The Doctoral Programme for Philosophy, Arts and Society brings together branches of philosophy (theoretical philosophy, social and moral philosophy, and philosophy in Swedish) and a wide array of research of the arts: aesthetics, art history, comparative literature, theater research, Finnish and Scandinavian literature, literary research in philologies, musicology, theater research as well as film and television studies.
Doctoral Programme in Philosophy, Arts, and Society
The programme’s research encompasses such topics as the nature of reality as a whole and how, through individual observation and inquiry in the scientific disciplines, the world can be known. Questions dealing with scientific explanation and scientific reasoning are among its staples. Further, the topics include the examination of values and virtues, the generation of knowledge concerning the human being and societies as well as the ethical and political questions embedded in such knowledge. The research topics also address the nature and functions of fictional worlds and the relation of these worlds to conceptions of reality. The specific characteristics of textuality, figurality, musicality, and representation in general are among its key research areas.
Further issues address research on human activity and social institutions, especially the moral question of how, individually and socially, we should live. Problems dealing with the nature and significance of perception and knowledge as well as of the emotions and experience are additional examples of the kinds of topics that form the basis of this multifaceted programme. It employs the theories and methods of philosophy and art research but it also promotes their innovative combinations. While the programme continues to foster research on traditional topics of its respective fields, it also actively encourages interdisciplinary approaches.
Planning to apply for a doctoral study right at our programme? Good choice! To start with, you should read the University’s general instructions for doctoral applicants. Once you’re acquainted with those, come back here to read more about the programme-specific selection criteria and instructions for applicants.
WHO CAN APPLY
The doctoral degrees available within the Doctoral Programme in Philosophy, Arts and Society are Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Social Sciences. Most students complete a PhD degree, but those with a topic related to Social and Moral Philosophy and a background in social sciences can opt for the DSocSc degree.
In addition to fulfilling the general rules of eligibility, your previous degree must be relevant to the planned research topic and discipline. A degree is regarded as relevant if it includes sufficient studies in a discipline which, given the topic of the proposed doctoral dissertation, can be regarded as a suitable basis for doctoral studies.
To be able to apply, you need to have all the studies required for the degree you apply with completed, graded and registered by the end of the relevant application period. Applicants who are granted a study right must be able to present a verified copy of their official degree diploma before accepting the offered study place.
HOW AND WHEN TO APPLY
The Doctoral Programme in Philosophy, Arts and Society has two application periods for doctoral study rights each year – one in the spring and one in the fall.
The next round of applications will be held from April 3rd to April 16th, 2018.
Applicants will be informed of the decisions by June 15th, 2018. Those granted a study right must accept it by June 29th. Study rights granted in the spring round of applications will begin on July 2nd, 2018.
Applications are submitted using an electronic application form, which will be open during the application period. All applicants must submit the following documents as part of their application (points 1–4 are integrated in the electronic application form; points 5–6 are submitted as scanned attachments):
1. A research proposal. Please use the University of Helsinki research plan template to draw up your research plan. The following fields related to the research plan are included in the electronic application form (the number in parentheses indicates the maximum number of characters per field, spaces included):
- Brief summary of the research plan (1500)
- Significance of the project in relation to current knowledge (1500)
- Objectives of the research (2000)
- Effects and impact beyond academia (500)
- Research methods (2000)
- Research material to be used and its significance for the research project (1000)
- Data management plan (1500)
- Critical points for success, alternative implementation strategies (500)
- Ethical issues (1000)
- Publication plan (including a preliminary outline of a monograph) (1000)
- Methods for ensuring open access (more information available on the University Library's website, 500)
- Schedule for the research (500)
- Funding plan for research and doctoral studies (500)
- Applied funding and salaried positions (500)
- Motivation for choosing the University of Helsinki as the site of doctoral research and motivation for selecting the doctoral programme (500)
- Mobility plan (500)
- The most important research literature and/or sources (1000)
2. A study plan. Please acquaint yourself with the doctoral programme’s degree requirements before drawing up your study plan.
