Admissions to doctoral studies
Planning to apply for a doctoral study right at the Doctoral Programme in Clinical Research? 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 autumn 2021 application period is from September 1, 2021 to September 15, 2021 (granted study rights start January 1, 2022) and the spring 2022 period is from January 17, 2022 to January 31, 2022 (granted study rights start May 1, 2022).

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

Applicants to the programme 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 at the University of Helsinki 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:

  • The supervisors to be appointed (1–3)
  • The coordinating academic to be appointed
  • The thesis committee members to be appointed

Attach to your application a signed supporting statement (Word) stating the planned supervision arrangements. Signatures of thesis committee members are not required.

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. 

The following target degrees are available in the programme:

  • Doctor of Philosophy
  • Doctor of Medical Science
  • Doctor of Dental Science
  • Doctor of Psychology

All doctoral candidates in the doctoral programme complete their doctoral degree at the Faculty of Medicine.

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.
  • Should a doctoral candidate have a multidisciplinary doctoral thesis, the candidate can be appointed a third supervisor with good reasons justified on the application form when applying for the right to pursue a doctoral degree.

You will be assigned a coordinating academic based on your proposal. The coordinating academic is 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. The first supervisor may be appointed also as the coordinating academic, provided he or she fulfills the above criteria. The coordinating academic will be appointed at the same time as the supervisors.

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. 

In the Faculty of Medicine professors, associate professors and docents may act as the coordinating academics for doctoral candidates. You can use the University of Helsinki People finder and contacts -service to look for a suitable coordinating academic.

Please note, that you have to name your thesis committee members upon applying a doctoral study right.

  • The thesis committee consists of at least two experts who are able to assess the progress of the dissertation.
  • At least one must hold the qualifications of a docent or equivalent academic qualifications.

Thesis committee members cannot be close collaborators (e.g. shared research projects or grants within the last 3 years, no family connections or manager/employee relationship) of the thesis supervisors.

It should also be taken into account when assembling the committee that members of the thesis committee cannot later be appointed as preliminary examiners or opponents for the doctoral dissertation in question. See further information on the duties of thesis committee in the university's Instructions for Students.

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. Clinical aspect has to be justified very clearly if you are applying for the Clinical programme.
  • Funding plan and feasibility of the thesis project within the intended timeframe (net time 4 years)

Your motivation and previous knowledge (e.g. CV or equivalent) are an important part of the evaluation criteria. Please acquaint yourself with the doctoral programme’s degree requirements before drawing up your study plan.

The degree structure of the Doctoral Programme in Clinical Research (KLTO)

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.

The doctoral programmes reserve the right to administer an entrance examination and/or interview.

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