Answer to some frequently asked questions about applying for a PhD position at the Centre for Image Analysis
We frequently receive applications for obtaining a PhD student position in our research centre, questions about conditions for such a position or about how such an application should be written. In this document we will try to answer some such common questions.
When a position is announced at http://www.cb.uu.se/tjanster/positions.html
First of all: we can only accept new PhD students as a result of an application based on an announced open position. All our PhD positions have to be announced through our website and through the central job-site of Uppsala University. The positions will typically be open for about one month before the closing deadline. Then there will be an evaluation and selection among the applicants typically leading to a short-list a few weeks after the deadline. Those on the short-list will be contacted for more detailed evaluation and interviews before a final decision is made.
When there is no current position announced
If you are very interested in a position in our group and have a background that fits our profile very well you can send an email telling us about your interest and asking about when the next position will become announced. But please don't send spam with general expressions of interest for a PhD position. It is not sufficient to have a general technical or computer science background and interest in image analysis to have a chance to get a PhD position here; you must have some specific image analysis background relevant to our work. We get so many email requests that we are unable to answer them all, unfortunately resulting in a failure to notice some good candidates.
What is required in general
Formally, an undergraduate (MSc) degree with a relevant technical or scientific content is sufficient to apply for a PhD position. In practice, due to strong competition, you must have courses in image analysis and/or computer graphics and related topics. In order to be really competitive you also need to have some experience from working on projects in image analysis, e.g. as a master thesis. Having published some of your work is a plus, but no strict requirement. Good grades or honours will also strengthen an application, but there is no formal ranking of applicants strictly based on grades. The nationality of the candidate is of no importance but you do have to be fluent in English, which is our main working language (together with Swedish).
When a position is announced, it is often in a special subfield of image analysis or visualization. The announcement will then typically mention that background in that particular subfield or the associated application area will be of importance. It is still possible to compete for a position without that specific background if your general qualifications are very good, but usually the applicant with the best combined background will get the position.
The Centre for Image Analysis has a gender-balanced faculty, despite women being a small minority nationally and globally in our field. We wish to maintain this balance, and thus particularly encourage female applicants.
Work conditions for a PhD student in image analysis at Uppsala University
A Swedish PhD requires four years of full-time work. Of these four years, about 1.5 years are graduate courses in relevant subjects. The supervisor and the PhD student select these courses together. It may be possible to give credit for some graduate-level courses the student has taken before being accepted for the PhD position, provided they are not formally included in the undergraduate degree.
The other 2.5 years of work are for research. The research should be published internationally. Typically about four journal papers are required for a PhD degree. Alternatively, some of the papers may be in high-quality reviewed conferences. We typically consider two conference papers to equal one journal paper. The final PhD thesis consists of a summary plus the published papers. The thesis is defended publicly.
Most PhD students also teach and do other department service, for a maximum of 20% of full time, leading to a total employment time of up to 5 years. Each student has at least two advisers closely following and supporting the work of the student. It is also common to collaborate with other PhD students and senior researchers inside or outside our department.
All PhD students are employees of the university and have a salary. The level is initially around 24000 SEK (currently around 3500 USD per month) and increases a bit over the years. This salary is taxed at around 30%. The cost of living in Sweden is quite high, but the salary is enough to support one person and possibly also a small family, although that is economically tight. We are not allowed to accept students on scholarships from their home countries or similar without making sure the total income reaches this level, which is usually very difficult to achieve.
How to apply
All applications have to be sent through the web-based application system, we cannot accept applications through email or regular mail.
At the bottom of a position announcement there is a link to the web-based application system of Uppsala University. There you will find a simple form where you fill in basic information about yourself, plus five fields for attachments.
The first attachment should be a letter where you explain why you are interested in this position, and what specific background and interests you have that make you particularly well suited for this position. This letter should convince us why you are the most suitable one among all the applicants. It is thus very important in the initial evaluation of the different candidates.
The CV is the standard listing of your qualifications relevant to the position. List relevant education, employment, research, publications, awards, memberships and skills.
In the diploma field you have to include copies of the formal documents that prove that you have the required qualifications.
In the letters of recommendations field you include such letters. If you do not have any available you should list two or three people who can provide such letters on request. State each person's affiliation and contact details (especially email address) and your relationship to the person. Make sure you obtain permission from the people that you list.
In the more documents field you can include other materials that makes your application stronger. It is particularly useful if you have scientific reports, your master thesis or publications showing what you have achieved in the area of the PhD position.