3. The title and summary of your Master´s thesis or equivalent, or a description of previous academic publications (maximum length 4000 characters, including spaces).
4. Names of the supervisors, who have agreed to supervise your thesis. For further information on the requirements placed on supervision, please see the selection criteria section on this page. Applying without the agreement of at least one supervisor (employed by the Faculty awarding your target degree) is not possible. N.B. A signed approval form from supervisors is not required when applying. It is enough to fill in on the application form the name and contact information of the person(s) who has agreed to supervise you.
5. A copy of your previous degree certificate (Master's degree or equivalent) and a copy of a detailed transcript of studies included in the degree.
6. Verification of language skills. The University of Helsinki demands an indication of academic level language skills of all applicants. Please acquaint yourself with the options for verifying your language skills in either Finnish, Swedish or English in good time before applying. Additionally, you will need to have sufficient skills in any other languages needed for your research topic. Your skills in these languages will be assessed based on the application documents (e.g. transcript of studies) as well as preliminary discussions with your potential supervisors.
N.B. Applicants who have not completed their previous degree in the University of Helsinki must also send officially certified copies of the documents mentioned in points 5. and 6. by post. For more information on the means of having the documents officially certified, please see here.
SUBMITTING THE APPLICATION
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.
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. For instructions on how to submit your documents, please see here. For further information, please contact admissions[at]helsinki.fi.
Decisions on admissions for doctoral studies in the Doctoral Programme in Philosophy, Arts and Society are made based on the University’s general criteria for admissions as well as programme-specific complementary guidelines for admissions. The final decision on admission is made by the faculty awarding the applicant’s target degree, based on a proposal from the steering group of the doctoral programme. Before making the proposal, the doctoral programme will ask for a statement from the relevant discipline. The decision-making of the faculty and the steering group, however, are not bound by the recommendations received from the disciplines.
Feasibility, scientific significance and suitability to the research profile of the doctoral programme are emphasised in the assessment of the quality of the research plans. In the assessment of study plans, weight is placed on the feasiblity and appropriateness for the dissertation project in question. When assessing the provisional timetables presented in the study plans, special attention is paid to the fact that a full-time doctoral student should aim to complete the dissertation and related studies in approx. 4 years. Supervisors are expected to support this goal.
The suitability of the previous degree as a basis for the planned dissertation project, previous study performance and the availability of high-quality supervision are also a central part of the criteria. Lack of suitable supervision resources can be used as grounds for rejecting an application.
A doctoral student must have at least two supervisors who have completed a doctoral degree. At least one of the supervisors must be in a permanent or long-term employment at the Faculty awarding the doctoral degree. At least one of the supervisors must hold the title of docent or similar scientific qualifications. Especially in cases where the topic of the doctoral thesis is multidisciplinary, supervisors are often sought across discipline boundaries.
A preliminary agreement from potential supervisors is required when applying. In cases where the search of a second supervisor is still underway, exceptions can be made – in these cases, an applicant can submit the application and be accepted with an agreement from only one supervisor (this supervisor must be in a permanent or long-term employment at the Faculty). The decision-making is not bound by the preliminary agreements received from the potential supervisors.
Applicants are required to have sufficient skills in any languages required for completing the planned dissertation project, as well as academic level skills in either Finnish, Swedish or English. Language skills will be assessed according to the general guidelines issued by the Rector for student admissions at the University of Helsinki.
A doctoral study right can only be gained through the admissions process. No more than half of the yearly quota of new doctoral students for the doctoral programme can be admitted in the spring round of applications. The yearly admission quota for the year 2017 is 27.
The steering committee of the Doctoral Programme in Philosophy, Arts and Society has decided to nominate the following applicants for funded doctoral candidate positions, starting in January 2018:
Ana Calvete 1.5.2018–31.12.2021
Ilpo Hirvonen 1.1.2018–31.12.2021
Anni Lappela 1.1.2018–31.12.2019
Vilma Venesmaa 1.9.2018–31.12.2021
The programme congratulates the successful candidates and wishes to thank all applicants. The next call for applications will be in 2018.
