Doctoral candidates in the Doctoral programme in Drug Research DPDR may complete the following degrees: Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Science (Pharmacy), Doctor of Dental Science, Doctor of Medical Science and Doctor of Philosophy (Psychology).

DPDR’s responsible faculty is the Faculty of Pharmacy, and its partner faculties are the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Science. Please, check which degree is available in the chosen faculty with your background studies. Both the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Medicine have more specific instructions about its degrees.

DPDR 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).

Doc­toral can­did­ates and Su­per­visors

DPDR has approximately 130 Doctoral candidates. About 15 doctoral theses are published annually.

Supervisors in the DPDR work in the area of drug research and toxicological research. They are usually professors and principal investigators at the University of Helsinki. However, researchers at other research institutes may co-supervise a DPDR doctoral candiate. In addition, each student has a follow-up/thesis committee group.

Fac­ulties and part­ners of DPDR

University page:

  • Faculty of Pharmacy (host faculty)
  • Faculty of Medicine (Medicum): Pharmacology and Clinical pharmacology
  • HiLIFE: Institute of Biotechnology, Neuroscience Center, FIMM
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine
  • Faculty of Science
  • Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry
  • Industry, Fimea, NIHW, pharmacies and other organisations

Part­ners and co-op­er­a­tion

DPDR is a part of the national FinPharmaNet network.

International partners include ULLA (European consortium for [Post Graduate] Training in the Field of Pharmaceutical Sciences), The Paul Ehrlich European Medicinal Chemistry Ph.D. Network, GPEN (Globalization of Pharmaceutical Education Network) and Nordic POP. DSHealth and it’s doctoral programmes are members of NorDoc (Nordic Doctoral training in health sciences) network which is under development at the moment. Courses for Doctoral candidates are free in the member Universities.

Doctoral candidates in the DPDR are usually also members of a scientific society in their own field, for example, Finnish Pharmaceutical Society, Finnish Pharmacological Society, Finnish Society of Clinical Pharmacology and the Finnish Society of Physical Pharmacy.

New re­quire­ments

Starting from 1.8.2017, the doctoral studies in the DPDR programme consist of three parts: 

  1. a doctoral thesis,
  2. scientific studies (30 credits), and
  3. studies in transferrable skills (10 credits).

DPDR degree structure in WebOodi Course Catalogue Service.
DPDR degree structure (pdf):


The scientific studies (30 ECTS) consist of discipline-specific studies supporting the thesis research work as well as:

  • obligatory course in research ethics (min 1 ECTS)
  • and obligatory annual thesis committee meetings and reports (0 ECTS)

The transferrable skills (10 ECTS) are organized by DSHealth. Note that Laboratory animal science NEU-603 is obligatory for all DPDR doctoral candidates working with lab animals (if not completed before).

Trans­fer­ring to the new de­gree struc­ture

(This notice is aimed at all doctoral candidates, whose study right has begun prior to August 1, 2017.)

Find more detailed information  about  transferring to the new degree structure from here.

Old requirements

If you study by the old degree system ( 60 cr) you can find more information about requirements from here

Students in the new degree system (40 cr)

This form can be used for the registration of study modules for doctoral students who are completing their degree according to the new degree structures (40 ECTS).

Students in the old degree system (60 cr)

The form of 60 credits study block is used to register the study modules completed for the doctoral degree according to the previous study requirements (min. 60 credits). Fill in the form with the studies you want to incorporate to your doctoral degree and give them to your responsible professor or responsible person of your studies. He/she revises and accepts the study modules. More about old degree system from here

The signed form is submitted to 

Each DPDR  doctoral candidate must have a thesis committee. 

The thesis committee meetings are organised annually. The aims of the meetings are

  • to provide feedback on the progress of the research work and doctoral studies
  • to support graduation in the target duration and to monitor that other duties are not preventing the scheduled progress of the dissertation
  • to issue recommendations on the continuation or interruption of the dissertation as well as for changes to be made in supervision
  • to support the doctoral candidate in career planning
  • to support the progress of high-quality doctoral studies by offering expertise in the topic of the doctoral dissertation

More information on Instructions for students website.

Follow-up of the thesis project in THESSA only for for Doctoral candidates who have received the right to pursue doctoral degree in July 2018 or later


During 2018 all doctoral programmes at the University of Helsinki will start implementing Rector’s decision 801/2017. In practice this means that doctoral candidates who receive the right to pursue a doctoral degree in one of the DSHealth doctoral programmes in July 2018 or later are required to use THESSA (, an online tool used for planning and following up PhD studies . THESSA can be accessed with University of Helsinki login credentials or with the non-university login for those coming from outside UH. THESSA is easy to use and will not require much time to set up. Log in to the system and check the Help-page first for instructions. Before registering, contact your supervisor and the thesis committee members and let them know the instructions. This way they can expect receiving email notifications from THESSA. Please note that THESSA sends automatic email notifications that may end up in the junk mail folder. 

