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University of Helsinki Faculty of Arts

Faculty of Arts


Doctoral programmes
Applying for Postgraduate Studies
Postgraduate Studies
Monitoring of postgraduate student´s study progress
Instructions for the examiners of doctoral dissertations

Contact information:

Faculty office:
Unioninkatu 40, 3rd floor
Faculty of Arts
P.O. Box 24
00014 University of Helsinki

Phone: +358 (0)294 1911 (exchange)
Fax: +358 (0)2941 23100
Postgraduate Studies:

Office hours


Faculty brochure
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Postgraduate Studies - Applying for Postgraduate Studies


The fall round of applications was held on 8.9.-30.9.2015.
Next round is in March 2016.
All applicants will receive the decision by mail in early December / end of June. Study rights granted in the fall round of applications will be valid from the beginning of January, 2016. The Faculty of Arts admits max. 86 new postgraduate students per year.

Please read all the information provided on this site carefully before applying! Applications not submitted on time or not complete with all the required documentation will not be considered. (NB: The instructions on this site are subject to change. Please check the valid, up-to-date instructions at the beginning of each application period.)

Required Documents

As the main objective of the doctoral student is a PhD degree, the applicant should make sure that qualified supervision for his/her particular research interests is available at the Faculty of Arts. Before applying, the applicant must contact the staff at the relevant discipline at one of the Faculty's four departments and discuss the research proposal, the study plan and arrangements for supervision. Preliminary discussions are not binding upon the faculty or its departments, but as the availability of supervision is a central criterion, contacting the teaching staff at the relevant discipline is a very important step in the applications process.

Postgraduate degrees available within the Faculty of Arts are Doctor of Philosophy (PhD, DPhil) and Licentiate of Philosophy (Lic. Phil.) All postgraduate students are admitted to a course leading to a Doctorate. Completing a Licentiate degree first (that is, a degree with a less substantial thesis than that required for a doctorate) is optional. Therefore, the objective of the research and study plans submitted with the application should be designated as the PhD degree. Please note that Finnish, Swedish and English are the main course languages in the University of Helsinki.

Please note that the Faculty will not be able to process your application unless all the requested documents listed below are received in either Finnish, Swedish, English, German or French.

All applicants wishing to be considered must submit the following documents:

1. Electronic Application (form open during the application period) and as a part of the electronic application form points 2-4. Please note that information on the decision regarding your study right will be sent using the contact information provided in the application - fill all the required information carefully and notify us if your address changes after you have submitted the application.

2. A research proposal (maximum length 9999 characters, including spaces) in which the applicant should describe his/her proposed doctoral dissertation, how it would link up with existing research, the sources or materials and methods to be used, the applicant's previous activity in the field and his/her personal qualifications for the task, such as previous studies and any relevant work experience. The applicant should also include a provisional outline of contents for the proposed doctoral dissertation. It should also be indicated whether the thesis will be a monograph or consist of published articles. If the dissertation will be article-based, please include also a preliminary outline of the number and content of the articles it will include.
Please note that no full CV should be sent: all personal information relevant to the application must be included in the application form and the research proposal.

If the research proposal is presented in either German or French, a summary of it (about 1 page) in Finnish, Swedish or English must be attached.

3. A study plan (maximum length 4000 characters, including spaces) which includes a provisional timetable (full- or part-time study) for the project and details of any other studies which the applicant wishes to include in his/her degree, in addition to the thesis. The applicant should also clarify how he/she intends to fund his/her studies in Helsinki. A doctoral/licentiate degree includes 60 credits of obligatory studies in addition to the thesis, divided into two modules:

Research skills (50 cr) consists of a seminar, theoretical and methodological studies (relevant research literature, methodology and the philosophy of science) as well as basic research skills studies (introduction, research ethics, language studies).

Other professional skills (10 cr) may include acquiring different kinds of skills to prepare for professional life, for instance through courses, projects or practical work in fields such as science communication, pedagogics, language education,
management and leadership, project management, administrative work, teaching and the popularisation of research.

Course catalogues and subject-specific degree requirements can be found in WebOodi.

4. The title and summary of your Master´s thesis or equivalent, or a description of previous academic publications (maximum length 4000 characters, including spaces).

In addition to completing points 1-4 in the electronic application, those applicants who are not graduates of the University of Helsinki should also send us the following documents by post:

5. A copy of your previous degree certificate (Master's degree or equivalent). This copy must be officially certified (legalised), i.e. it must bear the stamp and signature of an official entitled to attest documents: an authorised official of the school or university that has granted the degree, a notary public, a commissioner of oaths etc. The University of Helsinki does not attest any documents or photocopies. A sworn/official translator must make all translations.

6. Verification of language skills
Applicants must have sufficient skills in the languages needed for postgraduate studies. The language skills necessary for completing the doctoral dissertation and postgraduate studies in the major subject applied for will be assessed by the relevant discipline on the basis of the initial and other discussions with the applicant as well as the application documents. In their statements, the disciplines will indicate whether the applicants have sufficient skills in the languages needed for postgraduate studies. In the last resort, the Committee for Postgraduate Studies will assess the language skills.

In addition to requiring sufficient language skills in the language of study, the Faculty of Arts also requires its students to have language skills in Finnish, Swedish or English. Language skills will be assessed according to the general guidelines issued by the Rector for student admissions at the University of Helsinki.

Further information on the means of demonstating language skills in Finnish or Swedish >>

Further information on the means of demonstrating language skills in English >>

Only the means of demonstration mentioned in the instructions above are accepted. If the applicant has graduated from the University of Helsinki and the completed language courses are recorded in the Student Register, no separate certificates of language skills are required. Graduates of other universities must submit a certificate of their language skills in accordance with the instructions.

Applicants who are not graduates of universities within the EU must also include (in addition to 1-6):

7. A detailed transcript of your studies at your previous university. The transcript must be officially certified (legalised), i.e. it must bear the stamp and signature of an official entitled to attest documents: an authorised official of the school or university that has granted the transcript, a notary public, a commissioner of oaths etc. The University of Helsinki does not attest any documents or photocopies. A sworn/official translator must make all translations.

All applications should be sent to the Faculty Office by using the electronic application (NOT to individual departments or teachers). The required enclosures should be sent by post and must be at the faculty by the application closing date. Faxed or emailed applications and enclosures are not accepted. Inadequate applications will not be considered!

The required enclosures can be sent to:

Faculty of Arts
Research and Postgraduate Affairs
P.O. Box 24
00014 University of Helsinki

If sent via courier service, you can use the following address:

Faculty of Arts
Research and Postgraduate Affairs
Unioninkatu 40, 3rd floor
00170 Helsinki

Further information

e-mail: hum-postgrad(at)
staff at the Postgraduate Student Services