Doctoral Programme in Atmospheric Sciences (4 years)

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Degree level
Doctoral degree
Start semester
2019 Spring
Scope of studies and length
--- ECTS credits, 4 years
Language of instruction
English, Finnish, Swedish
Tuition fee per year (only non-EU/EEA citizens)
0 €
Application period

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The Doctoral Programme in Atmospheric Sciences educates the next generation of top-level multidisciplinary researchers and experts. Graduates from the programme understand the practical significance of their research on atmospheric interactions, climate change and air quality. The programme is multidisciplinary and international; the studies support students’ career development and employment by offering an extensive network of contacts in the field of atmospheric sciences research.

Graduates from the programme have profound discipline-specific competence and skills for knowledge work. The doctoral studies also enhance students’ identity as independent researchers and experts. The discipline-specific competence acquired during the doctoral programme includes an in-depth understanding of the nature of the relevant disciplines; command of any key theories, concepts and research methods; an understanding of the relationship between theory and practice; the practical applicability of knowledge; and the ability to generate new scientific knowledge. Over the course of the doctoral programme, students improve their critical thinking, information seeking, argumentation and problem-solving skills. They also develop their interaction, leadership and negotiation skills; self-direction; creativity; understanding of scientific ethics; and the competencies related to sustainable development.

Graduates from the Doctoral Programme in Atmospheric Sciences have extensive scientific communication skills. The programme improves doctoral students’ interaction and communication skills to help them engage in demanding, multidisciplinary research and serve as experts in Finland and internationally. During their doctoral studies, students build the competence required of responsible, independent researchers and experts. Graduates from the programme have excellent competence for independent work and multidisciplinary cooperation.

The Doctoral Programme in Atmospheric Sciences is taught in English.

The Doctoral Programme in Atmospheric Sciences aims to educate the next generation of top-level scientists and experts with all the necessary multidisciplinary skills to tackle the future challenges of climate change, air quality matters and biosphere-atmosphere interactions. In addition to the multidisciplinary aspect, the studied subjects and research often include various methods and scales, from theory to measurement technologies and modelling, from microseconds to centuries, and from nanometres to the global scale.

The units in which the ATM-DP students belong:

  • Faculty of Science:
    • Department of Physics (Division of Atmospheric Sciences)
    • Department of Chemistry (Analytical and Physical Chemistry)
    • Department of Geosciences and Geography (Division of Biogeosciences)
  • Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry:
    • Department of Forest Sciences
  • Faculty of Bio- and Environmental Sciences:
    • Department of Environmental Sciences

The research topics of ATM-DP include:

  • Aerosol and environmental physics
  • Aerosol-cloud-climate interactions
  • Air quality
  • Atmospheric chemistry
  • Atmospheric modelling
  • Biosphere-atmosphere interactions
  • Carbon, water, nitrogen and aerosol cycles and balances
  • Climate change effects and mitigation
  • Development of measurement technologies in atmospheric sciences
  • Dynamic meteorology
  • Earth system modelling
  • Forest ecophysiology and climate change
  • Hydrology
  • Limnology
  • Oceanography
  • Remote sensing of ecosystem and atmosphere
  • Remote sensing of land cover and land use change
  • Snow and ice studies
  • Urban and indoor aerosols and health effects
  • Urban meteorology

Students can complete their doctoral degree through full-time or part-time study. The normative time for completing the doctoral degree as a full-time student is four years. The degree includes

  • A doctoral dissertation
  • A personal study plan
  • Field-specific studies (30 cr), including research ethics
  • General transferable skills (10 cr), including university pedagogy; leadership and supervisor skills; negotiation and project skills; and scientific communication
  • International mobility, such as research cooperation and conferences

A doctoral dissertation consists of peer-reviewed scholarly publications or manuscripts accepted for publication, as well as a summarising report (an article-based dissertation); or, a doctoral dissertation is a scholarly work in the name of the doctoral candidate alone and based on previously unpublished research results (a monograph). Exceptionally, a dissertation may also be another body of work that fulfils the relevant scientific criteria, if the author’s independent contribution can be demonstrated.

A doctoral dissertation

  • includes new scientific knowledge
  • demonstrates the doctoral candidate’s skills in critical thinking
  • demonstrates profound knowledge of the field of research
  • demonstrates a good command of research methods and the ability to apply them
  • is scientifically convincing
  • includes justified results
  • demonstrates scientific integrity and adheres to the norms of ethical research

Graduates from the programme have a good employment rate. The mission of the doctoral programme is to offer graduates diverse professional competence for an academic career or other duties in Finland and abroad. Programme graduates have found employment as, for example, researchers in universities around the world, researchers and experts in government research institutes (the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the Finnish Environment Institute, the Natural Resources Institute Finland, CERN, IIASA), coordinators in international scientific communities (e.g., ICOS, ACTRIS, Smear Ltd), entrepreneurs (e.g., manufacturers of measurement equipment) and data analysts for businesses.

The students admitted to the Doctoral Programme in Atmospheric Sciences enter a truly international research environment. Over a third of the doctoral students of the programme come from abroad and, since the research included in the programme is internationally acclaimed, the programme features lectures and presentations by guests from other top universities in the field.

All doctoral students admitted to the programme have the opportunity to present their research results at international conferences regardless of their funding situation. The articles included in students’ dissertations are released in internationally prestigious publications.

The students admitted to the Doctoral Programme in Atmospheric Sciences have excellent opportunities for close cooperation with international research networks (e.g., PEEX, ICOS, ACTRIS, AnaEE, eLTER, FluxNET) and top universities and research institutes (e.g., CERN, IIASA, University of Oxford, UC, NOAA, Duke University, ECMWF, the majority of the top 10 universities in China). The programme also conducts cooperation with equipment manufacturers (Vaisala, Dekati, Airmodus, Karsa Ltd.) and, as a matter of course, national research institutes (the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the Finnish Environment Institute, the Natural Resources Institute Finland). IPCC reports repeatedly refer to the publications of our doctoral students.

The Doctoral Programme in Atmospheric Sciences conducts multidisciplinary, international, top-level research in fields directly or indirectly related to the atmosphere or the interaction of the atmosphere with the ecosystem, waterways, snow, ice, soil and human activities. Research focuses on, for example, the physics and chemistry of aerosols, material flow between the atmosphere and ecosystems/waterways/soil, atmospheric chemistry, meteorology, greenhouse gases, ecosystem functions, climate change, and air quality.

How to apply

Doctoral programmes

The doctoral candidates at the University of Helsinki are supervised by top-class researchers, and carry out their research as part of an international academic community. The University of Helsinki is the only Finnish university in the League of European Research Universities (LERU) and a member of the EUA Council for Doctoral Education.

Doctoral education is offered in research- and researcher-oriented doctoral programmes. Each of the 32 doctoral programmes belong to one of the University’s four doctoral schools. The doctoral schools are in charge of coordinating the totality of doctoral programmes in their field as well as developing the overall quality of doctoral education. In addition, they are responsible for the offerings in transferable skills courses.

Most of the doctoral programmes are joined programmes offered by different Faculties. In these programmes the doctoral candidates can pursue a doctoral degree offered by any of the participating Faculties.

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