Profile & activities

Want to know what we're all about? On this page, we've gathered information on our research profile and the disciplines involved in the programme. Here, you will also find information on the studies and the type of activities and networks that await if you join the doctoral programme.
Key research areas

History and cultural heritage are central themes of the programme. The thematic and interdisciplinary analysis of these themes ranges from historical change, memory and politics of history to the material, intangible, textual, oral, auditive and visual culture as well as to the built environment. History and culture are approached locally, regionally and globally, and the exploration covers a wide time-span from pre-historical times to the recent past and even the future.  Interdisciplinary humanistic perspectives (including archaeology, art history, European ethnology, folklore studies, history, study of religions) are combined with the approaches of education, law, and theology.


The programme employs the theories and methods of history and cultural heritage studies but it also promotes their innovative combinations. To learn more about the different disciplines brought together by the programme, please visit their websites:

Courses & studying

A doctoral degree in the programme comprises of a doctoral thesis and 40 credits of additional studies. The studies are divided into discipline-specific studies, aimed to support your research project, and transferable skills training.

Most of the studies are completed flexibly through means other than traditional coursework: conference presentations, essays, scientific and popular articles, editing work etc. Want to know more? Visit our study planning instructions for current doctoral students at the university's Instructions for Students.

Regular courses at the programme include discipline-specific research seminars, where you get to present your own work, receive feedback and spur on your fellow doctoral researchers.

Courses in research ethics and transferable skills are offered throughout the academic year by the University of Helsinki Doctoral School.

Events & activities

His­tory and Cultural Her­it­age Summer School

The doctoral programme for History and Cultural Heritage organizes a yearly summer school for doctoral students in late August or early September. The summer school is meant for doctoral students in all stages of their research and it will focus on interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary questions in the areas of history, culture, and cultural heritage from methodological and thematic angles. The summer school consists of lectures and working in groups, and reading pre-assigned materials. Each participating doctoral student should provide a working paper beforehand to be discussed in the work groups.

Start your dis­ser­ta­tion!

The doctoral programme for History and Cultural Heritage organises a workshop every spring for doctoral students who are in the early stages of their dissertation work. The workshop consists of joint sessions on questions specific to the early stages of dissertation work, and smaller group sessions discussing each participant's research plans.

Participants are expected to provide a short research plan (3 pages) about a week before the event. The research plan should focus on a question or an issue that is the most topical one for you at the moment. In addition to the research plan, you should provide a disposition of the doctoral thesis and a short report on the current stage of your dissertation work.


The doctoral programme organizes Hoffice days for communal writing. The idea of the Hoffice day is to have 45-minute independent working periods and 15 minute breaks. In the beginning of the day everyone can tell their day's aim to others. During the breaks, you can present questions to the colleagues and the supervisor of the day. There will be time for questions also at the end of the day. The Doctoral Programme provides a lunch and a smoothie. Think of your aims for the day, take your laptop, and and come and write together with your peers!

Annual writ­ing re­treats

The programme also organises annual writing retreats. At the two or three-day retreats, you will spend solid chunks of the day distraction-free, just writing. In addition, you will have the opportunity to share the joys and pains of writing with other scholars in brief workshops and informal discussions during the retreat.

International Cooperation

Una Europa Doctoral Programme in Cultural Heritage (Una-Her-Doc)

The doctoral programme in History and Cultural Heritage participates in the Una Europa Doctoral Programme in Cultural Heritage.

The University of Helsinki is a member of Una Europa, an alliance of eight European universities, including the Free University Berlin, University of Bologna, University of Edinburgh, Jagiellonian University Krakow, University of Leuven, and Complutense University of Madrid.

What is Una-Her-Doc?

The Una Europa Doctoral Programme in Cultural Heritage (Una-Her-Doc) is a joint-venture of the Una Europa universities to promote interdisciplinarity, internationalization of learning, international networking, and co-creation of a transnational research ecosystem in Cultural Heritage. It offers innovative educational formats, alternative forms of transnational mobilities (digital and virtual), and multilingualism.

