Admissions to doctoral studies

The doctoral education system of the University of Helsinki consists of four doctoral schools and 32 doctoral programmes. New doctoral candidates apply for doctoral programme membership at the same time as they apply for postgraduate study rights in one of the faculties.

Before applying, please make sure you have read the University of Helsinki general application instructions for doctoral programmes.

Doctoral candidates in the Doctoral programme in Food Chain and Health (FoodHealth) may complete the following degrees: Doctor of Food Sciences, Doctor of Science (Agriculture and Forestry), Doctor of Veterinary Medicine or Doctor of Philosophy.

FoodHealth’s responsible faculty is the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, and its partner faculty is the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. Please, check which degree is available in the chosen faculty with your background studies. The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry has more specific instructions about its degrees.

FoodHealth has five application periods during the academic year 2020-2021: in September, November, February, April and one in July (only graduates of University of Helsinki).

When to apply?

The next application period is from September 1, 2020 at 09:00 AM EEST until September 15, 2020 at 03:00 PM EEST.

Applicants will be informed of the decisions by November 27, 2020. Those granted a study right must accept them by December 11, 2020. Study rights granted in the September round of applications will begin on January 1, 2021.

During the autumn term 2020 and spring term 2021, the application periods will be:

  • 3–17 November 2020 (beginning of the study right 1.3.2021)
  • 2–16 February 2021 (beginning of the study right 1.5.2021)
  • 1–15 April 2021 (beginning of the study right 1.8.2021)
  • 19–31 July 2021 (only for graduates of University of Helsinki, beginning of the study right 6.9.2021)

Who can apply?

According to the Universities Act (558/2009) section 37 eligible applicants for studies leading to a postgraduate research degree have completed

  • An applicable second-cycle university degree
  • An applicable second-cycle degree from a university of applied sciences, or
  • An applicable education at an institution abroad providing eligibility for equivalent higher education in the country in question

If you have not graduated yet, you need to have your required studies (incl. thesis) completed, graded and registered by the end of the application period. This must be confirmed in a free-of form certificate by an official representative (e.g., Student Services Office) of the university admitting the degree. Applicants who are granted study rights must be able to present a verified copy of their official degree diploma before accepting the offered study place.

Applicants licensed as a healthcare professional by the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health or veterinarians licensed by the Finnish Food Authority who have completed applicable education abroad in their home country equivalent to a second-cycle university degree or a second-cycle degree from a university of applied sciences can be admitted. In addition, applicants who have been admitted to pursue a licentiate degree in medicine and dentistry or a licentiate degree in veterinary medicine at a Finnish university or at a university from EU/EEA country, can also be admitted to pursue a postgraduate research degree.

Pre­par­ing the ap­plic­a­tion

To start with, you should read the University’s general instructions for doctoral applicants where you can find detailed instructions on how to prepare the required documents for your application. Once you are acquainted with those, come back here to read more about the programme-specific selection criteria and instructions for applicants.

Applications, along with the required additional documents, must be submitted by the end of the application period. Applications are submitted using an electronic application form, which closes at 15:00 local Finnish time on the last day of the round of applications. Those applicants who are required to send certified copies of their educational documents by post must make sure that these documents arrive by the end of the application period.

Applications and additional documents sent by email are not accepted. Incomplete applications are not considered.

Ap­plic­a­tion doc­u­ments re­quired by all ap­plic­ants

All applicants wishing to be considered must submit the following documents to the admission services by the end of application period:

Documents required for the application attached as scanned copies:

  • Degree diploma (Master's degree or equivalent and potential Bachelor's degree). This does not apply to applicants who have been accepted to complete, but have not yet completed, a Licentiate of Medicine or Licentiate of Dentistry degree in Faculty of Medicine, any Finnish University.
  • Transcript of records for your previous degree(s) (Master's degree or equivalent and potential Bachelor's degree). Unofficial transcript of records is sufficient for applicants who have been accepted to complete a Licentiate of Medicine or Licentiate of Dentistry degree in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki
  • Verification of language skills / language proficiency test result, unless proven by the Master's degree (see instructions for English, Finnish or Swedish). 
  • Signed supporting statement / commitment by your supervisor(s) and responsible professor / person (see the instructions below: Supervision arrangements) needs to be attached to the application.

Approval for supervisors and members of the thesis committee - form

Please confirm that you have or you have applied for all needed permissions. A permit by an Ethical Review Board and/or by the National Animal Experiment Board, if required by the research arrangement. The permission documents need not to be attached to the application. 

Documents needed as certified hard copies in mail (applicants whose previous degree is not from the University of Helsinki):

  • Certified official copies of your degree diploma, transcript of studies and official translations of these documents (if needed)
  • Language proficiency test result (original) (applicants whose previous degree is not from the University of Helsinki)

The certified copies of additional documents must be delivered to the Admissions Services of the University of Helsinki. For document requirements and instructions on submitting them, please visit the page Eligibility and educational documents.

However, due to the Corona virus situation there is an exceptional deadline for submitting enclosures in the September application round. Please see more details in Admission instructions.

A successful application is formally eligible and scientifically suitable (in quality and in substance) for the doctoral programme. Eligibility is estimated in regards of background degree and included studies, and language proficiency. Only applications meeting the eligibility criteria continue for scientific evaluation in doctoral programmes.

Ap­plic­a­tion form

Applications must be submitted via the online application form. The link for the form can be found in the section ‘Submitting the application’.  Prepare your application carefully, concentrating on the sections below, supervision arrangements and in addition, to the educational documents required to support your application. Please, prepare your application and its documents in good time before the deadline. You may use this checklist to ensure, that you have all the necessary documents.

