Employment as a doctoral candidate

The call for doctoral candidate positions starting in 2021 will be open from 1-15 September 2020.

Other ways of funding a PhD project is a salary paid by the supervisor or a personal grant from a private foundation applied by the doctoral candidate him/herself. Doctoral candidates may also fund their studies themselves or pursue their degree in tandem with work.

More information about funding at www.helsinki.fi/en/research/doctoral-education/funding

The University of Helsinki (UH) annually allocates funding to doctoral programmes for salaried positions (employment contract). These doctoral candidate positions are designated as full-time work. The aim is that doctoral candidates employed by the University will pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree, which should be completed within four years. 

In 2020, the application period for salaried positions is 1–15 September. The call for applications, published on the open positions page of the University of Helsinki, includes further details on the employment relationship. Both current University of Helsinki doctoral candidates and new applicants planning doctoral studies are eligible to apply for these positions.  

The right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree can be applied for at the same time as a salaried position. 

Please read the application instructions below carefully. If you are also planning to apply for the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree, remember to read the application process in a nutshell.

Employment contracts for salaried positions in doctoral programmes 

Salaried doctoral candidate positions are aimed at enabling full-time work on dissertations and postgraduate studies, with the goal of completing a doctoral degree in four years. The exact duration of employment, its’ start and end dates are determined in the employment contract. 

The salary and other further details concerning the employment relationship are available in the call for applications

Who is eligible to apply for a salaried position in a doctoral programme?  

You can apply for a salaried position in a doctoral programme if you are currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Helsinki or are planning to pursue a doctoral degree. 

If you already have post-graduate study rights at the University of Helsinki, you can apply for a salaried position, provided you have not yet spent a total of four years with a UH funded salaried doctoral candidate salary. 

If you do not yet have the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree, you may apply for post-graduate study rights on the same application form as the salaried positions. In this case, please read carefully the application process in a nutshell.

Applying for a salaried position 

Applications for a salaried position in a doctoral programme are submitted by completing an electronic form and enclosing the required attachments. 

If you already have the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki and you are applying for a salaried position in your doctoral programme:  

  • Read the application instructions regarding salaried positions
  • Complete the electronic application form 

If you do not yet have the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, you must apply for the right at the same time as you apply for a salaried position or in the spring at the latest . Please note that this may result in your employment beginning later than 1 January 2021. According to the guidelines of the University of Helsinki, individuals recruited to salaried doctoral candidate positions must receive post-graduate study rights within the six-month trial period of the position. 

If you are applying for the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree at the same time as applying for a salaried position:  

  • Read the application instructions regarding salaried positions
  • Read the instructions regarding applying for the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree 
  • Complete the electronic application form 
  • Submit the required attachments (degree diploma, transcript of studies, proof of language proficiency) 

If you already have the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, you may apply for a salaried position from another doctoral programme that suits your research profile. If you receive a salaried position from another doctoral programme, you will need to change your doctoral programme. Please note that you may need to reapply for post-graduate study rights if your faculty or target degree change in relation to an awarded salaried position. This application should be made in the spring at the latest, but please note that this may affect the start date of your potential employment. 

If you are applying for a salaried position in more than one doctoral programme, please complete a separate application form for each one. 

Similarly, if you are applying for the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree from more than one faculty, please complete a separate application form for each one. 

Further information on applying for a salaried position and the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree can be found from the doctoral programme web pages

Application form

The application form calls for information on your research and study plan, skills that support writing a doctoral dissertation, the title and abstract of your master’s thesis, as well as details on your supervisory arrangements (in the case of certain doctoral programmes). 

The research plan is the most important part of your application, and it must be entered into the specified fields in the application form, divided into the sections described below. Please prepare your research plan according to this division and the maximum number of characters including spaces for each section. More specific information can be found below and the application form is open for approximately two weeks before the call.

