The PhD programme has seven active areas of research and a growing school of doctoral students. WMU has a strong tradition of interdisciplinary research at the doctoral level, and has won a large number of externally funded projects, often working in collaboration with partners from industry and government. The structure of the PhD programme makes it flexible and responsive to the needs of both full-time students based in Malmö and candidates based mainly at their employing organization.
WMU’s PhD programme offers students the opportunity to carry out research across the maritime field, but with an emphasis on issues related to the International Maritime Organization’s mission of maritime safety, security and marine environmental protection. Our PhD programme offers unrivalled access to international maritime experts both inside and outside academia, and to organizations working at the forefront of research and development.
PhD students have come to WMU from industry, academia and the government sector, and have completed their dissertations in a very wide range of subject areas, from investigating oil-spill mitigation to an analysis of organizational learning in shipping companies.
The credit system
The PhD programme consists of 240 ECTS credits completed usually over a registration period of three to six years. Candidates may be based at the University or elsewhere, usually at their place of employment.
Within the time limits of three to six years, candidates may carry out doctoral research at their own pace, which can also vary during their period of enrolment. For example, candidates may choose to spend one year conducting research at WMU full time, and then return home to complete their research over a longer period, with short visits to the University for progression seminars and meetings.
1 ECTS credit (EC) is approximately 25 study load hours. One academic year is generally 60 EC, or 1500 study load hours, or 36 hours per week over an academic year of 20 weeks. For someone who is studying part-time, the average study load will vary.
Individual Study Plan (ISP)
Each candidate will have an Individual Study Plan, agreed with the supervisor(s) and the Director of the PhD programme. This will include the compulsory Research Methods subject (20EC), appropriate taught subjects related to the field of research (40 EC), plus a timetable for the completion of the dissertation, plans for publication in learned journals, and attendance at conferences and seminars.-
During the first phase of doctoral studies, candidates complete the research methodology subject, and develop their research proposals. At the end of this initial period, the first progression seminar is held, at which candidates each present their research proposals.
Throughout the doctoral programme, the candidates attend taught subjects and also the further progression seminars, where the candidates present their work to date and their research plans for the next twelve-month period. After every seminar, the Progression Board meets, and considers the candidate’s progress. At this Board meeting, decisions are taken as to whether the candidate is to be permitted to progress to the next stage of the research.
A candidate’s enrolment can be terminated at any point if his/her progress is not considered to be satisfactory.
A candidate who has completed part of a doctoral degree elsewhere may transfer into the WMU programme with advanced standing. Their period of enrolment at WMU will vary in line with the amount of research they have already completed, but the minimum permissible period of enrolment must include at least two progression seminars and the dissertation (180 EC). A candidate with advanced standing must be registered for at least 12 months.
All doctoral students have a principal supervisor who is a member of the resident faculty. According to the topic of research, a student may also have a co-supervisor, who may be a member of the resident faculty, a Visiting Professor or a suitable person from outside the University.