A doctoral degree at the Doctoral Programme in Philosophy, Arts and Society consists of a doctoral dissertation and 40 credits of obligatory studies. The obligatory studies are divided into 30 credits of discipline-specific studies and 10 credits general competence studies. All students must complete the research seminar. Other studies are divided into nine areas – all students are expected to choose studies from a minimum of three different areas. Completing at least 1 credit of Research Ethics is compulsory. More information on the degree structure is also available on the University's general website on doctoral education.
DisCIpline-specific studies (30 credits)
- Research Seminar 5–10 cr. (Compulsory. The scope of the research seminar is, as a rule, 5 credits.)
Research Ethics (Choose 1–5 credits. Completing at least 1 credit is compulsory)
- Research Ethics: Basics
- Research Ethics: Other studies
Internationalization (Choose a maximum of 5 credits)
- Internationalization: Conference 1
- Internationalization: Conference 2
- Internationalization: Research exchange or teaching at a foreign university
- Internationalization: Other research activities
Data Management (Choose a maximum of 5 credits)
- Data Management: Reference systems
- Data Management: Other studies
Philosophy of Science (Choose a maximum of 5 credits)
- Philosophy of Science: Basics
- Philosophy of Science: Other studies
Content Studies Supporting the Thesis Work (Choose a maximum of 10 credits)
- Content Studies Supporting the Thesis Work: Other studies
- Content Studies Supporting the Thesis Work: History of the discipline
- Content Studies Supporting the Thesis Work: Field-specific specialization
Methodological and Theoretical Studies (Choose a maximum of 10 credits)
- Methodological and Theoretical Studies: Field-specific methodological studies
- Methodological and Theoretical Studies: General methodological studies
- Methodological and Theoretical Studies: Field-specific theoretical studies
- Methodological and Theoretical Studies: General theoretical studies
Publishing and Science Communication (Choose a maximum of 5 credits)
- Publishing and Science Communication: Scientific publications
- Publishing and Science Communication: Scientific editing work
- Publishing and Science Communication: Science popularization
- Publishing and Science Communication: Other science communication
Language Studies Supporting the Thesis Work (Choose a maximum of 5 credits)
- Language Studies Supporting the Thesis Work 1
- Language Studies Supporting the Thesis Work 2
Doctoral Programme's Seminars (Choose a maximum of 5 credits)
- Working Seminar 1
- Working Seminar 2
- Working Seminar 3
- Working Seminar 4
- Working Seminar 5
- Doctoral Programme's Seminars: other common seminars
general competence skills (10 credits)
Complete 10 credits of general competence skills in one or several of the following areas:
- Communication Skills, Publishing and Science Communication
- University Pedagogy
- Research Leadership and Science in Society
- Career Planning and Worklife Skills
- Other General Competence Studies
The working seminar
The Doctoral Programme organizes a working seminar for doctoral students twice a year. The next working seminar of the Doctoral Programme will be held in spring 2018.
In addition to receiving and giving valuable feedback, the working seminar provides doctoral students with an excellent opportunity for networking and a glance at research being done in the doctoral programme - so don’t hesitate to register! You will need to submit your working paper (15-18 pages) of text from or related to your dissertation before the seminar. If you have just started working on your dissertation and don’t have much text yet, you can submit your research plan and disposition instead.
For more information, please contact Programme director Tuomas Tahko or the programme's planning officer (dp-philartsoc[at]helsinki.fi).
