Doctoral Programme in Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences (4 years)

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Degree level
Doctoral degree
Start semester
2019 Autumn
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
2.4.2019 - 15.4.2019

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The Doctoral Programme in Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences provides high quality education for students aiming for either academic or non-academic careers. The doctoral degree is based mainly on scientific research within one of the many research groups of the Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences related research community. After obtaining a PhD from DENVI the student will be able to

  • independently apply scientific research methods in the field of the programme
  • produce new scientific knowledge
  • critically evaluate the existing scientific knowledge
  • collaborate with people from different backgrounds
  • solve scientific, technical and practical problems in the field of the programme
  • follow high ethical principles in your work

All of the teaching and education in the Doctoral Programme in Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences is carried out in English.

The central themes of DENVI are environmental change and sustainable development as well as climate change, land use, and the Baltic Sea and its cathment area. The programme gathers together the essential fields of natural and social sciences, law and humanities that are needed to study the complexity of environmental change and pathways to sustainable development.  DENVI aims to study environmental change from biological processes to environmental governance – seeking solutions for a more sustainable future. DENVI considers environment broadly from natural habitats to built environments.

On DENVI’s interdisciplinary courses the students’ own research is put into a wider perspective. The doctoral programme aims to provide its members with skills for interdisciplinary research and interaction, which are needed to solve complex environmental problems. These are taught on interdisciplinary workshops that take place twice a year. The themes of the workshops are planned so that each DENVI student may participate in at least two workshops during his/her PhD studies. Additionally, DENVI organises an interdisciplinary student symposium which offers students an opportunity to improve their presentation skills, to get feedback from colleagues, and to share academic questions within an interdisciplinary framework to further strengthen the DENVI community.

There are a wide range of majors available to students such as archaeology, aquatic biology, environmental politics and geography.

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 degree requirements are:

  • a personal study plan
  • 30 study credits in the field/research area of the thesis (A & B in the table below)
  • 10 study credits of transferable skills, for example university pedagogy, management and leadership skills, negotiation and planning skills and scientific communication
  • international mobility and activities
  • a thesis
 A) Indepth DENVI thematic courses
DENVI interdisciplinary workshop
DENVI specific courses
DENVI methodological courses
Other relevant courses 
B) Studies supporting the scientific discipline

Research ethics

DENVI orientation

DENVI Annual meeting

Follow-up/thesis committee meetings

Scientific seminar series

International conferences & meetings


Study visit

Research visit

Publications outside the thesis

Book exam

Other relevant courses 

Transferable skills

University pedagogy, teaching, supervision

Presentation and academic writing


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. In the majority of cases, 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
  • be scientifically honest and ethical

PhD graduates from the program are employed in a wide variety of fields such as

  • Research and development (universities, research institutes, companies)
  • Surveillance/monitoring in environment/political areenas
  • Administration, professional roles and consultancy (companies, ministries, supervision offices, EU)
  • Business and management (companies, ministries, supervisory offices, EU)
  • Teaching and education (universities, universities of applied sciences, vocational schools, high schools, comprehensive schools, organisations)

International activities are strongly encouraged and supported the program. The goal is that every student could participate annually in a congress, a course or a short-term research visit abroad. Participation in PhD courses abroad is supported. Longer visits abroad can also be included in the PhD degree.

The Doctoral Programme in Interdisciplinary Environmental Sciences brings together researchers from five faculties along with many departments and institutes at the University of Helsinki.  DENVI collaborates with many doctoral programmes at the University of Helsinki such as FoodHealth, DPPS, LUOVA, AGFOREE, MBDP and ILS. The partners include external research institutions such as HENVI, EVIRA, SYKE, LUKE and also relevant private companies.

Focus areas of the program include

  • environmental ecology
  • aquatic biology
  • social politics
  • geography
  • environmental change and policy
  • archaeology
  • forest ecology
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.

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