Admissions to doctoral studies

Planning to apply for a doctoral study right at the Doctoral Programme in Economics? Good choice! We admit new doctoral students three times a year (two general rounds and one for graduates of Helsinki University), 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 Doctoral Programme has two application periods for doctoral study rights each year – one in the winter and one in the fall. In addition, the programme has a summer application round for graduates of University of Helsinki.


The summer 2024 application period is from July 15, 2024 09:00 AM EEST until July 25, 2024 03:00 PM EEST:

  • Open only for the graduates from Helsinki University
  • Admission results will be released by August 23, 2024
  • Offered study places must be accepted by September 6, 2024
  • Granted study rights will start on September 2, 2024

The autumn 2024 application period is from September 4, 2024 09:00 AM EEST until September 17, 2024 03:00 PM EEST:

  • Admission results will be released by November 21, 2024
  • Offered study places must be accepted by December 5, 2024
  • Granted study rights will start on January 1, 2025


The following application round will be January 8-21, 2025 (open for all), granted study rights will start on May 1, 2025. 


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 requires that the following conditions are met:

  • Applicants must, in good time before submitting the application, contact the discipline relevant to their research interests and discuss the preliminary study plan and research plan as well as arrangements for dissertation supervision.  Each applicant is responsible for finding a potential supervisor to contact with in the application phase. Information about a potential supervisor is asked in the application form.

  • Supervisor’s statement about the applicant is compulsory in this doctoral programme.  Please, submit a scanned document of the e-mail conversation with the potential supervisor (see selection criteria, supervisory arrangements).

  • The previous degree must be relevant to the planned research topic and the 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.

  • In order to have sufficient knowledege to complete the doctoral degree the applicant should have sufficient studies in economics similar to the Economics Research track in the Master's degree programme in Economics, at the University of Helsinki as well as basic studies in (25 ECTS) in mathematics and statistics. In some cases, applicants who do not meet the above-mentioned requirement may be asked to supplement their previous studies.

  • You must have your Master’s degrees studies (or equivalent) completed. All the studies required for the degree you apply with must be completed, graded and registered by the end of the relevant application period. No exceptions are made to this rule. Applicants who are granted a study right must be able to present a certified copy of their official degree diploma before accepting the offered study place.
  • Applicants who are pursuing postgraduate studies elsewhere are recommended to outline in their application the scholarly grounds for transferring to the University of Helsinki. Applicants who have previously completed a doctoral degree in another field are also recommended to outline the scholarly grounds for reapplying for doctoral studies.

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

The target degrees available within the programme are:

  • Doctor of Social Sciences (Faculty of Social Sciences)
  • Doctor of Philosophy  (Faculty of Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry)
  • Doctor of Science (Agriculture and Forestry) (Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry)

All successful applicants are admitted to complete a doctoral degree, but they can choose to first complete a Licentiate degree.

Please, check which degree is available in the chosen faculty with your background studies and also, note that your supervisory arrangements must match your chosen target degree and home faculty. At least one of your supervisors must be in a permanent or long-term employment to the faculty you're applying to.


Doctoral programme's selection criteria

Availability of supervision and related resources is elementary for doctoral research: as a rule, the person who agrees to serve as the supervisor can simultaneously supervise no more than six students who are completing their postgraduate degree in a way that is equivalent to full-time studying.

Applicants must, in good time before submitting the application, contact teachers in the suitable field of science to receive instructions concerning the suitability of their research proposal for supervisory and research profile in the field of science (no supervisory assistance can otherwise be offered for the research proposal). Email messages sent to teachers must be accompanied by a preliminary research proposal (max. 5 pages). Each applicant is responsible for finding a supervisor. However, finding a supervisor is no guarantee for admission.

The list of potential supervisors in the programme

Supervisor’s statement about the applicant is compulsory in this doctoral programme.  Please, submit a scanned document of the e-mail conversation with the potential supervisor in the application.


Evaluation of the research plan is based on these criteria:

  • the research plan is written in English
  • scientific quality of the research plan
  • the links between the planned dissertation research and the research conducted in the doctoral programme
  • the research plan must follow the format and scope of research plans defined in the application form

The following are emphasized when assessing the quality and suitability of previous studies and the study plan for doctoral studies:

  • Appropriate performance in previous studies, such as Master’s studies in economics completed with the grade of Good (or equivalent) or higher; the grade of the thesis written for the previous degree must usually be magna cum laude  or 3/5 (or equivalent); as well as the suitability of previous studies to serve as the foundation of the prospective doctoral degree, such as the knowledge and skills provided by the study track in economics research in the Master’s Programme in Economics at the University of Helsinki.
  • Knowledge corresponding to that provided by basic studies (25 credits) in mathematics and statistics.
  • An English-language study plan indicating the foundation courses to be completed, including any supplementary studies as well as special courses and their timetable.

Before drawing up your own preliminary study plan, please acquaint yourself with the doctoral programme's degree requirements. The study plan presented in the application is preliminary. The important thing is that you have given thought on what kind of studies would best support your thesis work and drawn up a preliminary timetable for completing these studies.

Courses and studying in the Doctoral Programme in Economics


It’s good to note that admissions to the programme are quite competitive and it’s important to prepare the application carefully. The yearly admission quota for the years 2021-2024 is 14 new students  each year.


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!


Applications meeting the formal eligibility requirements will proceed to the academic assessment of the application, which will take place in the doctoral programme by its supervisors. The final decision on granting the right to pursue a degree will be made by the faculty responsible for the target degree based on a proposal by the steering group of the doctoral programme in question.

In conjunction with admission, the doctoral programme and the title of the doctoral degree to be pursued will be confirmed, and the student will be assigned at least two supervisors who have completed a doctoral degree and of whom at least one has a permanent or long-term employment contract with the Faculty in which the student will pursue the doctoral degree. In addition, each student will be assigned a coordinating academic, who may also serve as one of the dissertation supervisors.

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