaning we have had to send in additional documents or simply the same documents all over again. It has cost us a lot of time and frustration,” notes Mikael Bask.
Many of the foreign doctoral students nod in recognition when Akib Khan from Bangladesh raises the issue of accommodation.
“It would be good to have better information and systems to find accommodation.”
“Yes, a better queue system is needed, along with information as to whether we are going to get accommodation via Uppsala University Housing Office or not and where you can go instead to find accommodation,” adds Daniel Klug Nogueira.
Uppsala University Housing Office rents out furnished accommodation to doctoral students, visiting researchers and Master’s students. However, only fee-paying Master’s students are guaranteed accommodation via the Housing Office.