We live in an increasingly globalized world, which means new challenges for Sweden as a nation. Globalization thus also places new requirements on how education and research should be designed. The initiative behind the creation of the Research School Stockholm University Graduate School of International Studies (SIS) is based on the conviction that the challenges of globalization and the opportunities can best be understood and addressed in a multidisciplinary context, where the university’s core competencies are the basis, and in close cooperation with other internationally prominent research environments. Today, research is undoubtedly conducted with a focus on international studies – which is to be understood in a broad sense, here – at a number of departments and faculties at the University of Stockholm. While many of these environments are eminent in their respective fields, cooperation in research and research education currently is limited, and potential synergies are, to a large extent, unrealized. The Research School brings together some of the leading competencies in international studies, in a joint initiative, by taking advantage of opportunities for coordination and cross-fertilization in research and research education. The ambition is to become an international and multidisciplinary research institution with a focus on international studies that can compete with the best of its kind in Europe as well as attract the best students and Ph.D. students from Sweden, Europe, and the entire world.


Purpose and benefits of SIS

Multidisciplinary approach: The starting point for the Research School’s composition is the insight that a multidisciplinary approach is necessary to effectively approach international studies as a research area. The participating institutions all have the experience that the most cutting-edge research is taking place in the interface with other scientific disciplines.

Internationalized research: The realization that research must be international in its orientation is central to the Research School. In a relatively small academic environment like the Swedish one, the researchers often quickly become national experts in their field. To get inspiration, reach out with research, and participate in the scientific debate, it is therefore necessary that researchers are active internationally through participation in international exchanges and courses, participation in international conferences and workshops, and publications in international journals and with international publishers.

Collaboration with the policy world: A third approach that is characteristic of the Research School is the importance of collaboration with the policy world. Stockholm University has unique advantages in this respect by its status as the university of the capital. The intention is to utilize Stockholm’s strategic advantages as a trademark and modern capital. Furthermore, international studies are an area of great interest outside the scientific community. Stockholm University, through its strong scientific competence, is an attractive partner with Government Offices, parliament, public authorities, and private organizations outside the scientific community.


Goals and synergies

SIS has clear goals and brings with it great conditions to generate mainly four types of synergies:
• Utilization of complementary research profiles.
• Opportunities for both broader and more specialized courses.
• Common benefit of leveraging international networks.
• The creation of an internationally competitive research environment.

Utilizing complementary research profiles: The participating research environments have their relative strengths in various fields within SIS . Global governance and security policy at the Department of Political Science; International relations from a historical perspective at the Department of Economic History and International Relations; Historical perspective from the Department of History; Public Law, EU Law, and International Law at the Faculty of Law; environmental research from a social planning perspective; Global urbanism at the Department of Human Geography as well as global media and comparative media studies at the Department of Journalism, Media, and Communication.

Opportunities for both broader and more specialized courses: While the competence to provide qualified courses is great at the participating environments, the foundation for each department / faculty is often too small for courses to be given at all, or to that extent and with the kind of regularity that is desirable. The Research School intends, to the fullest extent possible, to benefit from the courses that are already available at the respective departments’ research programs, together with the new courses that have been created in line with the Research School’s research profile. An important objective of the new courses that are created is that they leverage the collective expertise, in order to create a multidisciplinary dynamic between different subjects and research traditions. Guest lecturers will be included as natural elements, particularly, by experts who work with international issues in a practical setting.

Common benefit of international networks: All the participating environments have international networks in research and research education, and opportunities are expanded further by opening up to researchers from other departments / faculties at the University of Stockholm.

The creation of an internationally competitive research environment: One of the main goals of the Research School is to create a dynamic and high-quality scientific environment that can compete with the best research programs in Europe. The increased cooperation between the participating institutions and joint ventures in the internationalization provides the right conditions to achieve this goal. An important ingredient in creating a successful international environment concerns being able to provide Ph.D. students the best conditions to publish internationally. In addition to a joint seminar that runs like a common thread through the entire program and which is conducted in an interdisciplinary spirit by researchers from all participating institutions, international research conferences will also be held twice a year where Ph.D. students will present “work-in-progress” in order to develop them into articles for publication in peer-reviewed journals.



SIS is governed by its own overall administrative and management unit, consisting of an Office and a steering committee that is responsible for the Research School. The steering committee consists of one representative from each department as well as a Ph.D. student representative, which meets once a month. A continuous dialogue takes place with representatives of the regular research programs and doctoral student councils at the departments involved. The Office will consist of a director and an administrator who will maintain the daily practicalities and is responsible for the administration.

Participants in the project:

• Thomas Jonter, Director of the Research School and Professor of International Relations, Department of Economic History and International Relations
• Mark Rhinard, Associate Professor of International Relations, Department of Economic History and International Relations
• Jonas Tallberg, Professor of Political Science with specialization in International Policy, Department of Political Science
• Ulrika Mörth, Professor of Political Science with a specialization in European Politics, Department of Political Science
• Pål Wrange, Professor of International Law, Director of Studies for research program, Faculty of Law
• Kristina Riegert, Professor of Media and Communication Studies
• Ilda Lindell, Associate Professor in Human Geography
• Kirsti Niskanen, Professor of History with focus on Gender History


Admission and selection

Admission of doctoral students to the Research School follows the guidelines developed by the institutions and approved by the departments. Applications for a Ph.D. position are addressed and assessed by each participating institution / department. Doctoral students are accepted by the institution / department after consultation with the Research School's steering committee.



Postgraduate education is four years. Doctoral students are expected to pursue their studies full-time, and actively participate in the activities of the institution. Financial support is provided for the first 48 months of full-time employment. The Ph.D. student will primarily engage in his/her own studies, but other tasks such as teaching or administration can be combined to an extent decided by each department . In such cases, the period of employment can be extended accordingly.

The content and structure of the research education

The Research School already has a wide range of courses tailored in line with the SIS research profiles, which will also be unique to SIS. It will also, to the largest extent possible, include the courses already available at each institution’s research program. An important goal is that the new courses take advantage of the benefits that the combined expertise brings. Against this background, the Research School's teachings and research efforts from other institutions will be used as key elements in order to create an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary focused program.



The supervisor is appointed by each institution/ department and supervision complies with the institutions/ departments established study plans and guidelines. The Research School strives to get assistant supervisors from another participating institution / department within the Research School when it is relevant, depending on the focus of the thesis. For other aspects, the rules for supervision that are established in the study plans for each research subject shall be applicable.



The steering committee is appointed in consultation with the main supervisor and examiner of the dissertation. For other aspects, the rules for supervision that are established in the study plans for each research subject shall be applicable.


Equality Policy

The Research School strives to have an equal distribution in terms of gender.


Student influence and quality control

In order to address student influence and quality control of the Research School, the Ph.D. student representative will be part of the steering committee. The Research School will continuously follow up courses and seminars with course evaluations.