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.

Advanced standing
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.


All candidates must complete their applications online through the WMU website, attaching a detailed research proposal outlining the objectives and methodology of their research. In addition, they should arrange for two letters of academic reference from people familiar with their suitability for doctoral research. Certified copies of transcripts and certificates (including the results of an internationally recognized test of English language) supporting the qualifications listed on the form, must be uploaded.

When an academically cleared candidate has paid the first fee instalment, enrolment can be finalized. At this point, each candidate will receive a medical report form, which must be returned to the University, along with a formal declaration that the candidate accepts the conditions of his/her enrolment.  



The Admissions Board will consider only those applicants who meet the minimum general entrance requirements, which are:

  • a Master’s degree, with a dissertation, in a relevant discipline, or an equivalent university qualification
  • competence in English language, demonstrated by an internationally recognized standard test
  • computer competence

The Admissions Board will select only the best-qualified candidates, taking into account all their qualifications and achievements. The Admissions Board may require applicants to appear for an interview, either on-campus or through remote video, as part of the admissions process.

Tests of English
Applicants must offer one of the following tests of English language:
Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
   96+ in the internet-based test
   590+ in the paper-based test
   WMU’s TOEFL institution code is 9198

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
   band 7.0 or above

Cambridge Examinations
    Cambridge Proficiency Examination at grade A or B

GCE O-level or the equivalent
   a good pass grade

More information on these examinations may be obtained through the following websites:


The full University fee is US$ 33,400. It includes supervision, taught subjects, library and laboratory access, IT support, and medical, life and accident insurance. In addition, a student needs around SEK15,000 per month for rent and general living costs in Malmö, plus air tickets. Since WMU is a UN institution and not part of the national Swedish education system, students cannot claim study support from the Swedish government or any other EU state. Other sources of financial support (for example, the US Department of Veterans Affairs) may be accessed by candidates.

From time to time, donor-funded PhD Fellowships are made available. These are advertised on the WMU website, and are awarded on a competitive basis.

The fee of US$33,400 may be paid in five instalments. If this method is chosen, then payment is due as the student reaches milestones in his/her registration. An initial payment of US$8,500 is required, and takes the student through the Research Methods Course and the first Progression seminar. The subsequent three payments, each of US$ 5,500, take the student through the second, third and fourth Progression Seminars. The last payment, to be made before the dissertation is finalised and submitted for examination, is US$8,400.

Payments to the University

Payments to the University should be sent to:

Account Name:           The World Maritime University
Account Number:       3968-77-02567
IBAN Number:             SE66 3000 0000 0396 8770 2567
BIC Code:                    NDEASESS
Bank Name:                 Nordea
Bank Address:            PO Box 24, SE-201 24 Malmö, Sweden

Details of the transfer of funds should be sent to the Registry by email (


Malmö is Sweden’s third largest city, situated in the southern-most province of Skåne. The centre of the city offers good shopping facilities, theatres, bars, cafés and restaurants, as well as an outstanding symphony orchestra, art galleries and museums. Although Malmö may look typically Swedish, with its parks, historic buildings and canals, it is also very cosmopolitan; many of its citizens were born outside Sweden, and over 170 different countries are represented in the city.

Malmö’s sports provision is excellent, whether you want to watch or take part, and includes football, ice-hockey, sailing, golf, tennis and horse-riding. The city is surrounded by rolling countryside and some of the best beaches in Sweden.

Malmö has strong historic bonds with the maritime industry; it was an important medieval sea-port and had a thriving ship-building industry for many years. It is also a city with a knowledge-based economy that places a premium on learning and research, being home to its own University as well as several faculties of Lund University and to WMU. The city has developed high-technology industries, to make the best use of its educated work-force. It is home, for instance, to a remarkable number of computer gaming companies.

The Öresund Bridge provides Malmö with a direct road and rail link to Copenhagen and its international airport, just 30 minutes away by train or bus. Copenhagen’s historic centre has all the attractions you would expect from any European capital, as well as some special features of its own, like the Tivoli Gardens. 

The City of Malmö, as WMU’s host, provides the University’s building in the centre of town, which offers outstanding facilities in a spectacular building. The historic part of the University was built as the Harbour master’s headquarters.


WMU is able to provide excellent student accommodation at the Henrik Smith Residence, run by on-site staff, at a rent of approximately SEK 5,000 (2019 figure) per month. All WMU students can be accommodated on one site, although during the First Term, high-demand period students are likely to be required to share a room. The Henrik Smith Residence is less than three kilometres from the main University building, and only a short walk or bus-ride to the centre of Malmö.

