PhD Candidate in International and operational law with a specific focus on compliance with the law of armed conflict in Swedish Defence University, Centre for International and Operational Law

Institutionen för statsvetenskap och juridik

The Swedish Defence University is an internationally renowned university in the area of defence, crisis management and security. We offer a unique academic environment where military and civilian researchers, teachers and students interact. We educate and train top-level executives, experts, and researchers for the task of analyzing and managing current and future crises, security issues and conflicts. The university educates all military officers in the Swedish armed forces and leads the academic progression of the military profession. We conduct research in the areas of Law with a focus on International and Operational Law, Leadership and Command & Control, Military History, Political Science, Systems Science for Defence and Security and War Studies.

Our work includes research and education on the rules of international humanitarian law, including the right to use military force (ius ad bellum), international humanitarian law aspects of international peace operations, the laws of war (ius in bello), human rights in armed conflict, peace operations and other crisis situations, and accountability issues in international military operations at different levels of conflict and in different contexts.

The international humanitarian law research is an integral part of the overall research body at the Swedish Defence University, which is characterised by diversity and a shared focus on the conditions of crisis and armed conflict. The integration of international humanitarian law research is expressed in interdisciplinary projects in collaboration with researchers from other departments at the Swedish Defence University. In addition, we collaborate with other research institutes and initiatives, both in Sweden and abroad.

The Swedish Defence University announces one PhD student position in international and operational law, at the Centre for International and Operational Law. The field of international and operational law is defined broadly to encompass international and domestic legal aspects of defence, crisis management and security. As far as international law is concerned, it ranges from the law regulating the use of force (ius ad bellum), the law of armed conflict (ius in bello), and the law of peace operations, to the law of human rights in armed conflict, peace operations and other crisis situations, and the law of international responsibility. In domestic law our focus is on public law, especially constitutional and administrative law with regards to emergency management and total defence. We often work with comparative perspectives and research Swedish implementations of international law in our areas of interest. Our research and education focus on questions regarding for instance rule of law, state of exception, regulations on high-technology warfare, security protection, intelligence, cybersecurity and cyber defence.

The PhD position is allocated to the field of international operational law with a specific focus on compliance with the law of armed conflict.

You will be employed at the Centre for International and Operational Law in the Swedish Defence University, but you will conduct your doctoral education and examination in another Swedish or international university. This means that Swedish Defence University will cooperate with another university in the process to find a candidate for this position and that you will have to be accepted as a PhD candidate also in that other university.


Doctoral students should primarily devote themselves to their own education at the post-graduate level in international and operational law. The main task is to write a doctoral thesis in international and operational law equivalent to 165 ECTS credits, alongside completing courses of 75 ECTS credits. Teaching and administrative tasks normally do not exceed 20 % of the doctoral student position. Doctoral studies encompass 240 ECTS credits, i.e. four years. The total time for the position is five years if 20 % teaching and administrative tasks are included. 


General eligibility requirements:

  • a completed degree on the advanced level (master or equivalent), or
  • completed courses equivalent to at least 240 ECTS credits, of which at least 60 ECTS credits must be at the advanced level, or
  • otherwise equivalent knowledge acquired in Sweden orelsewhere.

Specific eligibility requirements for doctoral studies in international and operational law:

1) in Sweden, have completed a Master of Laws degree or completed a law programme, or

2) in Sweden or abroad, have acquired knowledge equivalent to the degrees mentioned in 1). In evaluating whether the knowledge is sufficient, consideration must be given to what is required to successfully benefit from the doctoral programme in the specific subject.

3) sufficient knowledge of English (equivalent to the successful completion of English 6 upper secondary school level). For other applicants documented knowledge of English is required by internationally approved tests (TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge ESOL). 

Assessment Criteria

Selection is based on an assessment of the applicant’s ability to complete the program successfully.

Assessment criteria are listed in order of importance:

  • the scientific quality of previous work and relevant studies,
  • the scientific quality and feasibility of the applicant’s research proposal, and
  • other merits of relevance to the PhD studies, as well as a demonstrated ability to execute the research proposal within the given time frame. 


