Academic career opportunities

We offer diverse career opportunities in education and research. This page presents academic positions and titles at the University of Helsinki and describes our four-level career model.
University of Helsinki four-level career model

The University of Helsinki uses a four-level academic career model. The first level is for doctoral researchers completing doctoral education. The second level is for postdoctoral researchers developing their qualifications and capabilities as researchers. The third level is the most varied and extensive, with positions ranging from university lectureships focused on teaching to various research-oriented roles, including those of university researcher and assistant professorship on our tenure track. This career level also includes more experienced research positions, such as those of senior university lecturer, tenure-track associate professor and senior researcher. Appointments to the positions of senior university lecturer and senior clinical instructor require an internal assessment process. Similarly, the progress of researchers appointed as assistant or associate professors on the tenure track is based on internal assessments. The fourth level of the career model is for professors and research directors.

Academic career opportunities

Professorships are the University’s highest academic positions and require extensive and significant research and qualifications in the field. Professors lead and develop research and research-based education, and contribute to public engagement and international collaboration in their specialist fields.  The University of Helsinki has over 500 professorships.

Appointees to professorships must hold a doctoral degree and have high-level academic qualifications, experience in leading scholarly research, the ability to provide research-based teaching and supervise theses, and evidence of international collaboration in the research field they represent. They must also have academic leadership skills.

Professors can be recruited through an open application process or by invitation, or appointed through progression on the tenure track. 

Research directors and senior curators are responsible for a wide range of demanding research duties. Appointees to these positions must have qualifications equivalent to those of professors. However, when their qualifications are assessed, special attention is given to scholarly work, the efficient leadership of a research group, success in obtaining external research funding and evidence of international research cooperation.

Research directors and senior curators can be recruited through an open application process or by invitation.

Associate and assistant professors are talented researchers whose qualifications and merits demonstrate their significant scholarly potential. They conduct and supervise scholarly research, provide teaching based on it, monitor developments and collaborate in research communities in their field.

Appointees to these positions must hold a doctoral degree and have the ability to conduct independent scholarly work and the necessary teaching skills. In addition, they must have the ability and motivation to pursue an academic career as demonstrated by publications and other means.

The University of Helsinki attracts top international researchers with its competitive and transparent tenure track system. At present, just over 140 associate and assistant professors work in the University’s attractive research and teaching environment.

Associate and assistant professors can be recruited through an open application process or by invitation.

Senior university lecturers and senior clinical instructors are experienced and acknowledged researchers with an applicable doctoral degree and the ability to conduct independent scholarly work, provide high-quality teaching and develop it based on research, and supervise theses.

At the University of Helsinki, senior university lecturers and senior clinical instructors are appointed only through an internal assessment process in accordance with the career model for these positions.

University lecturers and clinical instructors carry out research and teaching independently in their field, focusing on various duties. They must hold an applicable doctoral degree and be able to provide high-quality teaching based on research and to supervise theses.

As a rule, appointments to university lectureships and clinical instructorships are made through open calls for applications.

University researchers, senior researchers and research coordinators are independent and active researchers with in-depth knowledge about their field. The positions of university researcher and senior researcher require the ability to lead a research group and obtain external research funding. The position of research coordinator requires the ability to administer research projects and their finances. Other requirements for these positions include an applicable doctoral degree. Particular attention in appointment decisions is given to scholarly work outside Finland and evidence of international collaboration.

Appointees to postdoctoral researcher positions have typically completed their doctoral degrees three to five years earlier. During their term as postdoctoral researchers, they develop their qualifications, capabilities and identity as researchers and assume a more independent and responsible role in research.

University instructors carry out practical teaching duties. Because of the nature of their position, they do not conduct research. Appointees must hold a second-cycle degree and have teaching experience. In addition, particular attention in appointment decisions is given to pedagogical training and the ability to produce learning material and provide diverse teaching. 

Doctoral researchers complete doctoral studies and actively conduct research for their doctoral theses. The University of Helsinki Doctoral School has 33 doctoral programmes, covering all of the University’s research fields. All University of Helsinki postgraduate students belong to one of these programmes, although only some of them are employed by the University. The University offers a number of salaried doctoral researcher positions for one to four years.

Other academic opportunities

The University of Helsinki can invite as professors of practice individuals who hold a doctoral degree and have professional merits and experience of particular significance from outside the academic world that can benefit the University. Professors of practice are always appointed on a fixed-term basis to work part time (typically 20–50%) in addition to their primary occupation.

‘Docent’ is an academic title awarded in recognition of scholarly and teaching merits. The title can be granted to applicants possessing extensive knowledge in their field and the ability to conduct independent research as demonstrated by publications or other means, as well as good teaching skills. At the University of Helsinki, the chancellor grants the title of docent at the proposal of faculties. Each faculty must agree with docents on their activities at the University and the provision of appropriate working conditions.

The University of Helsinki welcomes visiting professors and researchers. Visits can be agreed with individual faculties or units. Long-term visits require agreement on the visitors’ activities at the University and the provision of appropriate working conditions.

Research can be conducted at the University with personal grants awarded by foundations or other organisations. Each faculty or unit must agree with such researchers on their activities at the University and the provision of appropriate working conditions.

Open positions

Check out our currently open positions.