Doc­toral Pro­gramme in Polit­ical, So­ci­etal and Re­gional Change

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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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Programme

The educational objective of the doctoral programme is to produce very profound field-specific and multidisciplinary competence on social changes for both researchers and experts. The education offered by the doctoral programme relies on a quality learning environment intended to support the doctoral students’ original scientific thinking as well as their growth into knowledge work experts in the field of societal changes. Over the course of the programme, doctoral students improve their critical thinking, argumentation and problem-solving skills. The studies also enhance doctoral students’ identity as researchers and experts as well as their ability for self-direction.

By creating contacts with the research community in Finland and abroad, doctoral students improve their communication, management and negotiation skills. The programme encourages doctoral students to make use of different forms of peer support and participate in teaching, guidance and other expert duties in the University community.

After completing their doctoral degree, students will have very profound knowledge of the nature of social sciences and the key theories, concepts, research methods and central themes of their field. They will have the competence to generate theoretically and socially relevant new knowledge. They will be able to shed light on the relationship between theory and practice in the field of social phenomena and to apply their learning in practice. They have a profound understanding of societal changes, including causes and consequences and related sustainability challenges.

Graduates from the doctoral programme have extensive scientific communication skills. Their written and oral communication skills help them perform demanding, multidisciplinary research and serve as experts in Finland and internationally. Graduates from the programme have excellent competence for independent work and multidisciplinary cooperation in extremely demanding knowledge-intensive positions that require social sciences expertise.

Doctoral courses are primarily taught in English but there are some courses taught in Finnish. Students may complete their dissertation in English, Finnish or Swedish.

Programme learning environment

The Doctoral Programme in Political, Societal and Regional Change is a multidisciplinary programme in social sciences coordinated by the Faculty of Social Sciences. Disciplines from the Faculty of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry of the University of Helsinki participate in the doctoral programme. The participating disciplines from the Faculty of Social Sciences are development studies, political history, economic and social history and political science. The participating discipline from the Faculty of Arts is area and cultural studies. The participating discipline from the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry is consumer economics. The programme also includes the following inter-faculty research units: the Centre for Nordic Studies, the Network for European Studies and the Aleksanteri Institute.

The disciplines included in the doctoral programme offer field-specific teaching and supervision to PSRC students. The doctoral programme provides an extensive, interdisciplinary operating environment to support doctoral students and their supervisors as well as tools for productive cooperation between disciplines and research communities. The programme annually organises courses, seminars and other events open to everyone registered in the programme. International researchers and the doctoral programme’s own experts teach at various programme events. Also, an annual conference brings all PSRC doctoral students together and offers them a venue for presenting their research. The key speakers at this conference are international experts in the field.

Scientific profile:

The research areas of the doctoral programme make comprehensive use of the approaches, theories and research methods of the social sciences and humanities. The scientific strengths of the programme include the study of national and international political systems, civil society mobilisation, organisations, governance systems, decision-making, global politics, political economics, development issues, societal and environmental issues, sustainability science, long-term economic development, economic institutions, economic policy, Nordic society, social microstructures and consumption as well as European studies, Russian and Eurasian studies, multidisciplinary area study modules and the examination of the philosophical and theoretical starting points of multidisciplinary research methods. The programme also combines other social sciences and interdisciplinary sustainability science with the historical research of social change over time.

The programme has established cooperation networks with similar national and international researcher education systems. The participating research areas cooperate through their own networks and partnerships. The programme includes units in charge of coordinating nationally significant research and education cooperation, such as the Centre for Nordic Studies (CENS) at the Department of World Cultures, the Network for European Studies (NES) at the Department of Political and Economic Studies and the Finnish-Russian Network for Russian and Eurasian Studies in Social Sciences (FRRESH) of the Aleksanteri Institute.

The doctoral programme is very significant in implementing national education responsibilities in its fields. The programme includes nationally unique fields of education and research units based at the University of Helsinki, such as development studies, economic and social history, consumer economics and area and cultural studies. Even though political science and political history studies are also available elsewhere in Finland, the degree programmes and research units of the University of Helsinki are nationally significant due to their diversity, scope and international visibility.

The fields included in the programme form an internationally prominent training scheme. The programme profile is attractive to postgraduate students who seek a research environment that breaks down the formal boundaries between disciplines.  By combining strong field-specific competence with a new interdisciplinary approach, the programme offers opportunities for developing a comprehensive understanding of society and culture and extensively improving one’s expertise and competence as a researcher.

The working environment

The students admitted to the doctoral programme work independently and in research groups.  They conduct both theoretical and empirical research.

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), including research ethics
  • General competence studies (10 cr), e.g. university pedagogy, leadership, management, negotiation and project skills and scientific communication
  • 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

The programme offers diverse career opportunities from demanding academic research and teaching duties to challenging expert positions in the public sector, national and international organisations, businesses, think tanks and non-governmental organisations. Many of our graduates work as researchers, journalists, public officials and consultants, and serve in different positions in the field of research, teaching, communications and consulting. Employers appreciate extensive, multidisciplinary expertise, profound analytical skills and the methodological resources to understand social phenomena and political, economic and societal changes around the world.

Graduates from the doctoral programme work in different universities, research institutes, ministries, government research institutes, national and international organisations, think tanks, non-governmental organisations and the media, and perform varying teaching, consulting and development duties.

The doctoral degree in The Doctoral Programme in Polit­ical, So­ci­etal and Re­gional Change includes 1-5 ECTS credits of internalization, which can consist of a presentation in an international conference or congress, participation in international summer school, conference or congress. It is also possible to participate in a research exchange as a doctoral student or as a visiting teacher. The programme awards travel grants for conference trips abroad and for other travelling related to the dissertation work. Lectures and courses by international guest lecturers also familiarize doctoral students with the international practises in the discipline and help them build international networks. In addition, disciplines in the doctoral programme have their own international cooperation networks.

The doctoral programme organizes courses also in cooperation with other doctoral programmes, research projects and cultural institutions. The Doctoral Programme in Political, Societal and Regional Change includes the following multidisciplinary research units crossing various faculties and departments: Centre for Nordic Studies (CENS) and Network for European Studies (NES), and Aleksanteri Institute.

The research areas of the doctoral programme make comprehensive use of the approaches, theories and research methods of the social sciences and humanities. The scientific strengths of the programme include the study of national and international political systems, civil society mobilisation, organisations, governance systems, decision-making, global politics, political economics, development issues, societal and environmental issues, sustainability science, long-term economic development, economic institutions, economic policy, Nordic society, social microstructures and consumption as well as European studies, Russian and Eurasian studies, multidisciplinary area study modules and the examination of the philosophical and theoretical starting points of multidisciplinary research methods. The programme also combines other social sciences and interdisciplinary sustainability science with the historical research of social change over time.

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.
Faculties

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: www.helsinki.fi/en/research/doctoral-education