Contacts & supervision

Need help? Looking for a supervisor? From this page, you'll find the contact information for the administrative personnel the doctoral programme, as well as information on the steering group of the programme and the supervisors in the different disciplines represented in the programme.

Doctoral Programme in Philosophy, Arts, and Society
P.O. Box 4
00014 University of Helsinki
Info: hymy-doc(at)

Planning Officer
Lauri Turpeinen

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
Associate Professor Filipe Pereira da Silva

The steering committee of the Doctoral Programme:
Associate Professor Filipe Pereira da Silva
University Researcher Jukka Kortti
University Lecturer Anna Hollsten
Professor Kai Lassfolk
Academy Research Fellow Vili Lähteenmäki
Professor Caterina Marchionni
University Lecturer Merja Polvinen
Aleksi Haukka, doctoral student
Ilpo Hirvonen, 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 Lauri Turpeinen (lauri.turpeinen(at) 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 Lauri Turpeinen.

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

Department of Philosophy, History and Art Studies

Bacon, Henry (Professor, Film and Television Studies)
Brax, Klaus (University Lecturer, Comparative Literature)
Haapala, Arto (Professor, Aesthetics)
Kanckos, Annika (University Researcher, Theoretical Philosophy)
Kantola, Janna (University Lecturer, Comparative Literature)
Korsberg, Hanna (Professor, Theater Research)
Kuisma, Oiva (University Lecturer, Aesthetics)
Laakkonen, Johanna (University Lecturer, Theater Research)
Lammenranta, Markus (University Lecturer, Theoretical Philosophy)
Lasonen-Aarnio, Maria (Associate Professor, Theoretical Philosophy)
Lassfolk, Kai (Professor, Musicology)
Lindén, Jan-Ivar (University Lecturer, Philosophy)
Mikkonen, Kai (University Lecturer, Comparative Literature)
Negri, Sara (Professor, Theoretical Philosophy)
Niiniluoto, Ilkka (Professor Emer., Theoretical Philosophy)
Padilla, Alfonso (University Lecturer Emer., Musicology)
Pereira da Silva, José Felipe (Professor, Theoretical Philosophy)
Pylkkänen, Paavo (University Lecturer, Theoretical Philosophy)
Pyrhönen, Heta (Professor, Comparative Literature)
Riikonen, Hannu K. (Professor Emer., Comparative Literature)
Saarikangas, Kirsi (Professor, Art History)
Sandu, Gabriel (Professor, Theoretical Philosophy)
Seppälä, Mikko-Olavi (University Lecturer, Theatre Research)
Sintonen, Matti (Professor, Theoretical Philosophy)
Tahko, Tuomas (University Lecturer, Theoretical Philosophy)
Tarasti, Eero (Professor Emer., Musicology)
Torvinen, Juha (University Lecturer, Musicology)
von Plato, Jan (Professor, Philosophy)
Wallgren, Thomas (University Lecturer, Philosophy)

Department of Languages

Flanagan, Joseph (University Lecturer, English Philology)
Helkkula, Mervi (Professor, French Philology)
Hellman, Ben (University Lecturer, Russian Language and Literature)
Huttunen, Tomi (Professor, Russian Language and Literature)
Keinänen, Nely (University Lecturer, English Philology)
Klapuri, Tintti (University Lecturer, Russian Language and Literature)
Leiwo, Martti (University Lecturer, Greek and Greek Literature)
Obatnine, Guennadi (University Lecturer, Russian Language and Literature)
Pettersson, Bo (Professor, United States 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)
Suomela-Härmä, Elina (Professor Emer., Italian Philology)
Tuomarla, Ulla (University Lecturer, French Philology)

Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugrian and Scandinavian Studies

Andersen, Hadle (University Lecturer, Scandinavian Literature)
Haapala, Vesa (University Lecturer, Finnish Literature)
Hollsten, Anna (University Lecturer, Finnish Literature)
Lillqvist, Holger (University Lecturer, Finnish Literature)
Lyytikäinen, Pirjo (Professor, Finnish Literature)
Malmio, Kristina (University Lecturer, Scandinavian Literature)
Nummi, Jyrki (Professor, Finnish Literature)
Witt-Brattström, Ebba (Professor, Scandinavian Literature)

Department of Digital Humanities

Alina Leminen (University Lecturer, Cognitive Science)
Anna-Mari Rusanen (University Lecturer, Cognitive Science)
Vainio, Martti (Professor, Phonetics)

The Faculty of Social Sciences

Airaksinen, Timo (Professor, Social and Moral Philosophy)
Kauppinen, Antti (Professor, 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)
Marchionni, Caterina (University Lecturer, Social and Moral Philosophy)
Martini, Carlo (Postdoctoral Researcher, Social and Moral Philosophy)
Mäkelä, Pekka (Project Coordinator, Social and Moral Philosophy)
Mäki, Uskali (Professor, Social and Moral Philosophy)
Nagatsu, Michiru (Associate Professor, Social and Moral Philosophy)
O'Brien, Lilian (University Researcher, Practical Philosophy)
Takala, Tuija (Docent, Social and Moral Philosophy)
Toppinen, Teemu (University Lecturer, Social and Moral Philosophy)
Tuomela, Raimo (Professor Emer., Social and Moral Philosophy)
Ylikoski, Petri (Professor, Sociology)

Other Faculties

Emma Vitikainen (University Researcher, ecology and  evolutionary biology)