Admissions for doctoral studies

According to the Universities Act (558/2009) section 37 eligible applicants for studies leading to a postgraduate research degree have completed

  1. An applicable second-cycle university degree,
  2. An applicable second-cycle degree from a university of applied sciences, or
  3. An applicable education at an institution abroad providing eligibility for equivalent higher education in the country in question.

An applicant may also be admitted to pursue a postgraduate research degree if the University finds him or her to have otherwise obtained the required knowledge and skills.

Please see the University's general rules concerning eligibility.

The doctoral degrees available within the Doctoral Programme in Psychology, Learning and Communication (PsyCo) are Doctor of Philosophy (Psychology), Doctor of Philosophy (Education) and Doctor of Philosophy. The Doctor of Philosophy (Education) degree is only available to students who have completed advanced studies in education. The Doctor of Philosophy (Psychology) may be completed by postgraduate students majoring in psychology, provided their second-cycle degree includes advanced-level studies in psychology, and practice.

The Faculty Council grants the right to complete a doctoral degree. In order for an applicant to be admitted into postgraduate education, the Faculty must deem that his or her degree and education provide sufficient qualifications for completing a postgraduate degree and the Doctoral Programme must support the application.

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. Applicants who are currently pursuing postgraduate studies elsewhere must outline in their application the scholarly grounds for transferring to the University of Helsinki.

For further information, please contact phd-admissions@helsinki.fi

Doctoral Programme in Psychology, Learning and Communication (PsyCo) has two application periods for doctoral study rights each year – one in the spring and one in the fall. A doctoral study right can only be gained through the admissions process.

The next rounds of applications will be held from

  • September 14th to September 27th, 2018
  • April 2nd to April 15th, 2019

Applications are submitted using an electronic application form, which will be open during the application period. The application form is open for viewing already before the beginning of the application period but some of the fields will only become visible once you start filling in the form.

Application form closes at 3 PM (Helsinki time) on the last day of the round of applications. If you are applying for a salaried doctoral candidate position at the same time as applying for a doctoral study right, please also acquaint yourself with the instructions related to applying for a salaried position before filling in the application form.

Even though you can apply for both a doctoral study right and a salaried doctoral candidate position with a single application, the applications are processed separately and you will be notified separately of the decision concerning your study right application and of the recruitment decisions for the salaried positions.

  • If you don’t yet have a doctoral study right at the University of Helsinki, you can either apply for only a study right or for a study right and for a salaried position at the same time. Applying only for a salaried position is not possible, as all salaried doctoral candidates must also have a doctoral study right.
  • If you already have a doctoral study right at the University of Helsinki, you can apply for a salaried position. Follow the instructions related to applying for a salaried position.

Application form

All applicants must submit the following documents as part of their application (points 1–4 are integrated in the electronic application form; points 5–7 are submitted as scanned attachments):

All applicants wishing to be considered must submit the following documents:

1. A research proposal is the most important part of your application. In the electronic application form, the research proposal is divided into the fields listed below. Prepare your research proposal right from the start to fit the different fields and their maximum lengths, so you won't need to start re-editing the proposal when filling in the application form.
Also, Kai Hakkarainen's (2014) article Structure and content of an academic research proposal might be useful for you.

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):

  • Preliminary title of the doctoral thesis
  • Field of research
  • Brief summary of the research plan (2000)
  • Motivation for conducting doctoral research (2000)
    Describe your motivation for conducting doctoral research in general and for this topic in particular. Also explain why you have chosen the doctoral programme you are applying to.
  • Baselines of the doctoral research (2000)
    How is the project linked to previous research? What are the most significant theoretical and methodological premises of the project?
  • Objectives of the research and scientific impact of research results (2000)
    What are the objectives of the project and their theoretical and methodological underpinnings? Shortly present the hypotheses and the research questions. Describe the expected research result and their anticipated novelty value in terms of the research field and the current scientific discussion on the research topic. You may also shortly outline the reach, potential applications and utilization value of the research beyond the scientific community.
  • Research methods (2000)
    Outline the research methods, described so as to explain how they will contribute to answering the research questions/confirming the hypotheses, or how they will support the chosen approach.
  • Research material to be used and its significance for the research project (1500)
  • Preliminary plan on the collection, usage and storage of the research material.  (1500)
    Briefly describe how you plan to collect the research material and use it. Are there any ethical, data protection or copyright issues related to data storage that need to be taken into account? Is it possible to make the data available for the use of other researchers? We do not expect you to master topics related e.g. to open access or to the legal and ethical issues related to data management (e.g. data protection, copyright issues) when you apply. It's enough that you have given the topic thought and recognised the preliminary data management questions that might arise related to your research data.
  • Ethical issues (1000)
    Are there ethical issues (e.g. ethical governance procedures, informed consent, and anonymity of subjects) that need to be taken into account when conducting the research? Does conducting the research require a research permit or a permit from the ethical board and/or the Animal Experiment Board? We do not expect you to be an expert of research ethical questions when you apply. The important thing is that you have considered the possibility of ethical issues related to your research topic and, if there are such issues, given preliminary thought on how to approach them.
  • The most important research literature and/or sources (2500)
  • Form of the dissertation (an article-based dissertation or a monograph)
  • Publication plan (1000)
    The preliminary outline of a monograph or, in case an article-based dissertation is planned, a preliminary publication plan for the articles.
  • Preliminary timetable and funding plan of your research (2000)
  • Grants and/or funded doctoral candidate positions applied / received thus far. (500)
  • Estimated year of graduation

2. Previously acquired knowledge supporting the dissertation project (the number in parentheses indicates the maximum number of characters per field, spaces included):

  • Previously acquired research knowledge
    Previous experience in research work, other scientific work and/or scientific merits, including possible academic awards and other academic acknowledgements.
  • Possible publications and conference presentations (1500)
  • International experience and other work experience relevant to your doctoral research (1500)
  • Possible career breaks (1500)
    Here you have the option to list reasons that may have caused delay in your studies (for example: possible family leaves, military or civilian service).

