Postgraduate studies and the application process

Postgraduate education mainly aims at the completion of a Doctoral degree, but postgraduate students may also pursue a Licentiate degree. Postgraduate degrees available at the Faculty of Social Sciences include the Licentiate of Social Sciences and Doctor of Social Sciences.

The Faculty of Social Sciences coordinates three doctoral programmes: the Doctoral Programme in Economics, the Doctoral Programme in Political, Societal and Regional Changes and the Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences.

Student admission to the doctoral programmes coordinated by the Faculty of Social Sciences is based on the University’s general admission guidelines for doctoral education as well as the programme-specific specifications.

Criteria for admission to postgraduate education:

  • Appropriate performance in previous studies and their suitability to serve as the foundation of the prospective doctoral degree.
  • The quality of the research plan and the links between the planned dissertation research and the research conducted in the doctoral programme.
  • Availability of supervision and related resources: as a rule, the person who agrees to serve as the supervisor can simultaneously supervise no more than six students who are completing their postgraduate degree in a way that is equivalent to full-time studying.

The following additional criteria have been confirmed for admission to doctoral education in the specific doctoral programmes.

  • Doctoral Programme in Economics DPE:

    1. Appropriate performance in previous studies, such as Master’s studies in economics completed with the grade of Good (or equivalent) or higher; the grade of the thesis written for the previous degree must usually be magna cum laude (or equivalent); as well as the suitability of previous studies to serve as the foundation of the prospective doctoral degree, such as the knowledge and skills provided by the study track in economics research in the Master’s Programme in Economics at the University of Helsinki.
    2. Knowledge corresponding to that provided by basic studies (25 credits) in mathematics and statistics.
    3. An English-language study plan indicating the foundation courses to be completed, including any supplementary studies as well as special courses and their timetable.
    4. The quality of the English-language research plan and the links between the planned dissertation research and the research conducted in the doctoral programme; the research plan must follow the format and scope of research plans defined at the University level.

  • Doctoral Programme in Political, Societal and Regional Changes, PSRC:
    1. Appropriate performance in previous studies; the grade of the thesis written for the previous degree must usually be magna cum laude (or equivalent) or higher; as well as the suitability of previous studies to serve as the foundation of the prospective doctoral degree.                      
    2. The quality of the research plan and the links between the planned dissertation research and the research conducted in the doctoral programme; the research plan must follow the format and scope of research plans defined at the University level
  • Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences:
    Please, see the criteria of the Faculty above.

Process of evaluation of applications and decision-making in the Faculty of Social Sciences

Applications that meet the formal eligibility requirements will be submitted for a scholarly assessment by supervisors in the doctoral programme. The Faculty's Doctoral Education Committee makes the final decision on granting the right to complete a degree based on a proposal by the steering group of the doctoral programme.

In conjunction with admission, the doctoral programme and the title of the doctoral degree to be pursued will be confirmed, and the student will be assigned at least two supervisors who have completed a doctoral degree and of whom at least one has a permanent or long-term employment contract with the Faculty in which the student will pursue the doctoral degree. In addition, each student will be assigned a supervising professor, who may also serve as one of the dissertation supervisors.

The right to complete a doctoral degree is granted for a doctoral programme. Applications can be submitted twice a year. In 2019 Spring term, the application deadline is 15 April 2019. Decisions will by announced via e-mail on 14 June 2019 at the latest, and the potentially offered study place must be accepted by 28 June 2019.

Applications can be submitted within two weeks of the application deadline  - so please, check practical instructions carefully closer to the deadline. The application form is electronic, and the required documents must be submitted as attachments to it. Official copies of diplomas and certificates must be submitted also by mail to the Admission Services by the application deadline.

These instructions apply to applications for the right to complete a doctoral degree within a specific doctoral programme, not to applications for salaried doctoral student positions or other funding.

Before submitting an application, applicants must contact teachers in the suitable field of science to receive instructions concerning the suitability of their research proposal for supervisory and research profile in the  field of science (no supervisory assistance can otherwise be offered for the research proposal). Teachers’ email addresses can be found under each doctoral programme supervision information. Email messages sent to teachers must be accompanied by a preliminary research proposal (max. 5 pages).

For the criteria of admission, please see the section above, Eligibility for postgraduate studies.

How to submit an application? The instructions are found in the website of each doctoral programme:

Doctoral Programme in Economics

Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences

Doctoral Programme in Political, Societal and Regional Changes

CONTACT DETAILS

You can contact the Faculty’s education planning officer if you have questions about the following: 
 

  • Admission to postgraduate studies
  •  Postgraduate degree requirements
  • Doctoral dissertations and Licentiate theses
  • Postgraduate study monitoring and readmission  

Contact be e-mail: valt-postgrad@helsinki.fi 

The progress of postgraduate students is monitored regularly. Each year, students who received their right to study six years earlier are screened. They are selected from the Student Register in January, and the University sends them an email on progress monitoring in February. Students selected for monitoring must submit an acceptable report to the Faculty to be able to register for attendance for the following academic year.

Based on the monitoring, students will be granted a three-year extension to their right to study, if necessary. Students who repeatedly request an extension must also submit updated plans to the Faculty according to the instructions given. No separate reminder of the conclusion of the extension is sent, but rather postgraduate students themselves must ensure that they submit the report by the deadline.

N.B. Postgraduate students can complete their degree according to the old degree structure (60 cr and dissertation) by 31 July 2020. From 1 August 2020 onwards all students are transferred to the new degree structure (40 cr and dissertation, further information is available in the WebOodi course catalogue).

REQUIREMENTS

Monitored students must submit a two-part monitoring report to the Faculty’s education planning officer by the deadline of 15 April 2019:

  • An electronic form, accompanied by the following plans:
  • A postgraduate study plan (max. 1 page); must include a plan and timetable for the completion of the remaining studies. This plan is not necessary if all the doctoral studies are already completed.
  • A research proposal; must comply with the instructions provided to postgraduate applicants. The recommended length of a proposal created for monitoring purposes is at most five pages.

PROCESSING OF MONITORING REPORTS

The Faculty will send the submitted plans and proposals to the disciplines for review. The Faculty’s postgraduate admissions board will decide on the approval of plans and proposals. All students who submitted a plan and a proposal will be informed of the decision by email in June 2019 at the latest. Approved plans and proposals will be valid for three years. Students whose plans or proposals are not approved can register as non-attending at the University.

EXCEPTIONS

For technical reasons, a monitoring letter is also sent to students who are about to complete their postgraduate degree, or who have submitted their doctoral dissertation for preliminary examination or Licentiate thesis for examination. This letter requires no action on the part of such students. While the Faculty may compile a list of such students, they are nevertheless requested to contact educational planning officer to avoid any doubt.

The registration block is always lifted if the monitored student submits or has submitted to the Faculty his or her dissertation for preliminary examination or Licentiate thesis for examination.

QUERIES

For queries concerning the content of the requested plans, please contact your supervisor.

General and administration questions about the monitoring procedure: valt-postgrad@helsinki.fi

WHAT IF I HAVE NOT RECEIVED A LETTER?

Monitored students do not always receive a letter. This may occur for two reasons: they have not updated their address details or they have forgotten to register for attendance or non-attendance. If you did not receive information about monitoring in time, you can still submit your study plan to the Faculty.

Students who have previously been granted an extension will not receive a separate reminder letter when the extension is about to end.

GRANTING A NEW EXTENSION

A new extension can be granted if the applicant can demonstrate that his or her research clearly progressed during the previous period.