Admissions to doctoral studies

Planning to apply for a doctoral study right at Doctoral Programme in Computer Science (DOCS)? Good choice! We admit new doctoral students five times 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 Doctoral Programme has five application periods for doctoral study rights each year – two in the spring, two in the fall and one in the summer (only for applicants who have completed their master's degree at the University of Helsinki). 

2023-2024 the application periods are:

  • 1–14 September 2023
  • 1–14 November 2023
  • 17–31 January 2024
  • 3–16 April 2024
  • 15–25 July 2024 (only graduates of University of Helsinki)

2024-2025 the application periods are:

  • 4–17 September 2024
  • 6–19 November 2024
  • 8–21 January 2025
  • 2–15 April 2025
  • 21–31 July 2025 (only graduates of University of Helsinki)

Please note that the application closes at 3 PM local time on the last day of the application round.

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 and the coordinating academic named in the application must have 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.

Students admitted to the programme can complete the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Study right will be granted in Faculty of Science. 

Please note that your supervisory arrangements must match your chosen target degree and home faculty. The coordinating academic must be in a permanent or long-term employment to the faculty you're applying to.

Doctoral programme's selection criteria

Availability of high-quality supervision is a central part of the selection criteria. To get started, please see the list of our supervisors. You can also try to get in contact with our supervisors through our yearly call for letters on intent.

The programme requires that the supervision arrangements presented in the application meet the following requirements:

  • You must have at least one supervisor who has completed a doctoral degree, and a coordinating academic (professor or associate professor). 
  • The coordinating academic must be in a permanent or long-term employment at the faculty you're applying to.
  • All doctoral candidates in DoCS must also have a thesis committee. More information about thesis committees in DoCS can be found on the Instructions for Students.
  • You must attach a signed letter of commitment (pdf) from the supervisor(s), the coordinating academic and the the thesis committee members mentioned in the application. 

If no one has agreed to supervise you, you are unfortunately not eligible to apply.

Please note that the doctoral programme's decision-making is not bound by the preliminary agreements to supervise given by the potential supervisors. The evaluation of the applications is based on their overall quality, and available supervision resources alone do not guarantee acceptance.

The applications to the programme are to be prepared in co-operation with the intended supervisor within the programme. The programme is a part of HICT, Helsinki Doctoral Education Network in Information and Communications Techology, which use can use to search potential supervisors in your field.

The following are emphasized in the assessment of the quality of the research plan:

  • Feasibility
  • Scientific significance
  • Suitability to the programme's research profile
  • Funding

When assessing the provisional timetables presented in the applications, special attention is paid to the fact that a full-time doctoral student should aim to complete the dissertation and related studies in approximately four years. Supervisors are expected to support this goal.

The applicant’s potential and motivation will be assessed on the basis of the quality and feasibility of the research proposal as well as previous academic performance and research experience. The ability to complete the studies in the target duration will be judged on the study plan, research proposal and funding plan. 

Please notice that the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki does not include funding. In the funding plan, write clearly how you plan to fund your research. If you plan to fund your research yourself (part-time doctoral studies), please make sure that the timetable and estimated year graduation take this into account. Read more about funding doctoral studies on university's web pages.

The following are emphasized when assessing the quality and suitability of previous studies:

  • Suitability of the previous degree as a basis for the planned dissertation project
  • Previous study performance

When assessing the study plan presented in the application, the following things are considered:

  • Feasibility
  • Appropriateness for the planned dissertation project

Before drawing up your own preliminary study plan, please acquaint yourself with the doctoral programme's degree requirements available in the Instructions for students (NB! Choose the right doctoral programme from the site's degree programme menu). The study plan presented in the application is preliminary, and need not list specific courses. 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.

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.

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