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The Nordic PhD

Surviving and Succeeding

Edited By Christopher McMaster, Caterina Murphy and Jakob Rosenkrantz de Lasson

The Nordic PhD: Surviving and Succeeding is an edited book written for prospective and current doctoral students by a mix of doctoral students and those who have recently completed their doctorates. The premise is simple: if you could go back in time and talk with yourself when you began your studies, what advice would you give? Isn’t hindsight a bonus? If only I knew then what I know now!

The Nordic PhD: Surviving and Succeeding follows editions focused on study in Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia, the U.K., U.S., and South Africa. What sets The Nordic PhD: Surviving and Succeeding apart from many others on the market is its down-to-earth and practical approach. Furthermore, its originality also lies in the fact that it is grounded in the context of doctoral studies in the Nordic countries.

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Chapter Fourteen: Parental Leave During Your PhD: Planning, Plotting and Passing! (Natasha A. Webster)


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Parental Leave During Your PhD

Planning, Plotting and Passing!



As a newcomer to Sweden, I was shocked by the blunt advice I received from senior researchers encouraging PhD candidates to start their families during their PhD studies. ‘There’s no better time,’ so many said. Yet this was the complete opposite of advice I had heard in North America. PhD candidates in Sweden, and other Scandinavian countries, enjoy many benefits of the welfare state and may even receive ‘top-ups’ through their positions as employees of a university. (For those working on research grants or in post-doctoral grants employment status can be precarious and these benefits vary.) As such, advice from senior researchers that the PhD is a good time to start a family is quite doable in the Scandinavian context.

The advice that follows is drawn my own experience as a working mother while doing my PhD in Sweden. During my candidacy, I took a total of 27 months of parental leave following the birth of my two children and as a post-doctoral researcher I continue to enjoy a 15% workload (and pay) reduction as my youngest is still less than 8 years old. The advice presented in this chapter applies across many scenarios you might find yourself in. ← 110 | 111 →

Planning Parent Leave Is a Career Strategy

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