The Residence has a range of facilities, including a lounge area for social meetings or group work, study rooms for group work, facilities for playing pool and table-tennis, a sauna, laundry facilities and indoor storage space for bicycles.

Passports and Residence Permits

Make sure that you have a passport that is valid at least as long as your whole study period, and has plenty of empty pages left, so that you can be issued with any visas you need while you are at WMU.  

You should apply for a residence permit as soon as you get your enrolment packet, even if you do not need a visa to enter Sweden (note: if you are an EU national, different rules apply). Under our agreement with the Swedish Government, students of the MSc in Maritime Affairs programme (but not those on the PhD programme) are issued with a Swedish residence permit for the whole period of their studies. This permits you to travel to Sweden via other Schengen countries without obtaining additional or transit visas.

You should be aware that airlines will refuse to carry passengers without a valid residence permit or entry visa for their country of destination. It is therefore very important that you should start to apply for your residence permit as soon as possible. The process can often take up to three months, and sometimes longer, and the University, unfortunately, is not able to assist students with this.

WMU students’ families are subject to the same rules as any other visitor coming to Sweden and the process for obtaining a temporary residence permit for them can be very lengthy. Sometimes processing permits for whole families can take longer than for individual students. Note that your highest priority should be to arrive on time for the start of your programme, which begins in full strength on the advertised date. Please see the section on Should you bring your family to Malmö? for full details

Health Care

The University takes out medical insurance to cover treatment in Sweden, as well as emergency treatment during field studies abroad. This health insurance covers sudden illness and accidents; it does not cover pre-existing conditions not mentioned on your pre-enrolment medical report. The insurance will also recompense students for the cost of prescription medicines. The insurance does not cover treatment from an optician, and gives only limited dental cover. Make sure you read the Fees and Facilities booklet, which contains the latest information available.

If you are planning to bring your family to join you in Malmö, it is compulsory to take out private medical insurance to cover them. The University insurance for you cannot be extended to your family. (See the section below on Should you bring your family to Malmö? for more information.)

Student Support Services

The University also provides students with accident and travel insurance during their study period, in addition to the medical insurance described above. The visas needed by students for field studies abroad are arranged by the University. Students also have free access to a leisure and sports centre close to the city centre.

An orientation programme is given to each group of new students to provide an introduction to the University and living in Sweden. This is supplemented by a comprehensive information and advice service.

Student Life

As a member of the WMU community, you can benefit from a broader experience both as a professional and as an individual. The University offers you the chance to develop friendships with people from all over the world, and to become, temporarily, a member of Swedish society.  It is essential that students take full advantage of all that their time at WMU has to offer.

Students at WMU have a voice in the affairs of the University through the Student Council, which has special officers responsible for all areas of student life, from sports activities to academic affairs. You can get involved in all the things that interest you. When you arrive, the Student Council arranges for you to be met by a ‘buddy’ – another student who can help you with all the practicalities of living in Sweden, and who can make sure you find your feet immediately. Later, you will be invited to give similar help to newcomers.

You might want to bring your national dress with you when you come to Malmö – you will be asked on a number of occasions to represent your country while you are here, and many students are proud to wear their national dress. 


When you graduate, we make sure you can keep in touch with the University through webinars and online discussion forums. Many countries have lively alumni associations, which are part of a global network.

Some graduates have returned as resident academic staff or visiting professors. Many meet again at conferences, seminars and IMO meetings, as well as informally keeping up with friends through social media. The networking opportunities offered by studies at WMU extend far into the future.

Should you bring your family to Malmö?

Many students wish to bring their families to Malmö, but in reality very few can afford to do so. It is costly and making arrangements for your family is time-consuming, especially in a foreign country. Students find their studies very demanding and difficult to balance with family life. 

If you make the decision to bring your family you should in any case arrive here alone. This will allow you to make suitable arrangements for their accommodation, as children are not allowed to live at the Student Residence at any time. The cost of renting a basic apartment is currently around SEK12,000 per month, plus utilities. Very few apartments are currently available, especially in this low price range.

The arrangements made by the University apply only to students, and not to dependants. If you want to bring your family, you must arrange financial support for them, quite apart from any fellowship that you may yourself hold. Your home government or employer is expected to continue to pay your salary while you are studying at the University, particularly to support your family, whether they remain in your home country or come to Malmö. Such arrangements are entirely a matter for students and their sponsoring government/organisations, and do not involve the University in any way.

