Admissions to doctoral studies

Planning to apply for a doctoral study right at the Doctoral Programme in Biomedicine? Good choice! We admit new doctoral students twice a year, so pay attention to the application deadlines, start preparations in good time, and make sure you've acquainted yourself with the selection criteria before you apply.
Admissions periods

The programme admits new doctoral students twice a year: once in the spring (January) and once in the autumn (September).

More detailed information on the application periods is on the page How to apply to doctoral programmes

A doctoral study right can only be gained through the admissions process. Applying to the programme outside the set admission periods is not possible.

Want to know more about the application process?

More information about the application form and application requirements can be found in this Unitube video.

Who can apply?

In addition to the university's general requirements for doctoral applicants on eligibility and language proficiency, the doctoral programme has set the following additional criteria for eligibility:

Previous degree

Applicants to the programme must have completed:

  • An applicable second-cycle university degree
  • An applicable second-cycle degree from a university of applied sciences, or
  • An applicable education at an institution abroad providing eligibility for equivalent higher education in the country in question

In addition, applicants who have been admitted to pursue a licentiate degree in medicine and dentistry or a licentiate degree in veterinary medicine at a Finnish university or at a university from EU/EEA country, or applicants who have been admitted to pursue a bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology and logopaedics at a Finnish university can also be admitted to pursue a postgraduate research degree.

Furthermore, applicants licensed as a healthcare professional by the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health or veterinarians licensed by the Finnish Food Authority who have completed applicable education abroad in their home country equivalent to a second-cycle university degree or a second-cycle degree from a university of applied sciences can be admitted.

Supervisory arrangements

Applications must meet the minimum requirements set for supervisory arrangements (see selection criteria). The application must include information on the following:

  • The supervisors to be appointed (1–3)
  • The coordinating academic to be appointed

Include in the application the supervision contract signed by the supervisor(s) who has/have agreed to supervise the doctoral thesis, describing the planned supervision arrangements. The supervision contract (Word) can be found under ‘Supervision arrangements’ in the menu entitled ‘Doctoral programme’s selection criteria’, found below.

Ethical permissions

Please confirm in the application that you have or you have applied for all needed ethical permissions: a permit by an Ethical Review Board and/or by the National Animal Experiment Board, if required by the research arrangement. The permission documents need not to be attached to the application. 

The following postgraduate degrees can be completed in the programme:

Faculty of Medicine
  • Doctor of Philosophy
  • Doctor of Medical Science
  • Doctor of Dental Science
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Psychology)
  • Doctor of Health Sciences
Faculty of Pharmacy
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Pharmacy)
  • Doctor of Philosophy

When approving an application for postgraduate studies, the faculty will decide on the basis of the applicant’s previous studies and the topic of the planned doctoral dissertation to which degree the applicant’s studies will lead.

Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Doctoral programme’s selection criteria

The application must comply with the minimum requirements for supervision arrangements (see admission criteria). The application must contain information on the following:

  • Supervisors (1–3)
  • Coordinating academic

Include in the application the supervision contract signed by the supervisor(s) who has/have agreed to supervise the doctoral thesis, describing the planned supervision arrangements. NB! In the electronic application form, attach the supervision contract to the section for the supervisors’ supporting statement.


Arrangements related to supervision and progress monitoring (details in the supervision contract) are an important admission criteria. The doctoral programme requires applicants to have one or more supervisors at the time of submitting their application. Applicants are responsible for finding a supervisor and drawing up a research plan and study plan with the supervisor. When looking for a supervisor, you should utilise the University of Helsinki's Research portal.

  • You must have one to three supervisors who have completed a doctoral degree.
  • At least one of the supervisors must hold the qualifications of a docent or equivalent academic qualifications.
  • Doctoral researchers completing a multidisciplinary doctoral thesis may be appointed a third supervisor, provided that there are well-grounded reasons for this presented in the application for the right to pursue a doctoral degree.

You will be assigned a coordinating academic based on your proposal. The coordinating academic is employed by the same Faculty as you are applying for.

The coordinating academic is familiar with the instructions concerning doctoral education and doctoral degrees at the University of Helsinki. The first supervisor may be appointed also as the coordinating academic, provided he or she fulfills the above criteria. The coordinating academic will be appointed at the same time as the supervisors. You can use the University of Helsinki People finder and contacts -service to look for a suitable coordinating academic.

Provide the required information on your coordinating academic on the application form and supporting statement although your main supervisor would be appointed to the coordinating academic. 

In the Faculty of Medicine professors, associate professors and docents may act as the coordinating academics for doctoral candidates. Note! A docent contract alone is not enough!

In the Faculty of Pharmacy, professors and associate professors may act as the coordinating academic for a doctoral student. You can use the University of Helsinki People finder and contacts -service to look for a suitable coordinating academic.

If you are applying to the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, please see the faculty's website for a list of coordinating academics at each discipline.

The coordinating academic’s role is

  • to ensure the continuity of the supervision arrangements,
  • to assist you in acquainting yourself with the rules of doctoral education and the dissertation examination process,
  • to make the faculty a formal proposal on the pre-examiners and opponent to be named,
  • to approve the studies to be included in your doctoral degree
  • if supervisor/s are not employed by the University of Helsinki, the coordinatic academic approves the doctoral researchers courses completed outside the University of Helsinki.

In this doctoral programme, thesis committee is not obligatory at the application stage, but it has to be formed and the first meeting arranged within 6-12 months after being accepted to the programme. General and programme specific instructions for thesis committee can be found in Instructions for students. 


Your research plan will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Suitability of the research topic to the profile of the doctoral programme
  • Scholarly quality and feasibility of the research plan
  • Suitability of the research environment and the support it provides
  • Use of appropriate research methods
  • Feasibility in the planned timetable (four-year target net duration at the University of Helsinki)
  • Funding plan for the doctoral thesis project: The first-year funding, including your living costs and project costs, must be confirmed at the application stage. The supervisor commits to covering your living costs if no other funding is available. Itemise the funding sources (or doctoral researcher’s independent funds) in the supervision contract.


  • Your motivation and previously acquired learning (e.g., CV or equivalent) as well as your success in previous studies (transcript of studies) are important assessment criteria.
  • Your application must include a study plan. Please get acquainted with the degree structure of Doctoral Programme in Biomedicine (DPBM)


How to apply?

Acquainted with the selection criteria and all set to apply? Great! Now go back to the university's general instructions for doctoral applicants, where you will find all the information you need to prepare and submit your application and the needed enclosures. Good luck!


Decisions on admissions for doctoral studies in the programme are made based on the university’s general criteria for doctoral admissions as well as the programme-specific complementary selection criteria, presented on this page.

The final decision on admission is made by the faculty awarding the applicant’s target degree, based on a proposal from the steering group of the doctoral programme.

The doctoral programmes reserve the right to administer an entrance examination and/or interview.

A timetable for decisions is available in the university's general instructions for doctoral applicants.