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.
All doctoral candidates in the Doctoral Programme in Biomedicine complete their doctoral degree in the Faculties of Medicine, Pharmacy or Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki. There are two application periods per academic year, one during the spring term and one during the autumn term. If you are interested in doctoral training, please familiarise yourself with the application guidelines well before the next application period. A carefully prepared application is the first step towards the doctoral degree.
When to apply?
The application periods in the academic year 2019 are 3.-17.9.2019 and 4.-18.2.2020. A schedule for admission results: "The application process in a nutshell".
Timetable for the decisions, deadlines for accepting the offer and default dates for the beginning of the study right:
Letters of acceptance to be sent by
Deadline for accepting the offer
The study right begins
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
- In addition, applicants who have been accepted to complete a Licentiate of Medicine or Licentiate of Dentistry degree in the Faculty of Medicine at the Finnish university, are eligible to apply.
An applicant may also be admitted to pursue a postgraduate research degree if the university finds him or her to have otherwise obtained the required knowledge and skills.
Admission criteria in the doctoral programmes DocPop, DPBM, FINDOS AND KLTO
- Motivation and previous knowledge (e.g. CV or equivalent) of the applicant, success in previous studies
- Demonstration of adequate knowledge in relevant fields and potential of the applicant to develop into an independent researcher
- Scientific relevance and ambition of the research plan, use of relevant methodology
- Thematic fit of the research plan with the doctoral programme profile
- Funding plan and feasibility of the thesis project within the intended timeframe (net time 4 years)
- Supervisory* and follow-up of progress arrangements, quality of the research environment
* A doctoral candidate must have 1-3 thesis supervisors with doctorate degrees. At least one of the supervisors must in addition hold the title of docent or have equivalent academic qualifications. The application must be supplemented with a supporting statement signed by the proposed thesis supervisor/supervisors.
In addition, the doctoral programmes reserve the right to administer an entrance examination and/or interview.
Preparing the application
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 (EEST) 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.
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), Thesis committee members and person in charge of the discipline (item 5, the list shows Faculty of Medicine professors) needs to be attached to the application.
Make sure 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 instructions on how to submit your documents, please visit the page Where to submit documents.
Electronic application (form open during the application period)
Applications must be submitted via the online application form. The link of the form is 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.
The application form can be completed in Finnish, Swedish or English.
1. A 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 do 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):
- 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
- 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
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. Please acquaint yourself with the doctoral programme’s degree requirements before drawing up your study plan.
- Preliminary study plan: Substance-specific studies, 30 cr (1500)
- Preliminary study plan: Transferrable skills studies, 10 cr (1500)
- Completed doctoral studies (in ECTS) up to date, if any
4. The title and summary of your Master´s thesis or equivalent (750).
5. Supervision arrangements: supervisors and members of a thesis committee
The doctoral programmes require that each applicant must have a supervisor/supervisors when submitting the application. It is the responsibility of the applicant to find a supervisor and discuss and agree on the research and study plans with him/ her. A good starting point for finding a potential supervisor at the University of Helsinki is Research portal. TUHAT is the University’s research portal where researchers update their latest publications and other activities.
A Supporting statement signed by your supervisor(s), thesis committee members and person in charge of the discipline (the list below shows Faculty of Medicine professors) needs to be attached to the application.
NB! The person in charge is expected to be from the same faculty as you are applying for.
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.
- Finnish application form https://aava.it.helsinki.fi/aava/doctoral?locale=fi
- Swedish application form https://aava.it.helsinki.fi/aava/doctoral?locale=sv
- English application form https://aava.it.helsinki.fi/aava/doctoral?locale=en
The application form is open for viewing already before the beginning of the application period but some of the fields will only become visible once you start filling in the form.
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. You will find more information at Eligibility and educational documents.
The board of the doctoral programme's 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.
Once the decisions have been made, applicants will be informed of them. If the decision is positive, the offered study place must be accepted within the set time limit. Should the decision be negative, it will be accompanied by information on the appeals procedure.
The rule of one study place per term
The so-called one study right rule has extended to cover all education leading to a university degree in Finland, including doctoral and licentiate degrees. The change will affect all studies that begin on August 1, 2016 or later. The rule of one study right means that if you are offered more than one study right at a higher education institution leading to a university degree starting at the same term, you may accept only one of them.