Contacts & Supervision

Doctoral Programme for Language Studies
P.O. Box 4
00014 University of Helsinki


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)

Planning Officer
Päivi Väätänen

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 Riho Grünthal

Steering Committee
Professor Riho Grünthal
University Lecturer Lotta Aunio
Professor Martti Leiwo
Professor Jan Lindström
Professor Matti Miestamo
Professor Sanna-Kaisa Tanskanen
Professor Marja-Leena Sorjonen
Valisa Krairiksh, doctoral student
Miro Metsämuuronen, 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.

There are more than one hundred researchers in the Doctoral Programme in Language Studies. Their expertise spans an extensive number of languages: Finnish and other Finno-Ugrian languages, Swedish and other Scandinavian languages, minority languages spoken in Finland, English (also English as a lingua franca), German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian and other Slavonic languages, Baltic languages, Basque, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Hebrew, Hindi, Bantu languages, all Greek varieties and Latin, Akkadian, Sumerian.  Language studies include also less spoken but typologically interesting languages such as Horpa, Ndebele and Wutu.

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.

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

The Faculty of Arts

Ainiala, Terhi (University Lecturer, Finnish Language)
Aunio, Lotta (University Lecturer, African Languages and Cultures)
Balode, Laimute (University Lecturer, Baltic Languages and Cultures)
Carlson, Lauri (Professor, Language Theory and Translation)
Chesterman, Andrew (Professor Emeritus, Translation Studies)
Garavelli, Enrico (University Lecturer, Italian Philology)
Gruzdeva, Ekaterina (University Lecturer, General Linguistics)
Grünthal, Riho (Professor, Finnic Languages)
Haakana, Markku (University Lecturer, Finnish Language)
Halla-aho, Hilla (Researcher, Latin Language)
Hartama-Heinonen, Ritva (University Lecturer, Swedish Translation)
Havu, Eva (Docent, French Philology)
Helkkula, Mervi (Professor, French Philology)
Hiidenmaa, Pirjo (Professor, Finnish Language)
Hiltunen, Turo (University Lecturer, English Philology)
Honkanen, Suvi (University Lecturer, Finnish Language)
Huttunen, Tomi (Professor, Russian Language and Literature)
Hyvärinen, Irma (Professor, German Philology)
Hämäläinen, Taina (University Lecturer, Spanish Philology)
Härmä, Juhani (Professor, French Philology)
Jaakola, Minna (University Lecturer, Finnish Language)
Janhunen, Juha (Professor, East Asian Languages and Cultures)
Juusola, Hannu (Professor, Semic Languages and Cultures)
Kahlas-Tarkka, Leena (Docent, English Philology)
Kajava, Mika (Professor, Greek and Greek Literature)
Kalliokoski, Jyrki (Professor, Finnish Language)
Kilpiö, Matti (Docent, English Philology)
Kinnunen, Tuija (University Lecturer, German Translation)
Kittilä, Seppo (University Lecturer, General Linguistics)
Komppa, Johanna (University Lecturer, Finnish Language)
Kopotev, Mikhail (University Lecturer, Russian Language and Literature)
Kotilainen, Lari (Docent, Finnish Language)
Kovács, Magdolna (University Lecturer, Finno-Ugrian Language Studies)
Kurhila, Salla (Professor, Interactional Linguistics)
Kärnä, Aino (University Lecturer, German Philology)
Lappalainen, Hanna (University Lecturer, Finnish Language)
Lauranto, Yrjö (University Lecturer, Finnish Language)
Laury, Ritva (Professor, Finnish Language)
Lautenbacher, Olli Philippe (University Lecturer, French Philology, Translation Studies)
Lehečková, Helena (University Lecturer, West and South Slavonic Languages and Cultures)
Lehti-Eklund, Hanna (Professor, Scandinavian Languages)
Leino, Jaakko (Professor, Finnish Language)
Leiwo, Martti (University Lecturer, Greek and Greek Literature)
Lenk, Hartmut (University Lecturer, German Philology)
Leppihalme, Ritva (Docent, English translation)
Lindén, Krister (Research Director, Language Technology)
Lindholm, Camilla (University Lecturer, Scandinavian Languages)
Lindström, Jan (Professor, Scandinavian Languages)
Lindström Tiedemann, Therese (University Lecturer, Swedish Language and  General Linguistics)
Luhtala, Anneli (University Lecturer, Latin Language and Roman Literature)
Länsisalmi, Riikka (University Lecturer, Japanese Language and Culture)
Mauranen, Anna (Professor Emerita, English Philology)
Melo e Abreu, Liisa (University Lecturer, Spanish Philology)
Miestamo, Matti (Professor, General Linguistics)
Mustajoki, Arto (Professor Emeritus, Russian Language)
Mäntynen, Anne (University Lecturer, Finnish Language)
Määttä, Simo (Assistant Professor, Translation Studies)
Nevala, Minna (University Lecturer, English Philology)
Nevalainen, Terttu (Professor, English Philology)
Nikunlassi, Ahti (Professor, Russian Language and Literature)
Nordlund, Taru (Professor, Finnish Language)
Nordman, Lieselott (University Lecturer, Scandinavian Languages)
Onikki-Rantajääskö, Tiina (Professor, Finnish Language)
Pakkala-Weckström, Mari (University Lecturer, English Translation)
Palander-Collin, Minna (Professor, English Philology)
Pasanen, Päivi (University Lecturer, Russian Translation)
Peterson, Elizabeth (University Lecturer, English Philology)
Protassova, Ekaterina (University Lecturer, Russian Language and Literature)
Riiho, Timo (Professor, Iberoromanic Languages)
Saarikivi, Janne (Professor, Finno-Ugrian Language Studies)
Salomies, Olli (Professor, Latin Language and Roman Literature)
Sanromán, Begoña (University Lecturer, Spanish Philology)
Sarasti-Wilenius, Raija (University Lecturer, Classical Philology)
Sironen, Erkki (University Lecturer, Greek and Greek Literature)
Solin, Anna (University Lecturer, English Philology)
Sorjonen, Marja-Leena (Professor, Finnish Language)
Suomela-Härmä, Elina (Professor, Italian Philology)
Svärd, Saana (Assistant Professor, Ancient Middle-East)
Tiedemann, Jörg (Professor, Language Technology)
Tiittula, Liisa (Professor, German Language, Translation Studies)
Toivola, Minnaleena (University Lecturer, Phonetics)
Tuomarla, Ulla (University Lecturer, French Philology)
Vainio, Martti (Professor, Phonetics)
Marja Vierros (Associate Professor, Classical Philology)
Yli-Jyrä, Anssi (Academy Research Fellow, Language Technology)

The Fac­ulty of Be­ha­vi­oural Sci­ences

Klippi, Anu (Professor Emerita, Speech Sciences)
Lehtonen, Heini (University Lecturer, University Pedagogy)
Vesalainen, Marjo (University Lecturer, University Pedagogy)

The Fac­ulty of So­cial Sci­ences

Peräkylä, Anssi (Professor, Sociology)