Admissions to doctoral studies

Planning to apply for a doctoral study right at Doctoral Programme of Law? 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 and once in the autumn.

The spring 2024 application period is from April 3, 2024 09:00 AM EEST until April 16, 2024 03:00 PM EEST.

  • Admission results will be released by June 6, 2024.
  • Offered study places must be accepted by June 19, 2024.
  • Granted study rights will start on August 1, 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 spring 2025 application period is from April 2, 2025, 09:00 AM EEST until April 15, 2025, 03:00 PM EEST.

  • Admission results will be released by June 19, 2025.
  • Offered study places must be accepted by July 3, 2025.
  • Granted study rights will start on August 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 the following conditions are met:

  • Applications must meet the minimum requirements set for supervisory arrangements (see selection criteria). The supervisors named in the application must have preliminarily agreed to the task.
  • 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.
  • All the studies required for the degree you apply with 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.

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

The target degree available within the programme is:

  • Doctor of Laws (Faculty of Law)

The right to complete a Doctor of Laws degree can be granted to applicants who have completed a Master’s or Licentiate degree in law in Finland or abroad, and who are deemed to have sufficient knowledge and skills to complete the doctoral degree and submit a high-quality research plan for a dissertation and an eligible personal study plan (PSP). For good reasons, the right to study can also be granted based on a Master’s degree in another discipline, provided that the applicant is deemed sufficiently competent to pursue postgraduate studies in law.

If you are currently completing doctoral studies elsewhere, it is recommended that you present an academic justification for completing doctoral studies also at the University of Helsinki. If you have already completed a doctoral degree in another field, it is recommended that you present an academic justification for granting another doctoral study right.



Doctoral programme's selection criteria

Availability of high-quality supervision is a central part of the selection criteria. The programme requires that the supervision arrangements presented in the application meet the following requirements:

You must have a preliminary written consent from at least one supervisor who is in a permanent or long-term employment at the faculty of law at the University of Helsinki. You are recommended to have two supervisors who have completed a doctoral degree, of whom at least one of the supervisors must be in a permanent or long-term employment at the faculty of law at the University of Helsinki. The second supervisor need not be employed by the University of Helsinki but must hold a doctoral degree.

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 (which are recommended to be delivered in written format as a basis for the discussion) as well as arrangements for dissertation supervision.  Each applicant is responsible for finding a supervisor.

Applicant should ask his/her prospective supervisor(s) to submit their statement(s) by the application deadline using an electronic form. In the application form applicants are also asked to name the persons who have agreed to serve as his/her dissertation supervisor. Supervisor’s statement: an electronic form (only for teachers) - please send your statement also to the applicant.

The teacher who agrees to serve as supervisor submits a separate written statement to the Faculty concerning the applicant, including an assessment of the applicant’s ability to complete the degree and the feasibility and expediency of his or her study and research plans. Applicants must present their supervisor’s supporting statement at the application stage.

The research plan is the most important part of the application. The following are emphasized in the assessment of the quality of the research plan:

  • Feasibility
  • Links with other research at the faculty
  • Scientific significance
  • Suitability to the programme's research profile

Your possible previous publications, any experience that supports your intended research and any funding already acquired are also taken into consideration when evaluating the application.

Previous academic success and the quality of the study plan are taken into account in the evaluation of the application. When assessing previous study performance, special attention is paid to the quality and grade of the master´s thesis or equivalent as well as possible awards. In the assessment of the study plans, attention is paid especially to feasibility.

If an applicant has completed a degree in a field other than law, the assessment of his or her ability to complete a doctorate considers the above-mentioned factors as well as any studies the applicant has completed in law (including difficulty and study performance), practical experience of professional duties requiring knowledge of law, and the relationship of the applicant’s previous studies, previous research, research topic presented in the research plan or other activities with the research conducted at the Faculty.


The doctoral programmes yearly admission quota for the year 2024 is 23 new students.

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.

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.