If you intend to bring your family to Malmö, you must obtain the necessary immigration clearance for them to enter Sweden before they leave your home country. You must be able to demonstrate to the Swedish authorities that you can support your family financially, in line with Swedish regulations, and that you can afford the necessary health insurance for the whole period of their visit. Such insurance is quite expensive.

If you are joined in Malmö by your husband or wife only, he or she may share your accommodation in the Residence, but please remember that the apartments were designed and are equipped to accommodate only one person comfortably. It is not possible for children to live at the Residence, even for short periods, and so families with children must arrange outside housing at their own expense. 

Instead of bringing their families for the whole period of their studies, many WMU students arrange a shorter visit during the summer months or at graduation.


Doctoral research at WMU falls mainly within one of the following research priority areas (RPAs). Additionally, the WMU programme also offers excellent opportunities for interdisciplinary projects, allowing doctoral candidates to pursue their own, and their organization’s, particular interests.

Environmental Impacts of Marine Activities

This RPA is linked to the precarious state of the environment in respect of life due to human activities. Research in this area will seek to explore the effects of maritime activities on the natural environment, ways (at policy and operational levels) of limiting and ideally avoiding such effects, and the development of new and sustainable practices for the maritime industry. This research area also offers opportunities to contribute toward the achievement of SDG14 targets through investigation of the global social-ecological system that interconnects the oceans, coasts and land.

Maritime and Marine Technology and Innovation

his RPA interrogates developments of technology in ship operations (including the evolution of automation and digitalization), education and training (including e-learning), ship safety, information and communication for ship business (e-documentation) and its effect on the social, legislative and administrative dimensions of shipping. The cross-cutting nature of technology and innovation establishes an almost universal link between this RPA and all the other RPAs.

Maritime Economics and Business

This RPA focuses on the optimization of shipping, ports and their sustainable management from economic and logistics/supply chain perspectives. It explores all areas of shipping and port management, and offers the chance of carrying out in-depth investigation within the fields of maritime economics and policy, shipping and/or port operations and management, and shipping finance and portfolio management, as well as in such related fields as global supply chains and maritime logistics, port governance. and performance, and maritime analytics using big data.

Maritime Energy Management

This RPA seeks to advance the knowledge in the Maritime Energy Management field by conducting world-class fundamental and applied research in the thematic areas of energy efficiency, regulatory frameworks, renewable energy, social factors related to energy, the economics of energy and energy-related technology/innovation. The thematic areas will be addressed using a ship life-cycle perspective (design, production, operation and recycling) and in consideration of the impacts of shipping on oceans, through ports and to shipyards.

Maritime Law, Policy and Governance

This RPA focuses on maritime legislative and administrative requirements and the policies that are associated with them at the international, regional and national levels. Of particular interest is the inquiry into processes related to the design, formulation, and evaluation of maritime law and policy. This includes examining performance monitoring systems using such tools as benchmarking and auditing. Also of particular importance is the research into implementation mechanisms, e.g., under the legal enforcement regimes prescribed by the IMO, ILO and other UN bodies.

Maritime Safety

This RPA focuses on complex concepts and models of safety and their influence on operations at sea and ashore. It will examine digitalization, artificial intelligence and machine learning in a simulation context. It will also explore how safety and security can be improved through policy, legislation, social dynamics (human factors/ergonomics), accident aetiology, and simulation. The research area also covers the increasing disruption by technology of traditional approaches to maritime operations and the consequences of this on operational safety, security, human factors and labour supply.

Maritime Social and Labour Governance

This RPA focuses on organizational behaviour and decision-making processes by examining dynamics of corporate interaction, in particular in global networks and supply-chains, and with humans. It also seeks to interrogate issues related to individuals and organizations and their development through education, training and organizational learning. It aims to create a better understanding of the interactions between humans and organizations in order to optimize well-being and overall performance and in particular the role of education in this regard.

WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute

The WMU-Sasakawa Global Ocean Institute carries out and coordinates research in line with its vision to act as an independent focal point for the ocean science-policy-law-industry-society interface where policy makers, the scientific community, regulators, industry actors, academics, and representatives of civil society meet to discuss how best to manage and use ocean spaces and their resources in accordance with the UN SDGs. Through evidence-based research, the Institute seeks to provide new perspectives on how to address the manifold threats facing the ocean.

At a glance


Each of the five modules is individually assessed via a written assignment. The assignment needs to be submitted before moving on to the next module. All assignments will be assessed by the instructors, using the same criteria as in the WMU M.Sc. Programme.

Customized Delivery

Are you interested in having the Postgraduate Diploma specifically tailored for your employees and your needs?

