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Doctoral course: Political Science Research – Problems and Perspectives

Autumn Term, 2022 October 4, Tuesdays. 15 higher education credits, third cycle.

Department of Political Science, Lund University

Course Details

The course is offered by the Department of Political Science as a third-cycle course in political science. The language of instruction is English.

Learning Outcomes

Participants will be able to accomplish the following objectives by the end of the course:

  • Compare and critically discuss different definitions and understandings of politics,
  • compare and critically discuss core concepts and problems of political science,
  • compare and critically discuss different approaches to the study of political science
  • compare and critically discuss different theories of science and their implications,
  • being aware of the major contemporary debates within different subdisciplines, and
  • being aware of the interfaces and synergies between these subdisciplines.

Course Content

This course aims to provide doctoral students with knowledge of the basic concepts and theories of political science and its study. In the first part of the course, students are required to read selected classics of political science from different subdisciplines, partly in order to familiarise themselves with the rich history of the discipline, partly in order to identify recurrent problems and concepts that have shaped the identity of the study of politics and continue to animate current debates. In the second part of the course, students are required to familiarize themselves with some classical statements in the theory of social sciences and assess their implications for the study of politics. The third part of the course is devoted to contemporary debates within different subdisciplines, with special reference to the concepts and problems discussed previously in the course. In this part, scholars from the department will present state of the art scholarship from their respective fields and discuss their broader relevance to the development of the discipline.


Teaching will consist of seminars in which the teachers provide a brief introduction to the topic at hand and participants analyze together the assigned readings. Before each seminar, the course instructors will circulate a set of questions to guide the discussion, and students will submit short papers in which they reflect on those questions.


Students will submit two-page reflection papers before each seminar where they reflect and discuss the questions circulated by the instructors based on the assigned readings. The final assignment will be an essay in which students position their dissertation topic / idea in relation to broader debates in political science and its sub-fields. This assignment should serve as a building-block towards their plan paper, as it should encourage students to articulate how they envision their dissertation project will contribute to ongoing research in the discipline.


The grades awarded are Pass or Fail. To be awarded a Pass the student must fulfil the learning outcomes specified and also demonstrate an independent and reflective approach to the study of political science.

Admission Requirements

The course is primarily intended for students admitted to the third-cycle program at the Department of Political Science at Lund University.

How to apply

Please discuss the courses you want to apply for with your supervisor before completing the application form. 

If the number of applicants exceeds available places, applicants are prioritised as follows:

  1. Doctoral students from the Faculty of Social Sciences, Lund University
  2. Doctoral students from other faculties at Lund University
  3. External Doctoral students

If you decide to apply for the course, please e-mail your expression of interest to the course organisers until 2nd September at the latest. Jens Bartelson jens [dot] bartelson [at] svet [dot] lu [dot] se (jens[dot]bartelson[at]svet[dot]lu[dot]se) ; Agustin Goenaga agustin [dot] goenaga [dot] 2117 [at] svet [dot] lu [dot] se (agustin[dot]goenaga[dot]2117[at]svet[dot]lu[dot]se)

Applicants from faculties other than the Faculty of Social Science and from other universities

Applicants from other other faculties and universities, including other universities in Sweden, are required to pay a course fee. The current fee is 10,000 SEK.

If you are not a doctoral student at Lund University, you also need to fill out a Special Permission form and submit it with your application. 

Please download and complete this Special Permission form and submit it with your application.

What happens next?

Applications close around four weeks before each course starts. An email containing admissions result will be sent to you shortly after the application closes.

This email, if you are admitted to a course, will include a welcome letter with information about the introductory course meeting, schedule, reading list and syllabus, as well as any other information or tasks that the teacher wishes to include. 

If you are placed on a reserve list, you will be notified of this as well.

Please inform us as soon as possible if you are no longer planning on taking a course as there might be other students on the reserve list.