Follow Us



3rd Cycle in the Arts

This is an international database of 3rd cycle awards in the European Higher Arts Education Area, developed within the Creator Doctus project (2018-2021), to identify possible examples of practice in developing and supporting artistic research.


Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts, University of Gothenburg (GU), Gothenburg, Sweden

Research Policy & Strategy

The faculty has 3 departments:

Academy of Music and Drama

Valand Academy

HDK – Academy of Design and Crafts

There are 2 departments: Academy of Music and Drama and HDK/Valand both of which share a research school for artistic research. There has been a strategic development with regard to artistic research in the arts since the 1990s and whilst artistic research is now the backbone of the faculty, all forms of research: cultural studies, education science, pedagogics etc., are encouraged. The faculty is also affiliated to national and local research schools which are not artistic (e.g. in arts education etc.).

There are three overarching, productive and dynamic fields in the faculty’s research:

  • scientific research in the field of education and pedagogy,
  • critical theory, critical and curatorial practices,
  • artistic research (close to the former category ‘artistic development’).

The Faculty and its departments are members of all significant international organizations for developing artistic research. On a faculty level, ELIA, SAR and EARN (specifically Valand) are the most important. On a departmental level, there are memberships in discipline specialized organizations. There are strong societal networks and partnerships around the art schools: e.g.

  • the GIBCA Art Biennial in Gothenburg
  • the Hasselblad Foundation
  • the Bard College of Art
  • the Venice Biennial

The faculty works productively with the Swedish Research Council at a strategic level within the national network for art educations Konstex. The faculty is also member of the network SAAR – Summer Academy for Artistic Research, a joint Nordic project between the partner countries Finland, Sweden and Norway. SAAR brings together up to 18 artistic researchers and 9 supervisors for an intense and stimulating week in August.

Research councils supporting departments, doctoral/higher seminars, the PARSE journal and research school activities create the environment, with seminars, publications, presentations, etc.

Key research themes are:

  • “Art and art institutions in society and public life”, ongoing research and other initiatives concerning the public, the curatorial, desegregation (Projects: Our Many Europes, Gothenburg Design Festival, Stretched, TRADERS, Academy Gallery etc.).
  • “Educational Research in the Arts” (within HSM and HDK/AV), providing a common centre/platform for pedagogical and educational research and development within the arts across the faculty.
  • “Prediction, redundancy and creation” (recent development) based in the Business & Design Lab, addressing AI and the arts.

Awards Offered

PhD in whichever specific discipline the project is located.

Students have the option of being awarded either a ‘doctor of philosophy’ or ‘artistic doctor’.

PhD 4 years, 8 semesters. Full-time

Licentiate (MPhil equivalent), 2 years, 4 semesters. Full-time


Annual reports (progress reviews) from fellow (doctoral student) and supervisors are required. The format is the same as for the GU in general, the ISP (Individual Study Plan) system. Annually doctoral students have a progression seminar with an external discussant.

There is a formalised mid-way evaluation (the licentiate exam after two years) with report and presentation from the fellow, evaluated by a specific committee who interview both the fellow and Director of Studies (main supervisor).

Viva voce plays a key role in assessment with incrementally increasing percentage weightings (25%-50%-80%) throughout the duration of the research prior to the final presentation of work and public defence.

External discussants are invited to question the students at the seminars and an external opponent has the leading role during the public defence of the thesis.

Forms of Output

All forms of artistic research are permissible including: individual practice-based, practice-led and collaborative exhibition/dissertation based submission; thesis only submission; via placement; portfolio; enterprise; knowledge-transfer or consultancy.

Programme Structure

Four basic courses are delivered within the Research School:

Basic course 1: Reflexive Writing  (7.5 ECTS)
Basic course 2: On Research Methods and Research Design (7.5 ECTS)
Basic course 3: Knowledge production in Artistic Research (7.5 ECTS)
Basic course 4: Operating and communicating in a cross-disciplinary research milieu” (7.5 ECTS)

Research ethics integrated in basic courses.

Monthly doctoral seminars

Seminars on the occasion of 25%, 50 % and 75% of completion

Doctoral students are supervised:

  • 80 hrs (Director of Studies) per year
  • 50 hrs (Second Supervisor) per year

Undergraduate & Masters Research

There is no specific document on this – except for the general provision of the Higher Education Ordinance that the master level in Sweden prepares for research.

Qualification Framework

National Framework

Referenced through legislations and ordinances: Gothenburg University provisions and rules, and national legislations (Law on Higher education, Higher Education Ordinance) and regulations, assessments and evaluations by UKÄ:


Quality Assurance & Enhancement

Nationally organized evaluations.

University wide regulations on quality enhancement on 3rd cycle level are followed.

Gothenburg University has a quality assessment system for doctoral education.

This system is the backbone for quality work. It corresponds to/with the national evaluations of quality.


Supervisors follow the training courses for supervisors of the university, and update competences within the framework of the research school’s supervisors’ collegiate meetings. They also have regular meetings within the departments respectively to discuss common practices and agree on discussants, opponents, examination boards etc. in planning of progression seminars and public defences.

There should be a minimum of two supervisors involved in supporting of any given project. The Director of Studies (main supervisor) should hold a PhD and preferably be a docent (equivalent with the English title “Reader”). The second supervisor should hold PhD or have equal qualifications or specific knowledge.


HSM: 21

HDK: circa 20

Akademin Valand: circa 10

The majority of teachers in the arts have some kind of research and development activity going on as a part of their job.

All professors have more or less research time in their workloads. Not all professors without PhD are outside research etc. An approximate answer is:

HSM: 11 Professors

HDK: 13 Professors

Akademin Valand: 6 Professors

Staff can apply to departments’ research boards to request research time. The ‘Principles in Research’ strategy apply. At HSM 30% of a professor’s workload is identified as research.

Student Admissions

Applications are submitted through the general university system.

Candidates are interviewed.

Doctoral researchers are employed because their research profiles fit with the strategic research aims of the department.

Student Funding

The student has a monthly salary from the university during four years. There are also doctoral students with external funding from EU and other external sources. Salary level etc. for external funded doctoral students is regulated in the University of Gothenburg’s own Rules and Regulations for Doctoral Education. See links below.

Student Support

Students are supported with 2500-3000 Euro per year for the production of work.

The department will pay printing cost or similar costs for thesis.

It is possible to apply for supplementary funding.


3rd Cycle in the Arts

This is an international database of 3rd cycle awards in the European Higher Arts Education Area, developed within the Creator Doctus project (2018-2021), to identify possible examples of practice in developing and supporting artistic research.