What is a third-cycle programme?
The word research usually means systematically studying something partially unknown, with accuracy and theoretical awareness. A third-cycle, or postgraduate, education programme aims at educating researchers, that is, it's mainly about learning methodology.
This is done by working in a research project with practical research and then writing a thesis on the project. The work is largely independent and you work at your own dissertation under the guidance of a supervisor. Part of the education period is devoted to courses, mostly within your own research domain but also general courses on research methodology and academic writing.
However, it is important to realize that being a scientist not only involves doing research in a particular domain. There are many other important skills as well, such as applying for research funding, project management and presentation techniques. A third-cycle programme in Sweden usually involves four years of full-time studies in order to obtain a doctoral degree, or two years of full-time studies to obtain a licentiate degree.
What are the prerequisites?
In order to become a doctoral student in the subject, you must have at least a Master Degree (a Swedish Magister Degree), i.e. four years of study (240 higher education credits) with at least one year (60 credits) at second-cycle, in a relevant domain.
A doctoral student is normally employed by the university in the form of a doctoral studentship. A doctoral studentship is an employment where 80–100 % of the working hours is devoted to own research studies. The remaining 0–20 per cent may be used for other assignments at the university, most often taking part in the first-cycle education.
There is also an opportunity to become a so-called industrial doctoral student. An industrial doctoral student is normally employed by a company that has decided to have a strong link to research and thus invests in educating an employee at the third-cycle level. The most common form of agreement for an industrial doctoral student implies that the student dedicates him- or herself to 80 % own research studies, usually at the university, while spending the remaining 20 per cent working at the company with some type of project.
What does the third-cycle subject area chemical engineering comprise?
Within the graduate studies subject chemical engineering at Linnaeus University, what is studied is primarily mechanisms and phenomena that are of importance for chemical processes. The goal is to generate knowledge that enables industrial production which is new or more efficient, and has less of an impact on the environment. The mechanisms and phenomena studied are usually related to kinetics and equilibrium in chemical reactions, related to mass and heat transport.
Most often, the educational programme has a significant laboratory component where the graduate student, at the beginning of their studies, develops experimental methods and equipment which is then used during the graduate research project. The use and development of computational tools as support for the experimental and theoretical studies is also included in the studies.
For the doctoral degree in chemical engineering, some possible research areas might be, for instance, thermochemical conversion of biomass conversion processes, or biochemical transformation processes, or processes and properties for non-crystalline materials. The specific research area is defined by the project, as described in the individual study plan.
How do I become a doctoral student in chemical engineering?
When the Department of Built Environment and Energy Technology has the possibility to admit a doctoral student, the post is announced at the web and in papers. Normally there is a specific project that the prospective doctoral student will work with, as well as appointed supervisors.