The application form sections concerning the research plan (maximum number of characters including spaces in parentheses): 

  • Preliminary title of the doctoral thesis 
  • Field of research (menu) 
  • Specification or additional information on the field of research (unrestricted text field) 
  • Brief summary of the research plan (2,000) 
  • Research plan contains mathematical special characters or chemical formulas 
  • Motivation for conducting doctoral research (2,000) 
  • Rationale for the research project (2,000) 
  • Objectives of the research and scientific impact of research results (2,000) 
  • Research methods and materials to be used and its significance for the research project (3,500) 
  • Preliminary plan on the collection, use and storage of research material (1,500) 
  • Ethical issues (1,000) 
  • Does the research project require animal testing 
  • The most important literature references for the research plan (2,500) 
  • Form of the dissertation (article-based or monograph) 
  • Publication plan and timetable for the articles or a preliminary outline of the monograph (1,000) 
  • Preliminary timetable of your research (2,000) 
  • Planned funding for the research project including received and applied notable funding thus far (1,000) 
  • Estimated year of graduation 

Previously acquired knowledge supporting the dissertation project and study plan (maximum number of characters, including spaces in parentheses): 

  • Previously acquired research knowledge (1,500) 
  • Possible previous publications and conference presentations (1,500) 
  • Possible international experience and other work experience relevant to your doctoral research (1,500) 
  • Possible career breaks (1,500) 

Preliminary study plan (maximum number of characters, including spaces in parentheses) 

  • Preliminary study plan: Discipline-specific studies, 30 ECTS (1,500) 
  • Preliminary study plan: Transferable skills, 10 ECTS (1,500) 
  • Previously completed studies applicable to your doctoral degree, if any 
  • Title and abstract of the master’s thesis or equivalent (750) 
  • Supervisory arrangements: supervisor(s) and thesis committee (see doctoral programme-specific instructions below) 

Assessment of applications and decisions 

Salaried position applications are assessed based on the quality of the research and study plans, abilities and motivation of the applicant as demonstrated in conjunction with completing a previous degree or in another manner, as well as supervisory arrangements or their availability. The topic of the research plan must suit the profile of the doctoral programme. Interviews for short-listed applicants may be arranged. 

The board of the doctoral programme makes a proposal regarding appointment of doctoral candidate salaried positions. The director of the relevant employment unit makes the final decision on the appointments. 

If you are offered a salaried position, you must receive the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree in the relevant doctoral programme within the six-month trial period. 

All applicants will be personally notified of the decisions, and the names of appointees will be published on the doctoral programme websites. 

Please note that applications for the right to pursue a post-graduate doctoral degree are processed according to a different schedule by the responsible Faculty. The relevant faculty makes decisions regarding study rights and applicants are personally notified in a separate notification to salary positions. 

Please apply for a position using the electronic application form for salaried positions. The application period will be open from 1 September 2020 and closes on 15 September 2020 at 15.00 (local Helsinki time).  

If you are unable to find an answer to a question in these instructions, please check the Frequently asked questions. Further information can be requested by writing to phd-positions(at)helsinki.fi . 

DENVI offers the following salary positions from 1.1.2021:

  • 2 positions for 4 years

Applicants must have completed their Master's degree by the end of the application period
AND either have active post-graduate study rights at the Univeristy of Helsinki OR are applying for post-graduate study rights in the September 2020 admissions call.

Applications must be submitted IN ENGLISH.

It is recommended that all applicants have two supervisors and thesis committee members must be named at the application stage.

Interviews for selected applicants will be held on Monday 2nd November from 1300-1600. Interview invitations will be sent via email approximately 10 days before the interviews. Final decisions will be announced in mid-November and be available on the doctoral programme’s web pages by the beginning of December 2020.

Travel grants are intended to support doctoral candidates’ foreign and domestic travel for academic purposes (doctoral courses, learning in other research groups or participating in scientific conferences, seminars or workshops).  All doctoral candidates belonging to a doctoral programme at the YEB doctoral school may apply for travel grants.

More information on travel grants