3. A study plan that must be approved by the supervisor. In the application form, there are two separate fields for the study plan; one for the discipline-specific studies and another for the general competence studies. Please acquaint yourself with the doctoral programme’s curriculum before drawing up your study plan. The curriculum is available at WebOodi.

The following fields related to the study plan are included in the electronic application form (the number in parentheses indicates the maximum number of characters per field, spaces included):

  • Preliminary study plan: Discipline-specific studies, 30 ECTS (1500)
  • Preliminary study plan: General competence studies, 10 ECTS (1500)
  • Possible completed doctoral studies so far (in ECTS)

4. The title and abstract of your Master´s thesis or equivalent, maximum length of abstract 750 characters (including spaces).

5. Supervision contract that must be signed by the applicant, responsible professor and supervisors.  Remember to also check any remuneration protocol. Unless your supervisors are full-time employees at the Faculty, they may expect remuneration for their supervision work. In case one of the supervisors expects remuneration, the contract must also be signed by Head of the Department.
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 and at least one of the supervisors must hold the title of docent or similar scientific qualifications. In addition to supervisors, each student needs to have a responsible professor, who may also serve as one of the dissertation supervisors. For further information on the requirements placed on supervision, please see the selection criteria section on this page.

6. 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.
N.B. The application form enables you to also submit documents related to your possible BA degree, should you so wish. However, submitting these documents is not obligatory.

7. 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.
NB.
If you have completed your previous degree in Finnish, the degree certificate is an acceptable way of demonstrating academic Finnish language skills.

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 6. and 7.  by post. For more information on the means of having the documents officially certified, please see here.

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.

Where to submit documents, please see here. For further information, please contact phd-admissions@helsinki.fi

Decisions on admissions for doctoral studies in the Doctoral Programme in Psychology, Learning and Communication 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.

In assessing the quality of applicants’ research and study plans, the programme considers feasibility, scientific significance, and suitability to the profile of the doctoral programme. Study plans are specifically assessed for their feasibility and appropriateness.

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 and at least one of the supervisors must hold the title of docent or similar scientific qualifications. Please see the supervision contract.

A supervision contract is required when applying. Supervision agreements are not binding at the application stage; they only become binding if the right to complete a degree is granted.

Professors involved in doctoral programmes can simultaneously supervise up to twelve (12) full-time doctoral students. Lecturers, docents, assistant professors and holders of similar positions can simultaneously supervise up to six (6) full-time doctoral students. The quotas are not absolute. They depend on how many full-time and part-time students a supervisor is in charge of, the supervisor’s previous performance in that role, as well as his or her research duties and other responsibilities in the University community. If a supervisor has signed a supervision agreement with more than one applicant, the applications must be ranked based on the feasibility and scientific significance of the research plan as well as the applicant’s prior academic performance.

In addition to supervisors, each student needs to have a responsible professor, who may also serve as one of the dissertation supervisors. The responsible professor may, in exeptional cases and for a justified reason, also be a person who is a docent, is familiar with the doctoral training and dissertation practices in the University of Helsinki and is in a permanent employment in the Faculty. In this case, the supervision arrangements go to the evaluation of the steering committee of the Doctoral Programme.

A doctoral study right can only be gained through the admissions process.

Applicants are required to have 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, please see the language requirements here.

DECISIONS

Applicants will be informed of the admission results, including the reasons for them by a letter of acceptance, to be sent by e-mail to the address given in the application. Admitted applicants must report whether they accept the offer by a specified deadline. Those who fail to report whether they accept the offer or to submit the requested documents by the deadline will lose their place.

Application period

Letters of acceptance to be sent by

Deadline for accepting the offer

Study right begins

September 14th to September 27th, 2018

30th Nov 2018

14th Dec 2018

1st Jan 2019

April 2nd to April 15th, 2019

14th Jun 2019

28th Jun 2019

1st Aug 2019

ONE PLACE RULE

The so-called one place rule has extended to cover all education leading to a university degree, including doctoral and licentiate degrees. The rule of one study place per term concerns all degree programme application options.

The main points are:

  • If you are offered more than one study place at a higher education institution leading to a university degree starting at the same term, you may accept only one of them

  • A place of study granted through a university-to-university transfer within Finland is not governed by this rule.

  • Accordingly, you may be completing several on-going degree programmes simultaneously, but only if your admission to these programmes has been granted in different terms.

APPEALS

Applicants dissatisfied with admissions decisions may appeal in writing to the faculty council within 14 days of the announcement of the admission results. Should you receive a decision rejecting your application, it will be accompanied by information on the appeals procedure.