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

The doctoral education system of the University of Helsinki consists of four doctoral schools and 32 doctoral programmes. All doctoral candidates must belong to a doctoral programme. New doctoral candidates apply for the right to pursue a doctoral degree from their chosen doctoral programme. Make sure you are eligible for doctoral studies before applying!
The main rule of eligibility is that you must hold either a Finnish Master’s degree or a foreign degree that is roughly comparable to a Finnish Master’s degree. A foreign degree is, as a rule, considered comparable when it makes you eligible to apply for doctoral studies in the country where you have completed the degree.

General guidelines on doctoral admissions in the University of Helsinki:

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.

The purpose of student selection is to assess the motivation, commitment and aptitude of the applicants for studies. The right to complete a doctoral degree is granted on the basis of diplomas, certificates and other documents. The admission criteria include previous academic performance, the applicable content of previous studies to the prospective doctoral programme, the study plan and the research proposal.


The applications from April 2019 period:
Applicants will be informed of the decisions by June 14, 2019. Those granted a study right must accept it by June 28, 2019. Study rights granted in the autumn round of applications will begin on August 1, 2019.


The next application period is from September 3, 2019 09:00 AM EEST until September 17, 2019 03:00 PM EEST.

Applicants will be informed of the decisions by November 29, 2019. Those granted a study right must accept it by December 13, 2019. Study rights granted in the autumn round of applications will begin on January 1, 2020.

This website will be updated in the end of June 2019.



Apply for doctoral education (including information regarding language requirements)
Eligibility and educational documents
Application process
Selection criteria for doctoral studies in LUOVA


Applications must be submitted via the online application form. Please read carefully all the criteria before applying. All the applications, which do not fulfill the guidelines and criteria, will be rejected.

Prepare your application carefully, concentrating on the three sections below in addition to the educational documents required to support your application.

  • Find a supervisor: In many ways, the most important person in the whole process of obtaining a doctoral degree is your supervisor. He or she will supervise your research and guide you through your studies. Applications to LUOVA require that you have a supervisor when you submit your application. An extensive list of LUOVA supervisors can be found from the University of Helsinki research database. 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.
  • Write a research plan: this should be written IN ENGLISH directly into the application form. Check the guidelines of the research plan and the required application documents for further information.
    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):

    - Preliminary title of the doctoral thesis
    - Field of research
    - 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
    - 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 (2000)
    - Research material to be used and its significance for the research project (1500)
    - 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 research literature references for the research plan (2500)
    - Form of the dissertation (an article-based dissertation or a monograph)
    - Publication plan (including a preliminary outline of the monograph) (1000)
    - Preliminary timetable and funding plan of your research (2000)
    - Grants and/or funded doctoral candidate positions applied / received thus far. (500)
    - I am planning to research: full-time / part-time
    - Estimated year of graduation

  • Compose a study plan: consult the LUOVA degree structure and requirements to plan your doctoral studies.

Documents to be attached to your electronic application form:

  • Copies of your previous degree certificate(s) (Master's degree or equivalent and potential Bachelor's degree)

  • Transcript of records for your previous degree(s) (Master's degree or equivalent and potential Bachelor's degree)

  • Certificate of language proficiency from a language test rather than through your educational background. NOTE! This document must also be sent in paper form to Admissions Services AND must arrive by the application deadline. Instructions for English, Finnish or Swedish language proficiency.

  • A permit by an Ethical Review Board and/or by the National Animal Experiment Board, if required by the research arrangement

  • A signed letter of commitment from your supervisor(s), the responsible professor as well as the proposed members of your thesis committee

Documents (the detailed instructions here) to be sent by post to Admissions Services for applicants whose previous degree is not from the University of Helsinki and for applicants proving language proficiency with a language test:

  • An officially certified copy of your previous degree certificate (Master's degree or equivalent)

  • An official transcript of studies included in the Master's degree (or equivalent)

  • Certificate of language proficiency from a language test

Submitting the application

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.

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 admissions[at]

Application form (open only during each call)

Decision-making and informing the results

When selecting students for doctoral education, it must be ensured that the admitted students have access to high-quality supervision and support related to the topic of their doctoral dissertation. Applications can be rejected if no suitable supervisor can be designated for the dissertation.

The doctoral programme's board assesses all applications to the programme that meet the formal requirements. The board draws up an admission proposal indicating the names of the admitted and rejected applicants, together with the reasons for each decision. The final decision is made by the degree-awarding faculty.

Applicants will be informed of the admission results, including the reasons for them by a letter of acceptance, to be sent by e-mail to the address given in the application. Admitted applicants must report whether they accept the offer by a specified deadline. Those who fail to report whether they accept the offer or to submit the requested documents by the deadline will lose their place.

The so-called one place rule has extended to cover all education leading to a university degree, including doctoral and licentiate degrees. The rule of one study place per term concerns all degree programme application options.
The main points are:

  • If you are offered more than one study place at a higher education institution leading to a university degree starting at the same term, you may accept only one of them
  • A place of study granted through a university-to-university transfer within Finland is not governed by this rule.
  • Accordingly, you may be completing several on-going degree programmes simultaneously, but only if your admission to these programmes has been granted in different terms.

Applicants dissatisfied with admissions decisions may appeal in writing to the faculty council or a body appointed by it within 14 days of the announcement of the admission results. Should you receive a decision rejecting your application, it will be accompanied by information on the appeals procedure.

For further information, please contact the University of Helsinki PhD-Admission Services, phd-admissions(at)