Professors and University Lecturers supervising dissertations within the doctoral programme:
The Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies
Bacon, Henry (Professor, Film and Television Studies)
Haapala, Arto (Professor, Aesthetics)
Korsberg, Hanna (Professor, Theater Research)
Negri, Sara (Professor, Theoretical Philosophy)
Niiniluoto, Ilkka (Professor Emer., Theoretical Philosophy)
Pyrhönen, Heta (Professor, Comparative Literature)
Riikonen, Hannu K. (Professor Emer., Comparative Literature)
Saarikangas, Kirsi (Professor, Art History)
Sandu, Gabriel (Professor, Theoretical Philosophy)
Sintonen, Matti (Professor, Theoretical Philosophy)
Tarasti, Eero (Professor Emer., Musicology)
von Plato, Jan (Professor, Filosofi)
Kantola, Janna (University Lecturer, Comparative Literature)
Kuisma, Oiva (University Lecturer, Aesthetics)
Laakkonen, Johanna (University Lecturer, Theater Research)
Lammenranta, Markus (University Lecturer, Theoretical Philosophy)
Lassfolk, Kai (University Lecturer, Musicology)
Jan-Ivar Lindén, (University Lecturer, Philosophy)
Mikkonen, Kai (University Lecturer, Comparative Literature)
Padilla, Alfonso (University Lecturer Emer., Musicology)
Pereira da Silva, José Felipe (Professor, Theoretical Philosophy)
Pylkkänen, Paavo (University Lecturer, Theoretical Philosophy)
Wallgren, Thomas (University Lecturer, Filosofi)
The Department of Modern Languages
Helkkula, Mervi (Professor, French Philology)
Huttunen, Tomi (Professor, Russian Language and Literature)
Pettersson, Bo (Professor, United States Literature)
Suomela-Härmä, Elina (Professor Emer., Italian Philology)
Flanagan, Joseph (University Lecturer, English Philology)
Hellman, Ben (University Lecturer, Russian Language and Literature)
Keinänen, Nely (University Lecturer, English Philology)
Obatnine, Guennadi (University Lecturer, Russian Language and Literature)
Polvinen, Merja (University Lecturer, English Philology)
Salenius, Maria (University Lecturer, English Philology)
Shackleton, Mark (University Lecturer, English Philology)
Sklar, Howard (University Lecturer, English Philology)
Tuomarla, Ulla (University Lecturer, French Philology)
The Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Languages and Literatures
Lyytikäinen, Pirjo (Professor, Finnish Literature)
Nummi, Jyrki (Professor, Finnish Literature)
Witt-Brattström, Ebba (Professor, Scandinavian Literature)
Andersen, Hadle (University Lecturer, Scandinavian Literature)
Hollsten, Anna (University Lecturer, Finnish Literature)
Lillqvist, Holger (University Lecturer, Finnish Literature)
Malmio, Kristina (University Lecturer, Scandinavian Literature)
The Faculty of Social Sciences
Airaksinen, Timo (Professor, Social and Moral Philosophy)
Gylling, Heta (University Lecturer, Social and Moral Philosophy)
Klockars, Kristian (University Lecturer, Social and Moral Philosophy)
Lehtinen, Aki (Professor, Social and Moral Philosophy)
Lemetti, Juhana (Docent, Social and Moral Philosophy)
Loukola, Olli (University Lecturer, Social and Moral Philosophy)
Mäkelä, Pekka (Project Coordinator, Social and Moral Philosophy)
Mäki, Uskali (Professor, Social and Moral Philosophy)
Takala, Tuija (Docent, Social and Moral Philosophy)
Tuomela, Raimo (Professor Emer., Social and Moral Philosophy)
Ylikoski, Petri (Professor, Sociology)
Doctoral Programme in Philosophy, Arts, and Society
P.O. Box 24
00014 University of Helsinki
Postgraduate Student Services for the Faculty of Arts (questions related to applying for doctoral study rights)
The Director of the Doctoral Programme
University Lecturer Tuomas Tahko
Päivi Väätänen (on study leave)
The steering committee of the Doctoral Programme:
University Lecturer Tuomas Tahko
University Researcher Jukka Kortti
Academy Research Fellow Vili Lähteenmäki
Professor Caterina Marchionni
Professor Pirkko Moisala
Associate Professor Filipe Pereira da Silva
University Lecturer Merja Polvinen
Ninni Suni, doctoral student
Ilpo Hirvonen, doctoral student