Contacts & Supervision

Planning officer
Päivi Väätänen


Postgraduate Student Services for the Faculty of Arts (questions related to applying for doctoral study rights, doctoral study rights and the examination of doctoral theses)

In the below listing of steering committee members, each person’s name is a link to their profile in the university’s research portal.

The Director of the Doctoral Programme
Professor Kirsi Saarikangas

Steering Committee
Professor Kirsi Saarikangas
Professor Niklas Jensen-Eriksen
Associate Professor Titus Hjelm
Associate Professor Anu Lahtinen
Associate Professor Samu Niskanen
Docent Päivi Salmesvuori
Professor Lotte Tarkka
Ahto Apajalahti, doctoral student
Henri Hannula, doctoral student

Finding supervisors willing to guide you through your thesis project is one of the most important steps when preparing your application. But it’s not always an easy feat. Here are a few tips on how to go about it:

  • Start early. And when we say early, we’re talking about months rather than weeks. Finding the right match can be a time-consuming business.
  • Do your research. You are more likely to get a positive response if the researchers you approach actually share your research interests. Think of approaching the prospective supervisors in a sense like you would applying for a job – sending the same generic message to various recipients is unlikely to provide the hoped-for results. Acquaint yourself with the supervisors' research profiles, and try to pick the people you approach based on actual mutual research interests.
  • Pay attention to detail. At least one of your supervisors has to be in a permanent or long-term employment to the faculty awarding your prospective target degree, and at least one needs to hold the title of docent or similar scientific qualifications – i.e. be a senior researcher in your field. When you find potential supervisors, make sure in the further discussions that at least one of them fills these conditions.
  • Be precise. Supervisors get a lot of email. When you approach a prospective supervisor, present your topic and motivation in a clear, succinct manner to allow them to easily estimate whether your topic is such that they would be interested in supervising it and whether if it seems feasible.
  • Be patient and prepare for disappointments. In the process of finding a supervisor, you are likely to receive several negative responses – or, sometimes, no response at all. Sometimes your topic is simply not a good match for the person you approached, and sometimes the supervisors have their quota of new students already full. If you get a negative response, move on. Be also aware that, especially if your research topic is of a field that’s not widely represented here, it’s also possible that you will not find a supervisor. In that case, your only option is to continue your search and apply later – or set your sights to a different university with better prospects.

Available below is a listing of current supervisors in the doctoral programme. The list is by no means definitive, and is only there to help you get started. The name of each supervisor has been linked to their individual research profile in the University of Helsinki Research Portal to help you find out more about their research interests.

From the research portal, you can also look up people for example using keywords related to your research. Keep in mind that the research portal lists all researchers affiliated with the University of Helsinki – including current doctoral students, who should not be considered as prospective supervisors. If the person is employed, you will see their job title on their profile page.

Supervisor: Is your name missing from the list? To have it added, please contact the programme’s planning officer Päivi Väätänen ( Supervisors added to the list must either be employed by the University of Helsinki or be someone who, for example, is actively carrying out research on a personal research funding in the University of Helsinki and is willing to take on new doctoral students. If you are no longer a supervisor in the Doctoral Programme, please inform Päivi Väätänen.

In the below listing of supervisors, each person’s name is a link to their profile in the university’s research portal.

Faculty of Arts

Airaksinen, Tiina (University Lecturer, Asian Studies)
Akar, Sylvia (University Lecturer, Arabic and Islamic Studies)
Aunio, Lotta (University Lecturer, African Studies)
Cocq, Coppélie (Professor, European Ethnology)
Danielsbacka, Mirkka (University Lecturer, History)
Fewster, Derek (University Lecturer, History, Swedish)
Forsén, Björn (University Lecturer, History, Swedish)
Harrison, Klisala (Academy Research Fellow, Musicology)
Hoegaerts, Josephine (Associate Professor, European Studies)
Holmberg, Eva Johanna (Academy Research Fellow, Cultural History)
Holmqvist-Sipilä, Elisabeth (Core Fellow, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (archaeology))
Jensen-Eriksen, Niklas (Professor, Business History)
Kajava, Mika (Professor, Greek Language and Literature)
Kettunen, Harri (University Lecturer, Latin American Studies)
Kolbe, Laura (Professor, European History)
Korhonen, Anu (University Lecturer, Area and Cultural Studies)
Korpisaari, Antti (University Lecturer, Area and Cultural Studies)
Lahelma, Antti (University Lecturer, Archaeology)
Lahti, Janne (Academy Research Fellow, General History)
Lahtinen, Anu (Professor, Finnish History)
Lappalainen, Mirkka (University Lecturer, History)
Lavento, Mika (Professor, Archaeology)
Luhtala, Anneli (University Lecturer, Latin Language and Roman Literature)
Lukkarinen, Ville (Professor, Art History)
Luukkanen, Arto (University Lecturer, Russian Studies)
Marjomaa, Risto (University Lecturer, General History)
Meinander, Henrik (Professor, History, Swedish)
Mikkeli, Heikki (Professor, General History)
Moisala, Pirkko (Professor, Musicology)
Niskanen, Samu (Associate Professor, Medieval History)
Olsson, Pia (University Lecturer, Ethnology)
Peltonen, Markku (Professor, General History)
Pietilä-Castrén, Leena (University Lecturer, Classical Archaeology)
Pärssinen, Martti (Professor, Latin American Studies)
Räsänen, Elina (University Lecturer, Art History)
Saarikangas, Kirsi (Professor, Art History)
Saastamoinen, Kari (University Lecturer, History)
Saikku, Mikko (Professor, American Studies)
Salmi-Niklander, Kirsti (University Lecturer, Folklore Studies)
Salomies, Olli (Professor, Latin Language and Roman Literature)
Siltala, Juha (Professor, Finnish History)
Sironen, Erkki (University Lecturer, Greek Language and Literature)
Snellman, Hanna (Professor, Ethnology)
Stadius, Peter (Professor, Scandinavian Studies)
Suominen-Kokkonen, Renja (University Lecturer, Art History)
Svärd, Saana (Associate Professor, Ancient Near Eastern Studies)
Tandefelt, Henrika (University Lecturer, History, Swedish)
Tarkka, Lotte (Professor, Folklore Studies)
Thomas, Suzie (Professor, Cultural Heritage Studies)
Tepora, Tuomas (University Lecturer, History)
Tikkanen, Bertil (University Lecturer, South Asian Studies)
Tolonen, Mikko (Associate Professor, Digital Humanities)
Marja Vierros (Associate Professor, Classical Philology)
Wolff, Charlotta (Academy Research Fellow, History)
Zeiler, Xenia (Associate Professor, South Asian Studies)

The Faculty of Law

Kekkonen, Jukka (Professor, Legal History)

The Faculty of Theology

Heikkilä, Tuomas (University Lecturer, Church History)
Kärkkäinen, Pekka (University Lecturer, Systematic Theology)
Pesonen, Heikki (University Lecturer, Study of Religions)
Pulkkinen, Risto (University Lecturer, Study of Religions)
Sakaranaho, Tuula (Professor, Study of Religions)
Salmesvuori, Päivi (Docent, Church History)