Doctoral Programme in Computer Science (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 degree in computer science aims at attaining a deeper knowledge in one of the areas of computer science and the ability to produce new scientific insights in this area.  During the doctoral education, the independent scientific researcher and specialist identity of the doctoral student develops and deepens. The discipline-related skills produced by the doctoral degree include a very deep understanding of the nature of computer science, the main theories, concepts, research methods, the relationship between theory and practice, practical applicability of the knowledge, and the ability to produce new scientific information. 

Besides in-depth discipline-related skills, the doctoral degree in computer science also produces various skills for knowledge work. During the doctoral education, the doctoral student’s proficiency in critical thinking, argumentation, and problem-solving is enhanced. In addition, interaction skills, leadership and negotiation skills, self-direction, creativity, and ethical scientific skills, as well as sustainability skills are developed further. Graduates from the doctoral programme have extensive knowledge of scientific communication. The doctoral education develops the communication skills of postgraduates so that they can work in challenging, multidisciplinary research and specialist work environments at home and abroad. During the doctoral education, doctoral students develop the skills of a responsible and independent researcher and specialist. Postgraduates of the doctoral programme are very well prepared for working independently and collaborating in a multiprofessional environment.

All of the teaching in the DoCS doctoral programme in carried out in English, and doctoral theses are written in English. On many courses, the exams can be answered also in Finnish or Swedish.

The general theme of the DoCS doctoral programme is computer science. The focal areas are the same as those of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki: Algorithmic bioinformatics, Algorithms, data analytics and machine learning, Networks and services, and Software systems. The DoCS programme collaborates actively with Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT, EIT Digital, network, and computer science related departments at Aalto University via, for example, the joint doctoral education network HICT.

In the DoCS programme, studies of doctoral students consist of courses and seminars in computer science and other disciplines related to their research topic as well as general expertise studies. The DoCS programme has an annual PhD seminar aimed for all doctoral students. In addition to that, the doctoral programme can organise intensive courses, seminars and guest lectures, that are typically held by international guests. The programme also takes part in arrangements of different workshops and summer and winter schools together with its co-operation networks and other actors in the area of interest. All doctoral students are encouraged to make research visits and participate in international summer and winter schools as well as workshops and conferences both in Finland and abroad.

The total workload of four years of studies leading to a doctoral degree will correspond to 240 credits. Doctoral degrees may be pursued either full-time or part-time.

The doctoral studies in the DoCS programme consist of the following parts:

  • a personal study plan,
  • at least 30 study credits in the field/research area of the thesis (including studies in research ethics, and a PhD seminar),
  • 10 study credits of transferable skills, and
  • a doctoral thesis.

The doctoral thesis can be written as an article-based dissertation consisting of peer-reviewed scientific publications or manuscripts accepted for publication and a summary, or as a monograph of scientific work issued under the name of the doctoral candidate alone and based on previously unpublished results of independent research. The thesis is written in English.

The dissertation should:

  • include new scientific knowledge,
  • show the candidate's critical thinking,
  • demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the field of research,
  • demonstrate the ability to manage and apply methods,
  • be scientifically convincing,
  • contains justified results, and
  • be scientifically honest and ethical.

The doctoral degree opens up avenues to many different kinds of jobs. In addition to fully academic posts like post-doc researcher or other similar posts, the PhD degree serves as an entry to jobs in both the public and the private sector, in Finland and abroad. Examples of such jobs include scientific expert duties in ministries, government institutions, research institutes, and patent offices; administrative duties in various organisations related to university education; jobs in scientific publishing and communication; and working in private enterprises or start-ups.

The DoCS programme is very international, with almost forty percent of  the doctoral candidates and some of the supervisors originating from outside Finland. All doctoral students are encouraged to make research visits and participate in international summer and winter schools as well as workshops and conferences both in Finland and abroad.

The DoCS programme collaborates actively with Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT, EIT Digital, and computer science related departments at Aalto University. With the Aalto University, the collaboration is done, for example, via the joint doctoral education network, Helsinki Doctoral Education Network in Information and Communications Technology (HICT). DoCS is also participates in the national programme, and the EIT Digital Doctoral School .

The general theme of the DoCS doctoral programme is computer science. The focal areas of DoCS are Algorithmic bioinformatics; Algorithms, data analytics, and machine learning; Data Science; Networks and services; and Software systems.

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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