Admissions to doctoral studies

Planning to apply for a doctoral study right at the Doctoral Programme Brain & Mind? Good choice! We admit new doctoral researchers 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.
Admission periods

The programme admits new doctoral students twice a year: once in the spring and once in the autumn. The application period in the spring is in January and in the autumn in 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.

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

Your previous degree must be relevant to the planned research topic and discipline. A degree is regarded as relevant if it includes sufficient studies in a discipline which, given the topic of the proposed doctoral dissertation, can be regarded as a suitable basis for doctoral studies.

Applicants to the Doctoral Programme Brain & Mind 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:

  • Supervisors (1–3)
  • Coordinating academic

Attach to your application a signed supporting statement / commitment (pdf) stating the planned supervision arrangements. You find the pdf form below in Doctoral programme's selection criteria, subtitle "Supervision".

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.


Only applications meeting the formal criteria for eligibility continue to scientific evaluation in the doctoral programmes.

Doctoral candidates in the Doctoral Programme in Brain & Mind (B&M) may complete the following degrees

Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences

  • Doctor of Philosophy

Faculty of Medicine

  • Doctor of Medical Science
  • Doctor of Philosophy (Psychology)
  • Doctor of Odontology
  • Doctor of Philosophy

Faculty of Pharmacy

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Pharmacy)
  • Doctor of Philosophy

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

  • Doctor of Veterinary Medicine 
  • Doctor of Philosophy

Faculty of Arts

  • Doctor of Philosophy

Faculty of Science

  • Doctor of Philosophy

Please note that your supervisory arrangements must match your chosen target degree and home faculty. The Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, The Faculty of Pharmacy and The Faculty of Medicine have more specific instructions about their degrees.

Doctoral programme's selection criteria

Supervisory arrangements and the quality of the research environment are an important part of the selection criteria. The doctoral programme requires that each applicant must have a supervisor/supervisors when submitting the application. It is the responsibility of the applicant to find a supervisor and discuss and agree on the research and study plans with him/ her. A good starting point for finding a potential supervisor is the University of Helsinki is Research portal.

  • A doctoral candidate must have 1–3 thesis supervisors with doctorate degrees.
  • At least one of the supervisors must in addition hold the title of docent or have equivalent academic qualifications.
  • B&M suggests that at least one supervisor or thesis committee member is from the University of Helsinki.
  • More information about potential supervisors can be found from contacts & supervision.

You must attach to your application supporting statement / commitment form (pdf) signed by your supervisors and coordinating academic stating the planned supervision arrangements.

Your coordinating academic must be 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. Your supervisor may also act as the coordinating academic, provided he or she fulfills the criteria.

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. 

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. 

Faculty specific instructions:

The coordinating academics in the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

In the Faculty of Medicine professors, associate professors and docents may act as the coordinating academics for doctoral candidates.

In the Faculty of Pharmacy, professors and associate professors may act as the coordinating academics for a doctoral student.

In the Faculty of Science professors and associate professors may act as the coordinating academics for doctoral candidates.

In the Faculty of Arts professors, associate professors and docents may act as the coordinating academics for doctoral candidates.

In the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine professors and associate professors, and also a few other persons appointed by the faculty may act as the coordinating academics for doctoral candidates. See further information on coordinating academics on the Faculty's doctoral education web site.

In B&M, 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 B&M. General and B&M-specific instructions for thesis committee.

Your research plan will be evaluated with the following criteria:

  • Demonstration of adequate knowledge in relevant fields and potential of the applicant to develop into an independent researcher
  • Scientific relevance and ambition of the research plan, use of relevant methodology
  • Thematic fit of the research plan with the doctoral programme profile.
  • Funding plan and feasibility of the thesis project within the intended timeframe (net time 4 years)
    • In B&M, the funding for the first year should be confirmed in the application stage. If you are planning to fund your studies yourself, you should mention that in the application.

Your motivation and previous knowledge (e.g. CV or equivalent) are an important part of the evaluation criteria.

Your study plan must be included with your application. Please acquaint yourself with the doctoral programme’s degree requirements available in the Instructions for students service:

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!

Decision making

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.

Before making the proposal, the doctoral programme will ask for a statement from the relevant discipline. The decision-making of the faculty and the steering group are not bound by the recommendations received from the disciplines.

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