The programme is offered by all eight Una Europa universities, and it is open to both current and new doctoral students of the University of Helsinki, wishing to participate in the programme and to complete a bi-national double doctorate at the University of Helsinki and one of the other Una Europa universities.

Despite its name, the Una-Her-Doc is not a degree programme in itself – all UH doctoral students participating in the programme must hold or apply for a doctoral study right at one of the UH doctoral programmes (usually the Doctoral Programme in History and Cultural Heritage) through the standard doctoral admissions process, as well as hold or apply for a doctoral study right at one of the other participating universities.

A bilateral agreement of co-supervision (cotutelle) is made for each student chosen to the Una-Her-Doc programme. Aside from a double doctoral degree from the two universities participating in the bilateral agreement, Una-Her-Doc awards a Certificate on Cultural Heritage co-signed by all the eight Una Europa universities to doctoral candidates who fulfilled programme’s requirements.

Aims & ambitions

The programme ambitions to contribute to the education of experts in different fields of Cultural Heritage for jobs in academia, consultancy, NGOs, heritage and culture institutions, the private sector, European administration, etc. and to the creation of European profiles for young professionals who aspire to work in a European and international environment in relation to Cultural Heritage. It aims at facilitating contacts and learning from European professionals from the Cultural Heritage sector. It offers high quality interdisciplinary educational materials co-produced by the Una Europa universities.

The programme ambitions to create international cohorts of doctoral candidates, regularly interacting with each other, in PhD workshops, transnational research teams or joint courses and seminars. The Una-Her-Doc programme offers flexible and adjustable contents, allowing the doctoral candidates to build their own doctoral career in concert with their supervisors and co-supervisors.

Teaching team

The teaching team of the Una-Her-Doc involves many thesis supervisors, professors and researchers from all the eight Una Europa universities, working in the field of cultural heritage studies. Many well renowned academics outside Una Europa and professionals from the cultural heritage field, will also be involved as the guest lecturers within different courses proposed in the programme.

Study Programme & Courses

The framework of the study programme contains:

  • Co-supervision by two co-supervisors in two Una Europa universities;
  • Annual presentation of the progress to the Cultural Heritage expert Committee;
  • 12-months (cumulative) mobility to the Host university;
  • Possibility of additional mobility within the Consortium or outside, including internships;
  • Possibility of teaching experience;
  • Active participation in one of the Una Europa research teams;

To whom Una-Her-Doc is addressed

The Una-Her-Doc programme is addressed to doctoral candidates of different disciplinary backgrounds:

  • who wish to complete a bi-national double doctoral degree (cotutelle) at two of the eight Una Europa universities
  • whose PhD research project is related to cultural heritage studies;
  • who aspire to a European career in the field of cultural heritage;
  • who desire to experience truly transnational and interdisciplinary learning.

How to apply to Una-Her-Doc

  1. Contact a PhD supervisor in Helsinki (for Helsinki-based doctoral students, Helsinki will be the Home university).
  2. If the PhD project corresponds to the Una-Her-Doc requirements (a qualitative and innovative project in the field of cultural heritage), the supervisor can recommend a co-supervisor in another Una Europa University (the Host university).
  3. Apply for a doctoral study right at the host university (and also at the UH, if you don’t yet have one) following the university’s admission instructions and deadlines
  4. After acceptance and enrolment to the both universities, a bilateral co-supervision agreement will be prepared between the two universities to agree on the details of the double degree.
  5. In parallel, the supervisor and co-supervisor will recommend the Doctoral candidate to the Una-Her-Doc Committee.

Aspiring Una-Her-Doc students who don’t yet hold a doctoral study right at the University of Helsinki:  The UH doctoral study right should be applied from the Doctoral Programme in History and Cultural Heritage. Acquaint yourself with the instructions for applicants and the rules for eligibility in good time before the application period starts.

Aspiring Una-Her-Doc students who already hold a doctoral study right at the University of Helsinki: Please contact your supervisor if you would be interested in this.

You can find more information here:


For further information about the programme, application documents and procedure, please contact