Research profile

The Doctoral Programme in Law covers all disciplines of the Faculty of Law:

  • Administrative law
  • Commercial law
  • Communication and information law
  • Constitutional law, Criminal law
  • Environmental law
  • European law
  • Family and inheritance law
  • Financial law
  • Gender and law
  • Labour law
  • Law and economics
  • Law of obligations
  • Legal history
  • Legal theory
  • Medical and bio law
  • Private international law and comparative law
  • Procedural and insolvency law
  • Property law
  • Public International law
  • Sociology of law
  • Sports law

The wide ranging approach of the Doctoral Programme in Law encourages in multidisciplinary research and interdisciplinary studies. The programme is in active co-operation with the other doctoral programmes of the Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences.

The home unit of the Doctoral Programme in Law, the Faculty of Law, is a research-intensive faculty. The programme takes in consideration the focus areas of research at the Faculty:

1) Theoretical, social and cultural foundations of law
2) Law in a European and global environment
3) Welfare and rule of law
4) Economy, property rights and justice
5) Law, technology, human being and the environment

The programme also follows the strategic plan for the Faculty of Law according to which the primary aim of research and doctoral teaching is the quest for truth and knowledge about law and justice. Moreover, the critical and independent evaluation of law, legal practices and legal science itself is highlighted and a wide-ranging, versatile and interdisciplinary research is emphasized.

Studying in the programme

The Doctoral Programme in Law offers to all doctoral students a well-planned and systematical four years training programme. It is also possible to become a part-time doctoral student.

The training programme is divided in general theoretical and methodological part, field-specific part and general competence skills courses (organized by the Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences).

For a more detailed information, see the teaching curriculum of the programme.

During the first two years the main focus is in theoretical and methodological studies, field-specific courses, practical skills and research ethics. During this period, the doctoral students are encouraged to network. During the third and fourth years the main focus is in independent research work even though there are also courses during this time that the doctoral students should attend.

According to the University of Helsinki’s degree provisions the estimated time to pursue the Doctor of Laws degree when studying full-time is four years. According to the Faculty’s standing orders all studies included in the postgraduate degree must be completed and entered into the Student Register before preliminary examiners for doctoral dissertations can be proposed.

See the Faculty of Law’s assessment criteria for the quality of doctoral dissertations.

Monitoring of the postgraduate study process

During the year 2018 the doctoral programmes in the University of Helsinki will start using Thessa ( ), an online tool for planning and following up of PhD studies. Thessa will replace the former annual reports. The system is easy to use and doesn’t require much time to get started with. Log in to the system and first check the Help-page for instructions.

More information about Thessa will appear on this site.

Monitoring the postgraduate doctoral process: The University of Helsinki monitors the progress of postgraduate students. In the monitoring procedure, enrolled postgraduate students who have not yet completed their degree after six years of having been granted the right to study will be screened from the Student Register. The screened students cannot register as attending for the following academic year before they present a study and research plan approved by the Faculty. For more specific instructions, see the Faculty website.

The supervisor will monitor the supervisee's progress regularly throughout the research project, providing support and guidance. In addition to monitoring by the supervisor, the steering committee of the doctoral programme will function as a general monitoring group for doctoral students. In cases of supervision-related problems, the supervisor and supervisee should strive to reach a solution together. The planner and the Director of the Doctoral programme may be consulted when necessary.