Here come a few useful tips on how to start the process of writing a successful application.
Step 1: Choose the country and the topic you want to write about
First of all, check the list of eligible MFS countries available here. External link, opens in new window.
After that, check what is the Ministry of foreign affairs recommendation (UD) External link, opens in new window.stating about the safety in your chosen country. If UD does not recommend to travel to the country/regions you chose, then you should prioritize another country/region. The same applies if UD state to avoid all unnecessary travels. Keep this in your mind and contact MFS coordinator if you feel unsure about the security in the host country.
The topic of your thesis should be relevant for economical, cultural, political and knowledge development of the country you chose and should relate to at least one of the Global Sustainable Development Goals. External link, opens in new window.
You can also start at yourself and ask you a few questions that can help you to identify your interest and the topic/s you are passionated about.
What do you want to work with in the future?
What development goal are you most passionate about?
Can your MFS study raise your merit to work with something specific in the future?
What topics/questions are interesting to you?
Do you have any dream country you want to live/work in for a period of time?
Once you find the topic ask you the following questions:
What is the value of writing about this topic?
Is there any connection to Global Sustainable Development Goals? External link, opens in new window.Describe it!
Is it possible to write about this topic? Ethically, legally and politically? Feasibility (is my plan realistic)?
Step 2: Write your project plan
Please use the template for project plan available here. Word, 79.6 kB.
The content that you should focus on is following:
- Introduction (1 page approx.)
- Project description (2 pages approx.)
- Aim (1/2 page approx.)
- Research methodology (1/2 page approx.)
- Ethical issues*
- Connection to Sustainable Development Goals
- Plan B/C**
- Budget specifying cost of living, accommodation, transportation, etc.***
*Most of the students' applications get declined because of an ethical issue. If the application concerns an ethically sensitive group of participants, then it might not be granted.
Please observe that in the project plan, the ethics section must contain a reflection on how the project can be applied in and be relevant to the host country. The plan must include an analysis and account of what possible ethical issues / dilemmas the project raises and how these will be handled. This also includes questions about the study's possible local impact, and how, for example, translators or others who assist in the project are affected. A project plan that - if it had been research - would have required ethical review in accordance with the Swedish Ethical Review Act (SFS 2003: 460) should not normally be implemented as a MFS project. It is also important in the project plan to relate to ethical rules and laws that apply in the country where the study is conducted. The project plan must also contain an assessment and balance between any risks and benefits that the project may entail for the persons concerned.
Project participants have an obligation to take into account the ethical guidelines for international employment issued by the Government Offices at any time.
Ethical guidelines for international service, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. External link, opens in new window.
** Prepare a description of alternative plan B and C that you can use in case something unexpected happens (for example, earthquake situation or take a more realistic example: COVID-19), and you will need to change the destination of your MFS. It does not mean you need to prepare the whole project plan for B and C plans but give us a clear, well thought out idea that can work out for you in case of crisis.
*** For budget specification: you can use this web-page. External link, opens in new window.In this world’s largest cost of living database you can easily find the costs you would like to include in your budget.
The recommendation is to write a rather detailed and elaborated project plan that proves your familiarity with your research topic.
Step 3: Find your thesis supervisor
The recommendation is to contact the Head of your programme, who can usually help you to allocate your thesis supervisor.
In some study programmes, thesis supervisors have allocated time for supporting you in your project writing. For this reason, do not wait with this step too long, so you do not miss the available academic help.
Do not forget that your thesis supervisor should also sign your application form to express his/her support to your project plan.
Step 4: Find a contact person in the host country
Having a contact person in the host country is a requirement and you should receive a written confirmation stating you are welcome to carry through your field study in the host country.
Who counts as a contact person?
Your contact person in the host country can be employed at a governmental authority, Higher Education Institution, organisation or company in the country. They may also represent development projects such as Sida, the UN, NGOs, or similar. However, the contact does not necessarily have to be a part of an organisation. Many students choose to find a contact person themselves through their personal network or through research.
Your contact should be able to help with practical things both before and during you time in the country, such as finding people to interview, advice on accommodation, travel, transport and safety. The contact will not receive compensation from Sida or JU for their efforts. Therefore, it is important that you reimburse any expenses agreed by the both of you beforehand, for example for transportation or data collection.
In the MFS application, you need to submit a confirmation from the contact in the field (formal invitation or certificate/contract such as an email exchange) showing there is a contact in the country to assist you. The certificate or the invitation letter should include clearly the name of the contact organisation/contact person and your whole name and the preliminary planned time period. If you submit an email exchange, make sure you include both your initial email requesting for a contact person and the contact person's reply confirming the request.
Please note: the confirmation must be submitted in English. If your contact does not speak English, please write a translation in English and attach to application.
Tips how to find a contact person:
- Ask your programme director or International Office if they already have contacts or collaborations abroad.
- Do you have friends/family that previously travelled or lived in one of the MFS countries?
- Research various host organisations and make contact.
- Does JU have any cooperation projects you can be part of (maybe through another department)?
- Is there an MFS alumnus that have been to the country where you like to go? Ask the International Office to get in touch.
This step can be tricky, and it can take a long time to receive an answer to your e-mail. Try to call if possible.
If you would like to describe in English what MFS is for your contact person, then you can use this link. External link, opens in new window.
Step 5: Double check that your application is completed
The complete application contains:
• The application form
• Project Plan (incl. budget description) - use the template (!)
• Invitation letter from the host institution
• Transcript of records (available at Service Center)
• Curriculum vitae (CV)
• Copy of passport
• Residence permit (if applicable)
• Eventually other recommendations related to previous international experiences, global issues and developing countries.
Step 6: Submit the application before the deadline
If you are writing your thesis in a pair, submit the application as one. We recommend students to scan all documents into one big document. It means that the application will be just one but will include documents for two persons. Project plan and Invitation letter will be the same for both persons and copy of passport, CV, Transcript of records and eventual recommendations will be individual for each person.
Submit your application through e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the deadlines, check section "Application" on the left menu.
Step 7: Awaiting the results
You will receive results through the student e-mail within 3 weeks after the deadline.
After that, the preparation meeting will be organized for all students who received MFS scholarship. If you would like to have an idea what the next steps are, check out the section "For you who received MFS scholarship" on the left menu.