Doctoral Programme of Psychology, Learning and Communication (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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Doctoral Programme of Psychology, Learning and Communication (PsyCo) is a multidisciplinary, translational and international doctoral programme. 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 behavioural sciences, 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 in Gender, Culture and Society 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.

The programme is primarily taught in English but offers also some courses taught in Finnish. Students may complete their dissertation in English, Finnish or Swedish.

PsyCo facilitates research conducted within the fields of psychology, cognitive sciences, learning, educational sciences and speech sciences. While not being bound to, it profits from the groundbreaking research work conducted within e.g. the Cognitive Brain Research Unit, Developmental Psychology Research Group, Personality and Well-Being Research Group, Center for Research on Activity, Development and Learning, Cicero Learning, Research Group of Educational Psychology, Traffic Research Unit, Centre for Research and Development of Higher Education and interaction research. The research approach varies from experimental to epidemiological and themes have a broad spectrum varying, for example, from basic research in behavioral neurosciences to human psychological development, personality and physical and mental well-being, learning, learning technology, speech, language, linguistic neuroplasticity, and social interaction.

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 is a consistent scholarly work based on independent research that makes an original contribution to scientific knowledge. Doctoral students present the progress of their dissertation in a research seminar in their field. Doctoral students plan the research for their dissertation and its schedule together with their supervisor(s).

 After completing a doctoral dissertation, doctoral candidates will

  • have a profound understanding of their specialisation and extensive knowledge of their field 
  • be able to apply scientific research methods critically and independently, and contribute to scientific knowledge
  • be able to master wide-ranging subject areas, analyse them consistently and from various perspectives, as well as make conclusions that provide new scientific knowledge
  • be able to report on research results in a clear, consistent and interesting manner
  • have the ability to control projects with limited timeframes and topics as well as reach set goals

The objective of the doctoral programme is to help doctoral students gain extensive knowledge in and competence for conducting research, focusing on a specific research topic. The programme graduates are experts and independent researchers in their field. In addition to research positions, they find employment in different social sectors. They are pioneers who build the future and have the potential to increase the cultural and social capital of society at large. Graduates from the programme work as teaching and research staff in universities and serve in different education and expert positions in the field of health care and social services.

The doctoral degree from the Doctoral Programme of Psychology, Learning and Communication (PsyCo) includes a compulsory course in international scientific activities (3-5 cr). Students may complete the course by, for example, delivering a presentation at an international conference abroad or in Finland, completing a researcher exchange at a foreign university or teaching internationally. The doctoral programme offers a travel grant to doctoral students who attend conferences abroad. Students also learn about international trends and practices in their field by attending the lectures and courses of the doctoral programme’s international researcher guests. All the described activities are intended to help doctoral students establish networks in the international scientific community.

Because the PsyCo doctoral programme admits students from both the Faculty of Educational Sciences, the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Arts, the programme involves close cooperation between two campuses. PsyCo has extensive contacts with research-intensive universities and research institutes both nationally and internationally. The research communities involved with PsyCo have experience in offering international courses for doctoral students, the most recent example being the “winter school” organised in cooperation with the Estonian Doctoral School of Educational Sciences in January 2017.

Brain activity, cognition and communication, Learning and interaction, Mental development and well-being

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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