Applications must include:

  • 1) Degree certificates and grades from previous first and second cycle studies confirming that you meet the general and specific eligibility requirements for the position. If your degree is from a foreign university the contents and scope of the degree must be clearly Confirmed grades and a grading scale should be included.
  • 2) Curriculum vitae (max 2 pages).
  • 3) Contact details for two references.
  • 4) A copy of the approved independent thesis (e.g. master thesis) and possible other academic publications (max 3)
  • 5) Draft research proposal (10 A4 pages).
  • 6) Description of how your research proposal is situated in the research field. Explain how your research plan relates to and is relevant for the field international and operational law with a specific focus on compliance with the law of armed conflict. (max 400 words excl. references).
  • 7) Other documentation in support of the application, e.g. work experience of relevance to the research field of international and operational law.
  • 8) If the applicant is not a Swedish citizen a copy of the passport must be
  • 9) If applicable, a confirmation of external financing of PhD studies by the external financier. This shall include a guarantee for financing the entire PhD education and that the applicant disposes of the necessary time to conduct PhD studies for the duration of the education.
  • 10) If you want to connect your PhD-project to a certain University in Sweden or abroad please add information about that to your application so we can contact them for possible cooperation around the project.

Submit your application through the Swedish Defence University’s recruitment system via the “Logga in och sök jobbet” [Log in to apply for the job] link on the job listing page.


Mark your application with reference number Ö 428/2023. 

The last application date is Oktober 2, 2023.

Only complete applications with all required documentation will be considered. It is the applicant’s responsibility to ascertain that the application is complete and complies with requirements stated in the advertisement.

Decision on employment is taken by FHS. Decision on acceptance into a PhD-program will be taken by the Swedish or international university that will be in charge of your education and examination. Acceptance into the PhD-program is dependent upon a decision on full financing throughout the period of employment. A decision on acceptance into a PhD-program will be taken in accordance with rules and regulations of the university that would award the degree upon completion of your PhD studies.

The application is to be submitted in English. Authorised translations must be provided for documents in other languages. Applicants may be called to interviews in the Autumn of 2023 so that decisions about admission to postgraduate studies and employment can be finalised well before the Spring Semester 2024. Employment is full-time (100%) and temporary in accordance with the Higher Education Ordinance, Chapter 5. The position is placed at the Department for Political Science and Law, Centre for International Operational Law in Stockholm from January 2024. PhD-candidates are currently payed a salary based on a PhD-scale, currently 27700 SEK/month at the first step. Each PhD-candidate is in addition provided with 30 000 SEK/year for travels, literature and other project related expenses.

As a consequence of an employment with the Swedish Defence University you may be required to undergo a review and security assessment to receive a security clearance. Swedish Defence University also has tasks to fulfil in case of war in case of which you may receive a wartime posting as part of your employment with us. If you already have a wartime-posting as part of an earlier employment and we want to include your competence in our organization there will be a discussion between your former employer and Swedish Defence University around where your posting should be.

Further information about the position is available from:

  • Professor Jann Kleffner, Professor of International Law, Centre for International and Operational Law,
  • Senior Lecturer Marika Ericson, Head of the Centre for International and Operational Law,

To get in contact with union representatives please send an e-mail to, OFR/ and OFR/

In the event of any disagreement between the English and the Swedish versions of this announcement, the Swedish version takes precedence.

Type of employment Temporary position
Contract type Full time
First day of employment 2024-01-01
Salary Enligt lokalt kollektivavtal om lönesättning och lönetrappa för doktorander
Number of positions 1
Full-time equivalent 100
City Stockholm
County Stockholms län
Country Sweden
Reference number Ö 428/2023
Union representative
  • SACO,
  • OFR/O, OFR/
  • OFR/S, OFR/
Published 19.Jun.2023
Last application date 02.Oct.2023 11:59 PM CEST

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