Employment as a doctoral candidate
Once a year, the doctoral programme opens a call for applications for university-funded doctoral candidate positions. The doctoral candidates selected for these positions complete their doctoral research employed by the university. Both current University of Helsinki doctoral candidates and new applicants planning on doctoral studies are eligible to apply for these positions.
Instructions for applicants

The University of Helsinki (UH) annually allocates funding to doctoral programmes for salaried positions (employment contract). These doctoral candidate positions are designated as full-time work. The aim is that doctoral candidates employed by the University will pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree, which should be completed within four years.

A share of the positions are earmarked in particular for multidisciplinary projects that promote the goals of sustainable development in all fields of science.

The next application period for salaried positions is open from August 23 to September 7, 2021 (23.59 PM EEST). Please apply for a position using the electronic application form for salaried positions (see section "Application form").

Both current University of Helsinki doctoral candidates and new applicants planning doctoral studies are eligible to apply for these positions. 

Please read the application instructions carefully before applying. If you are also planning to apply for the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree, remember to read the instructions related to applying for a doctoral study right.

Salaried doctoral candidate positions are aimed at enabling full-time work on dissertations and postgraduate studies, with the goal of completing a doctoral degree in four years. The exact duration of employment, its’ start and end dates are determined in the employment contract. 

The salary and other further details concerning the employment relationship are available in the call for applications.

You can apply for a salaried position in a doctoral programme if you are currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Helsinki or are planning to pursue a doctoral degree. 

If you already have a doctoral study right at the University of Helsinki, you can apply for a salaried position, provided you have not yet spent a total of four years with a UH funded doctoral candidate salary.

If you do not yet have the right to pursue a postgraduate doctoral degree, you may apply for a doctoral study right in the September call for doctoral study rights or in the spring at the latest. In this case, please read carefully the instructions for doctoral study right applicants.

Applications for a salaried position in a doctoral programme are submitted by completing an electronic form and enclosing the required attachments. 

If you already have the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki and you are applying for a salaried position in your doctoral programme:  

  • Read the application instructions regarding salaried positions
  • Complete the electronic application form 

If you do not yet have the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, you must apply for the right in the September study right call or in the spring at the latest . Please note that this may result in your employment beginning later than 1 January 2022. According to the guidelines of the University of Helsinki, individuals recruited to salaried doctoral candidate positions must gain admittance to doctoral studies (doctoral study right) within the six-month trial period of the employment. 

If you already have the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, you may apply for a salaried position from another doctoral programme that suits your research profile. If you receive a salaried position from another doctoral programme, you will need to change your doctoral programme. Please note that you may need to reapply for post-graduate study rights if your faculty or target degree change in relation to an awarded salaried position. This application should be made in the spring at the latest, but please note that this may affect the start date of your potential employment. 

If you are applying for a salaried position in more than one doctoral programme, please complete a separate application form for each one.

The application form calls for information on your research and study plan, skills that support writing a doctoral dissertation, the title and abstract of your master’s thesis, as well as details on your supervisory arrangements (in the case of certain doctoral programmes).

The electronic application form for salaried positions is open during the application period.

The research plan is the most important part of your application, and it must be entered into the specified fields in the application form, divided into the sections described below. Please prepare your research plan according to this division and the maximum number of characters including spaces for each section. More specific information can be found below and the application form is open for approximately two weeks before the call.

The application form sections concerning the research plan (maximum number of characters including spaces in parentheses): 

  • Preliminary title of the doctoral thesis 
  • Field of research (menu) 
  • Specification or additional information on the field of research (unrestricted text field) 
  • Brief summary of the research plan (2,000) 
  • Research plan contains mathematical special characters or chemical formulas 
  • Motivation for conducting doctoral research (2,000) 
  • Rationale for the research project (2,000) 
  • Objectives of the research and scientific impact of research results (2,000) 
  • Research methods and materials to be used and its significance for the research project (3,500) 
  • Preliminary plan on the collection, use and storage of research material (1,500) 
  • Ethical issues (1,000) 
  • Does the research project require animal testing
  • I ask that my application be considered also for the positions earmarked for projects that promote the goals of sustainable development.  
  • The most important literature references for the research plan (2,500) 
  • Form of the dissertation (article-based or monograph) 
  • Publication plan and timetable for the articles or a preliminary outline of the monograph (1,000)
  • Start date of doctoral study right.
  • Preliminary timetable of your research (2,000) 
  • Planned funding for the research project including received and applied notable funding thus far (1,000)
  • Estimate of thesis work completed to date (0–100%) 
  • Estimated year of graduation 

Previously acquired knowledge supporting the dissertation project and study plan (maximum number of characters, including spaces in parentheses): 

  • Previously acquired research knowledge (1,500) 
  • Possible previous publications and conference presentations (1,500) 
  • Possible international experience and other work experience relevant to your doctoral research (1,500) 
  • Possible career breaks (1,500) 

Preliminary study plan (maximum number of characters, including spaces in parentheses) 

  • Preliminary study plan: Discipline-specific studies, 30 ECTS (1,500) 
  • Preliminary study plan: Transferable skills, 10 ECTS (1,500) 
  • Previously completed studies applicable to your doctoral degree, if any 
  • Title and abstract of the master’s thesis or equivalent (750) 
  • Supervisory arrangements: supervisor(s) and thesis committee (see doctoral programme-specific instructions below) 

Salaried position applications are assessed based on the quality of the research and study plans, abilities and motivation of the applicant as demonstrated in conjunction with completing a previous degree or in another manner, as well as supervisory arrangements or their availability. The topic of the research plan must suit the profile of the doctoral programme. Interviews for short-listed applicants may be arranged. 

