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 doctoral programme membership at the same time as they apply postgraduate study right at the doctoral programme.

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

There are two study right application periods per academic year in FINDOS, 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. Please note that FINDOS has doctoral candidates from two different faculties: Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences.

When to apply?

The application periods in the academic year 2020-2021 are 1.-15.9.2020 and 2.-16.2.2021. A schedule for admission results is presented in the table below.

Timetable for the decisions, deadlines for accepting the offer and default dates for the beginning of the study right:

Application period

Letters of acceptance to be sent by

Deadline for accepting the offer

The study right begins

1.-15.9.2020

27.11.2020

11.12.2020

1.1.2021

2.-16.2.2021

7.4.2021

21.4.2021

1.5.2021

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

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, or at the University of Helsinki can also be admitted to pursue a postgraduate research degree.

Furthermore, 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.

 

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 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 coordinating academic (see the instructions below: Supervision arrangements) needs to be attached to the application. Signatures of thesis committee members are not required.

 

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.

 

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. Clinical aspect has to be justified very clearly if you are applying for the Clinical programme.
  • 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.

You will need 1-3 supervisors, a responsible professor or person and at least two thesis committee members.

Main supervisor and other supervisors

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.

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. Should a doctoral candidate have a multidisciplinary doctoral thesis, the candidate can be appointed a third supervisor with good reasons justified on the application form when applying for the right to pursue a doctoral degree. The application must be supplemented with a supporting statement signed by the proposed thesis supervisor/supervisors.

Coordinating academic

You will be assigned a coordinating academic employed by the same Faculty as you are applying for. The coordinating academic is familiar with the instructions concerning doctoral education and doctoral degrees at the University of Helsinki. The first supervisor may be appointed as the coordinating academic, provided he or she fulfils the above criteria. The coordinating academic will be appointed at the same time as the supervisors.

Provide the required information on your coordinationg academic on the application form and supporting statement although your main supervisor would be appointed to the coordinating academic. 

The coordinating academic’s role is

  • to ensure the continuity of the supervision arrangements,
  • to assist you in acquainting yourself with the rules of doctoral education and the dissertation examination process,
  • to make the faculty a formal proposal on the pre-examiners and opponent to be named,
  • to approve the studies to be included in your doctoral degree. 

*Please see below the faculty specific instructions regarding coordinating academic:

Thesis committee members

Please note, that you have to name your thesis committee members upon applying a doctoral study right. The thesis committee consists of at least two experts who are able to assess the progress of the dissertation. At least one must hold the qualifications of a docent or equivalent academic qualifications.

Thesis committee members cannot be close collaborators (e.g. shared research projects or grants within the last 3 years, no family connections or manager/employee relationship) of the thesis supervisors.

It should also be taken into account when assembling the committee that members of the thesis committee cannot later be appointed as preliminary examiners or opponents for the doctoral dissertation in question. Provide the information on your thesis committee members on the supporting statement form. See further information on duties of Thesis committee in the instructions for students.

Application form

The electronic application form is 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. Familiarize yourself with the application from (pdf) below, supervision arrangements and additionally, prepare the educational documents required to support your application.

The signed supporting statement is required. The information about the supervisors, the responsible professor/person and the thesis committee members are required when applying. For further information, see the instructions on Supervision arrangement

Please, prepare your application and its documents in good time before the deadline.

The application form can be completed in Finnish, Swedish or English.

NB! This form is a draft and small changes are possible. Please, check the final form when application period begins.

Study plan. Please acquaint yourself with the doctoral programme’s degree requirements before drawing up your study plan.

 

Electronic application (form open during the application period)

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.

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 right must be accepted within the set time limit. If you do not accept the offer according to the instructions given in your letter of acceptance, you will lose the offered study right.

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.