Sections submitted directly to the application form

1. The research proposal is the most important part of your application. In the electronic application form, the research proposal is divided into the fields listed below. Prepare your research proposal right from the start to fit the different fields and their maximum lengths, so you will not need to start re-editing the proposal when filling in the application form.

The following fields related to the research plan are included in the electronic application form (the number in parentheses indicates the maximum number of characters per field, spaces included). Please note that these instructions are subject to minor changes:

  • Preliminary title of the doctoral thesis
  • Field of research (menu)
  • Specification or additional information on the field of research
  • Language of the dissertation
  • Other language skills needed for completing the doctoral dissertation
  • Brief summary of the research plan (2000)
  • Research plan contains mathematical special characters or chemical formulas (yes or no)
  • Motivation for conducting doctoral research (2000)
  • Rationale for the research project (2000)
  • Objectives of the research and scientific impact of research results (2000)
  • Research methods and materials to be used and its significance for the research project (3500)
  • Preliminary plan on the collection, usage and storage of the research material.  (1500)
  • Ethical issues (1000)
  • Does the research project require animal testing? (Yes or no)
  • The most important literature references for the research plan (2500)
  • Form of the dissertation (an article-based dissertation or a monograph)
  • Publication plan and timetable for the articles or a preliminary outline of the monograph (1000)   
  • Preliminary timetable for your research (2000)   
  • Planned funding for the research project including received and applied notable funding thus far (1000)
  • Estimated year of graduation

2. Previously acquired knowledge supporting the dissertation project (the number in parentheses indicates the maximum number of characters per field, spaces included):

  • Previously acquired research knowledge (1500)
    Previous experience in research work, other scientific work and/or scientific merits, including possible academic awards and other academic acknowledgements.
  • Possible previous publications and conference presentations (1500)
  • Possible international experience and other work experience relevant to your doctoral research (1500)
  • Possible career breaks (1500)
    Here you have the option to list reasons that may have caused delay in your studies (for example: possible family leaves, military or civilian service).

3. A study plan (the number in parentheses indicates the maximum number of characters per field, spaces included):

  • Preliminary study plan: Discipline-specific studies, 30 ECTS (1500)
  • Preliminary study plan: Transferable skills, 10 ECTS (1500)
  • Completed doctoral studies (in ECTS) up to date, if any

Doctoral programme degree structures can be found in WebOodi (Course catalogues – Doctoral Schools and Programmes) or consult the FoodHealth degree structure and requirements to plan your doctoral studies.

4. The title and summary of your Master´s thesis or equivalent (750).

5. Supervision arrangements: supervisors and members of a thesis committee

This doctoral programme requires that you have a supervisor when you submit your application. More information about potential FoodHealth supervisors and their research interests can be found from University of Helsinki Research Portal.

Every applicant needs to have also a responsible professor (a person in charge of studies). Responsible professors/persons in the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. Other faculties: please check from the respective faculty's website.

FoodHealth also requires you to have a thesis committee when applying for the doctoral study right. See also: Instructions how to get a thesis committee.

After finding a potential supervisor, contact him or her to discuss your research ideas and plans. Please note that professors and principal investigators get dozens of emails from potential doctoral candidates. If you want to get your email noticed, you must give the professor/ principal investigator the information they need, quickly, clearly and professionally.

Your supervisors, responsible professors and thesis committee members must commit to support you during your doctoral studies by signing the form below which must be attached to your online application.

If you find it difficult to get signatures for your application due to the corona situation, you can ask the supervisors, responsible professor and thesis committee members to send a confirmation of their support directly to viikki-phd@helsinki.fi.

Approval for supervisors and members of the thesis committee - form (PDF)

The applications, along with the required additional documents, must be submitted by the end of the application period. Applications are submitted using an electronic application form, which closes at 3 PM (Helsinki time) on the last day of the round of applications. Those applicants who are required to send certified copies of the additional documents by post must make sure that these documents arrive by the end of the application period.

Application form (in English)

It is highly recommended that you fill the application in English, or that at least your research plan is written in English. This is because there are non-Finnish speaking members in the FoodHealth board evaluating the applications.

Applications and additional documents sent by email are not accepted. Incomplete applications are not considered.

The certified copies of additional documents must be delivered to the Admissions Services of the University of Helsinki. For instructions on how to submit your documents, please see here.

For further information, please contact phd-admissions(a)helsinki.fi.

If you have technical problems relating to the application form itself, please contact aava-admin(a)helsinki.fi.

Study right applications submitted on 20–31 July 2020 (only  for graduates of University of Helsinki)

Applicants will be informed of the decisions by August 28, 2020. Those granted a study right must accept them by September 11, 2020. Study rights granted in the July round of applications will begin on August 31, 2020.

Study right ap­plic­a­tions sub­mit­ted by 15 Septem­ber 2020

Applicants will be informed of the decisions by November 27, 2020. Those granted a study right must accept them by December 11, 2020. Study rights granted in the September round of applications will begin on January 1, 2021.

Student admissions for doctoral programmes follow the general admissions policies for studies leading to a doctoral degree and clarifications to these policies specific to doctoral programmes. The Doctoral School of Environmental, Food and Biological Sciences has decided the common criteria for all of its doctoral programmes, which have also been confirmed by each Faculty. See the exact criteria of the doctoral programmes of the Doctoral School in Environmental, Food and Biological Sciences (PDF).