The board of the doctoral programme makes a proposal regarding appointment of doctoral candidate salaried positions. The director of the relevant employment unit makes the final decision on the appointments. 

If you are offered a salaried position, you must receive the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree in the relevant doctoral programme within the six-month trial period. 

All applicants will be personally notified of the decisions.

If you are unable to find an answer to a question in these instructions, please check the Frequently asked questions. Further information can be requested by writing to phd-positions(at)helsinki.fi.

Please note that applications for the right to pursue a doctoral degree are processed according to a different schedule by the responsible Faculty. The relevant faculty makes decisions regarding study rights and applicants are personally notified in a separate notification to salary positions.

Programme-specific additional instructions

The University of Helsinki Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences invites applications for four (4) funded doctoral candidate positions starting from 1.1.2022. Each position is for a four-year term.

The Doctoral Programme in the Social Sciences covers the following disciplines: social psychology, social work, social and cultural anthropology, sociology, social data science, media and communication studies, criminology and social and public policy. Applicants must clearly state which of these disciplines is their primary discipline in their application. The Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences is the largest doctoral programme in Finland.

Thematic teaching is provided both at disciplinary level and multi-disciplinary levels. Candidates should study these areas before writing their applications. These are organized around theoretically and substantially relevant research areas and are currently organized as follows (contact persons and main discipline are marked in parentheses:

  1. Action, Interaction and Social Relationships (Prof. Ilkka Arminen; Sociology)
  2. Comparative Study of Social Change (Profs. Lena Näre and Sirpa Wrede; Sociology)
  3. Consumer Society Research – (Associate Professor Minna Ruckenstein)
  4. Cultural and Social Diversities and Intergroup Relations (Prof. Inga Jasinskaja-Lahti; Social Psychology)
  5. Criminology (Profs. Janne Kivivuori and Matti Näsi; Criminology)
  6. Knowledge, Technology and Environment (Profs. Janne Hukkinen and Petri Ylikoski; Sociology)
  7. Media and Global Communication (Prof. Johanna Sumiala; Media and Communication)
  8. Population, Health and Living Conditions (Prof. Pekka Martikainen; Sociology)
  9. Social and Cultural Anthropology (Prof. Sarah Green; Social and Cultural Anthropology)
  10. Social Psychology (Prof. Anna-Maija Pirttilä-Backman; Social Psychology)
  11. Social Work and Welfare Policies (Profs. Ilse Julkunen and Kris Clarke; Social Work)
  12. Cultural, Political and Theoretical Sociology (Profs. David Inglis and Eeva Luhtakallio; Sociology)
  13. Social Data Science and Statistical Demography (For potential list of supervisors, please see the Centre for Social Data Science website)
  14. Urban Studies/Urban Academy (Prof. Veikko Eranti; Sociology)
  15. Social Policy (Profs. Anne Kouvonen and Heikki Hiilamo; Social Policy)

Candidates must gain the agreement of at least one member of staff to act as a supervisor for the research project prior to applying.  Any applications without at least one named supervisor will be rejected.

See the list of potential supervisors in these research areas and their research profiles in Contacts & supervision.

The reason for this requirement is that doctoral research demands the highest levels of research skill and knowledge of the research topic, both on the part of the candidate and on the part of the supervisor: in addition to requiring the candidate to be of the highest academic quality, we can only accept candidates if we are certain that we have sufficient expertise to supervise the candidate on the research topic specified.

Candidates are strongly advised to be fully aware of the research expertise of potential supervisors before contacting them. Candidates should include a research plan and CV in the request and provide clear research-related reasons for requesting the supervision of a member of staff that is directly related the staff member’s research expertise. Candidates are also advised to have read some of the research work of the potential supervisor before contacting them. Any requests for supervision that have not been properly prepared and do not provide this kind of information are unlikely to be successful.

  1. The appointee must have obtained the agreement of at least one supervisor from the Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences at University of Helsinki prior to applying. See above “Requirement to secure a supervisor before applying” for more details. Candidates are strongly advised to be aware of potential supervisors’ research expertise and prepare requests for supervision carefully before contacting members of staff.
  2. The appointee must hold a study right in SOS doctoral programme at the University of Helsinki. In case the appointee does not yet have a study right, they need to apply for it: the appointee must obtain the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki within six months of the beginning of the appointment.
  3. The appointee must hold a high quality second-cycle degree (e.g. master’s degree or equivalent) and have a high-quality research proposal, which shows the links between the planned dissertation research and the research expertise within the doctoral programme.

Other requirements include proven ability and motivation, demonstrated through previous degree studies or otherwise to pursue postgraduate studies. Fluency in English is required.

Please submit your application preferably in English. Applications in Finnish and Swedish, however, are also welcomed.

Short-listed candidates will be invited to an interview organised on Friday 5 November.

The decisions will be announced on the doctoral programme’s web page in December 2021.

For further information on the doctoral student positions, please contact Tuuli Holttinen, Planning Officer, Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences, at tuuli.holttinen@helsinki.fi, +358 2941 24923.

General questions regarding the application: phd-positions@helsinki.fi
Technical support: aava-admin@helsinki.fi

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