Companies in the sector have expressed their appreciation of the breadth of our programme as it provides comprehensive coverage of the various topics relevant to maritime managers. Take the example of a technical expert hoping to move into a leadership position but lacking the requisite managerial skills; this Postgraduate Diploma can play a decisive role in equipping him or her to handle both the demands and challenges of this next step.

There are many reasons for companies to seek out professional development opportunities for their staff. You may be looking for ways to ensure that you keep the best people in your organization and give them new career opportunities. You may want to upgrade skills across the board, to give your organization a competitive edge over others.

This Postgraduate Diploma could be a valuable instrument to strengthen the commitment of your employees and offer them career opportunities while raising the professional competence of your whole leadership team.This Postgraduate Diploma offers the opportunity to gather all your organization’s managers globally into one programme. They will all be connected via the distance-learning platform, which enables them to work on similar projects, questions and challenges at the same time. The discussion platform makes it easy to exchange views on a variety of subjects so participants soon start to collaborate across borders, both national and organizational.

Putting a special focus on your employees will help you to distinguish yourself from other employers in the market. Discuss it with your staff to see how they would feel about the chance to study with other maritime professionals and under the guidance and leadership of international experts.

Like the open enrolment, customized programmes offer full access to the distance-learning platform, access to the WMU’s e-library, teaching and supervision from an international team of faculty, and finally, all successful students receive an academic qualification awarded by WMU. With customized delivery we can offer customized pricing and payment options as well as the possibility of company specific opening and closing workshops to enhance the organizational learning and experience of the participants.

If you can assemble a group of at least fifteen candidates, contact us to discuss options for a customized delivery of the Postgraduate Diploma. We would be happy to meet you in person so we can clarify your objectives and decide how we can best support you to achieve them.


The programme lasts eleven months. Approximately every eight weeks, a module will be completed with a written assignment and a new module will start.In

total, you should consider around 1,000 hours for reading of material, learning, assignment preparation, discussion with peers, using collaboration tools, etc. This works out to about 200 hours per module.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System)

The Postgraduate Diploma carries a credit weighting expressed in European Credits (ECs). The complete programme consists of 40 ECs with each module consisting of 8 ECs. Under the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), these credits can be transferred on to other programmes, at WMU and elsewhere, if they are approved by the receiving university.

Credits earned in your Postgraduate Diploma may be used in partial fulfilment of the requirements for another degree. At WMU, for example, you would be completely exempted from the first term of the standard Malmö-based Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Maritime Affairs programme, allowing you to complete it in just ten months.

Flexible Learning Deliveries

This programme is designed by maritime professionals for maritime professionals. Flexibility in the way you study is vital.

Distance learning: Pre-recorded videos on an e-learning platform, self-assessments, collaboration tools, discussion forums.

If you prefer flexibility in your time planning and flexibility in the location, the distance learning mode is right for you.

The concept of distance learning in the programmeIs the distance learning mode really equivalent to a classroom learning mode?

We offer the latest technical set-up. This includes a solid e-learning platform to which only registered students have access. On this platform students access lecture videos from each expert, equivalent to the lecture in a classroom, self-study material for your personal exercises and including access to WMU’s online library.

Furthermore, you are not left alone. There are collaboration tools that enable you to have direct contact with the instructors and other students in order to discuss problems and questions.

Graduation Ceremony at WMU

Once you have fulfilled all of the requirements of the Postgraduate Diploma in Executive Maritime Management, you will be invited to participate in the annual WMU Graduation Ceremony in Malmö, Sweden. At this graduation ceremony, you will join the WMU Ph.D., M.Sc. and Postgraduate Diploma graduates for the conferring of degrees by the Chancellor of WMU, the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

Graduates from WMU are proven to be leaders of tomorrow in the maritime sector. Graduates leave WMU not only with the knowledge they need to succeed, but also with an extended network of contacts from around the world. Once you have completed the Postgraduate Diploma in Executive Maritime Management you are welcome to join our network of graduates.

Programme Fees

You can calculate the total cost of the Postgraduate Diploma programme based on the following fees: Distance learning: € 1,518 per module.

During the programme, you will receive two invoices. The first will be sent upon registration, at the start of the programme, and will cover the first two modules. The second invoice will be sent before you start the third module. For more than two participants from the same company, a 10% discount per participant is offered.

Study material
For the distance learning mode, you will have access to the e-learning platform. Access to the WMU online library is available.

Additional materials such as books, articles and other recommended readings not available through WMU’s e-library are not included in the module fees.

University Qualifications

When you have successfully completed all the requirements, you will be awarded a “Postgraduate Diploma in Executive Maritime Management” issued by WMU.