Doctoral Programme in Particle (4 years) Physics and Universe 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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Graduates from Doctoral Programme in Particle Physics and Universe Sciences (PAPU) 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; and understanding of scientific ethics.

A specialty in the PAPU doctoral programme is the intense collaboration with large scientific research collaborations such as ESA, ESO and CERN. Work in this multidisciplinary research develops doctoral students' organizational skills and provides an excellent competence for independent work and multidisciplinary cooperation.

The teaching language in PAPU is English.

Doctoral programme in Particle Physics and Universe Sciences (PAPU) covers theoretical, experimental and observational research fields in elementary particle physics, cosmology, astrophysics, space physics, and planetary astrophysics. The programme provides high quality doctoral education much appreciated in both academic and business contexts. Doctoral students benefit from strong scientific environment both in Helsinki and at a world-class laboratory like CERN, as well as from the best international infrastructures in astronomy and space physics with e.g. ESA and ESO. Students carry out their research projects within the Department of Physics, the Helsinki Institute of Physics, the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute.
Doctoral studies consist of courses of elementary particle physics, cosmology, astrophysics, space physics, or planetary astrophysics, as well as of courses and seminars supporting the thesis work and developing expertise of the student. The doctoral programme organizes for all doctoral students seminars, intensive courses and special lectures (typically given by visiting experts).International contacts are encouraged and supported for all doctoral candidates in the form of research/study visits, participation in courses as well as conferences and meetings abroad.

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

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 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:

  • in the Academy, both in teaching and in research
  • as experts in government research institutes (the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the National Land Survey of Finland, the Academy of Finland)
  • in various duties in the business sector, in particular in research and expert duties

In the Doctoral programme in Particle Physics and Universe Sciences, students can enter a truly international research environment. Research groups have active international connections, and visits both abroad and to Finland are frequent. The articles included in students’ dissertations are published in internationally prestigious journals.

All doctoral students admitted to the programme have opportunities to present their research results at international conferences regardless of their funding situation. PAPU also offers financial support for doctoral students to perform a part of the doctoral studies abroad or to participate in international intensive courses or other events abroad.

The students admitted to the Doctoral Programme  in Particle Physics and Universe Sciences have excellent opportunities for close cooperation, including long research visits, with foreign universities and international research institutes (e.g. CERN, ESA, ESO).

The Doctoral Programme in Particle Physics and Universe Sciences carries out internationally cutting-edge research in in the following areas: experimental and theoretical particle physics, theoretical and observational cosmology, astrophysics, space physics, and physics of the solar system (including effects of solar activity).

  • Experimental particle physics research includes participation in activities of large international research centres, in particular CERN.
  • Theoretical particle physics research is focused on the structure of theories and in particle physics phenomenology.
  • The theoretical cosmology group focuses on the characteristics of the early Universe, and in particular on inflation models, dark energy, string theories, and temperature fluctuations of cosmic microwave background.
  • The observational cosmology group participates in the European Space Agency's (ESA) Planck Surveyor Mission and Euclid experiments.
  • Research subjects of astronomy range from galaxy formation and development to star formation and activity as well as to planetary astrophysics.
  • In the field of space physics, research is focused on space plasma physics and space weather.
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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