Doctoral Programme in History and Cultural Heritage (4 years)

Go to degree finder
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
14.9.2018 - 27.9.2018

Bottom content


Students who complete a doctoral degree have comprehensive competence and general skills for knowledge work in their discipline. During their doctoral studies, students enhance their identity as independent researchers and experts. The discipline-specific competence generated 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, knowledge of the relationship between theory and practice, the practical applicability of knowledge, as well as the ability to generate new scientific knowledge. Over the course of the doctoral programme, students improve their critical thinking, argumentation and problem-solving skills. They also polish their communication, leadership and negotiation skills, self-direction, creativity and understanding of scientific ethics. Graduates from the doctoral programme have extensive skills in scientific communication. The programme improves doctoral students’ communication skills to help them perform 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. The programme graduates have excellent competence for independent work and multidisciplinary cooperation.

Finnish and English are the primary languages of instruction. Students may also complete studies in Swedish. In philologies courses and seminars are organised in relevant languages.

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 aim of the programme is to provide theoretical and methodological skills which are needed in the analyses of complex historical and cultural phenomena from past and present perspectives, and skills in interdisciplinary research and interaction.  The starting point for each student’s doctoral studies is the expertise in the student’s own discipline. Training in the programme is thus based both on the student’s own discipline and the theoretically and methodologically oriented interdisciplinary teaching provided by the programme. One of the central aims of the programme is to enable the student to see her/his own research is in a wider interdisciplinary dialogue.  The programme also cooperates with other relevant doctoral programmes.

Disciplines in the programme include e.g. archaeology, art history, history, European ethnology, folklore studies, history, theology, and study of religions.

Students can complete a doctoral degree in four years of full-time study. Students can choose to complete their doctoral degree through full-time or part-time study. The degree includes

  • A personal study plan
  • Field-specific studies (30 cr)
  • General transferable skills (10 cr)
  • International mobility, e.g., research cooperation or participation in international conferences
  • A doctoral dissertation

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). 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 for critical thinking
  • Demonstrates profound knowledge of the field of research
  • Demonstrates a good command of and the ability to apply research methods
  • Is scientifically convincing
  • Includes justified results
  • Demonstrates scientific integrity and adheres to the norms of ethical research

PhDs graduating from The Doctoral Programme in History and Cultural Heritage can work as researchers, in demanding expert positions in cultural and art institutions, in ministries, public administration, or the third sector, as well as in the fields of business, education, and the media.

The Doctoral programme invites international guest lecturers and encourages its doctoral students to take part in international conferences and research environments in foreign universities. Internationalization is also an integral part of the doctoral programme's seminars and Summer School, which are organized in Finnish and English, or Finnish, English, and Swedish, and where students get to practise writing and public speaking in different languages. Furthermore, a large part of the programme's doctoral students consists of international students.

The doctoral programme organizes courses also in cooperation with other doctoral programmes, research projects and cultural institutions.

How to apply
Below you’ll find a link to the entry requirements for this programme. The application period to our international programmes is in December every year.

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.

Find out more: