Doctoral education

The Faculty of Law offers two programmes leading to postgraduate degrees: a scientific doctoral degree programme and a professionally oriented Licentiate degree programme. The doctoral education offered by the Faculty of Law is organised in the Doctoral Programme in Law.
Completing a doctoral degree

The Doctoral Programme in Law provides high-quality education and an excellent environment for doctoral education in various fields of legal science and law.

The objectives of the Doctoral Programme in Law are

  • to help students become profoundly familiar with their research field and its social significance
  • to learn to apply scientific research methods critically and independently, as well as to contribute to scientific knowledge within their field
  • to familiarise students with the historical development, fundamental issues and research methods of their field
  • to help them acquire sufficient understanding of general scientific theory and the disciplines related to their research field so that they can follow future developments, as well as to enable them to influence development in their field through their own research.

Doctoral researchers must complete the postgraduate studies, demonstrate independent and critical thinking in their field of research, and compose a doctoral dissertation and defend it publicly. A doctoral researcher can complete a research-oriented Licentiate degree once he or she has completed the postgraduate studies determined by the University. The target duration for the doctoral degree is four years of full-time studies. For part-time students, the target duration for completing the doctoral degree is calculated so as to correspond to that of four years of full-time study.

The degree of Doctor of Laws is the primary third-cycle degree for students striving towards a research career and for others in need of a research education. Doctoral researchers working towards a doctoral degree may complete the research-oriented Licentiate degree either as an intermediate degree on a path to the doctoral degree or as an independent degree.

Structure of doctoral degree

The degree programme comprises a compulsory theoretical and methodological part common to all students, field-specific studies, as well as studies offered by the doctoral school and the doctoral programme.

During the first two years, students develop their theoretical and methodological skills, acquaint themselves with the research theme and with information relevant to their major subject, as well as gain further competence in practical subjects and research ethics. Networking, collaboration and connections with relevant research environments in both Finland and abroad are emphasised at this stage. During the third and fourth years of studies, students focus on their dissertation and related research. They also attend courses and participate in other education, if required.


More information on applying for a doctoral study right is available in the University's general instructions for applicants as well as on website of the Doctoral Programme in Law.


Study guidance

The Faculty’s Committee for Research and Research Education along with the steering committee of the Doctoral Programme in Law are in charge of planning and organising postgraduate training and issuing necessary instructions at the Faculty level.