First task of a new doctoral candidate is to draw up a personal study plan. A doctoral candidate and his/her supervisor may sign a supervision agreement, which will be mandatory for all doctoral candidates from August 2020 onwards. The personal study plan and the supervision agreement are made electronically in the THESSA-system for doctoral candidates and thesis supervisors.

Main parts in THESSA

Supervision plans

The supervision plan is a set of decisions made face-to-face between the doctoral candidate and the supervisor(s) to make sure that the progress of the thesis project is as smooth as possible. The plan is created with the supervisor's account and the doctoral candidate (and the potential other supervisors) sign the plan.

PhD project

The PhD project is a place for doctoral candidates to plan the thesis project's parts and keep track of progress. The parts include for example publications, courses and funding. These can be stored in THESSA and accessed by the supervisors. A benefit of keeping track of the progress is that it reduces the load of writing the annual report as most of the content can automatically be copied from the PhD project to the report.

Annual reports

THESSA asks doctoral candidates to complete a report of their PhD project's progress at least once a year during the doctoral studies. The report is a snapshot of the current progress and that's why most of it can be automatically copied from the PhD project. There are however some additional fields that the doctoral candidate needs to complete. After submitting, all supervisors will be notified of the new report. One supervisor then reviews the report and either accepts it as it is or leaves review comments. The doctoral candidate gets a notification about review comments and is required to resubmit the report. Finally, the supervisor(s) accept the report. THESSA sends out reminder emails about reporting deadlines. The report's deadline is one year after the later date of either the last report or the beginning of doctoral studies.

Setting up THESSA in 4 easy steps

  1. The supervisor signs in to THESSA at (also available for supervisors outside the University of Helsinki)
  2. The doctoral candidate signs in THESSA at
  3. The doctoral programme admin approves the doctoral candidates THESSA-account
  4. The supervisor receives an email from to verify the doctoral candidate’s account

NOTE! THESSA requires that the doctoral candidate has at least one supervisor at all times. The doctoral candidate will need to find and choose the supervisor(s) in THESSA. Supervisors cannot choose doctoral candidates. In this way THESSA protects unauthorized access to the doctoral candidate's information: doctoral candidates are themselves the gatekeepers. Information about the supervisory arrangements can later be edited at the Profile page. After signing in and when the doctoral programme has approved the account, the doctoral candidate can start using the “My PhD project” section in THESSA

Thesis committee and follow-up reporting (7 easy steps more and you are done!)

  1. The doctoral candidate invites the thesis committee members in to sign in to THESSA during the first semester of doctoral studies
  2. The members receive an email from to join the thesis committee
  3. Once the thesis committee is set up, the annual progress report can be generated and submitted
  4. The thesis committee members can view and comment the progress report in THESSA before the meeting
  5. The thesis committee meeting approves the annual progress report
  6. At the end of the meeting, the doctoral candidate submits the Conclusions & Recommendations as agreed
  7. One year later, THESSA reminds the doctoral candidate to organize the next thesis committee meeting

Information about travel grants and other funding opportunities for doctoral candidates can be found Instructions for students.

Remember to log in or choose the right doctoral programme on the top of page so that you see all relevant information.

Are you already a doc­toral stu­dent?

The Instructions for Students website, aimed at current and old doctoral students, offers advice related to funding your studies, doing doctoral-level research and all the other information you need to complete a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki. The instructions are grouped into themes, which you can find at the bottom of the front page. You can also search for instructions and bulletins with specific terms. Make sure that you have selected your degree programme.

Lists for doc­toral can­did­ates

All DPDR doctoral candidates should join the dpdr-candidates(a) mailing list, which is used to advertise DPDR activities as well as to distribute information relevant to PhD candidates. Another relevant mailing list is the DSHealth doctoral school list (all DPDR-candidates list members automatically receive the DSHealth mails as well). Also, consult your supervisor for other relevant mailing lists to join.

To subscribe, send an e-mail to majordomo(at) Leave the subject-line empty and in the message field write subscribe DPDR-candidates. Please use your email address.

To unsubscribe the list send an e-mail to majordomo(at) and write in the message field unsubscribe DPDR-candidates and nothing else. Please note that you should send the email from the same address that you joined the list with.

Email list for DPDR su­per­visors

Primary supervisors are added to the email list, other supervisors may join the list like this:
To subscribe, send an e-mail to majordomo(at) Leave the subject-line empty and in the message field write subscribe dpdr-supervisors.

The procedure of thesis pre-examination depends on your faculty. You can find faculty-specific instructions in Instructions for students website.

For registration of individual study units as well as study modules (30 cr and 10 cr): see Instructions for students website.