Doctoral Programme in School, Education, Society, and Culture

The aim of the Doctoral Programme of School, Education, Society and Culture (SEDUCE) is to provide PhD candidates with an in-depth knowledge on research-based teaching and learning. The programme is multidisciplinary including students from, for example, early education to adult education, educational studies, educational psychology, home economics, craft studies, and special education. The potential doctoral candidates include national and international students with an adequate Master’s Degree. The programme also invites school and higher education leaders, reformers, policymakers, and teachers who are interested in learning theories and research methods to meet the challenges of practice, particularly those related to equity and social justice in education.

SEDUCE has the following main focus areas for research:

Finnish schooling and education as a focus area includes multidisciplinary research:
-Political, historical and social formation of the Finnish schooling and educational system.
-Effects of education on learning,
-Practices and discourses of the classroom,
-Dynamics of transnational politics, policy-making and governance in the Finnish school system.
-Education in Finland in comparative and cross-cultural perspectives.

School Pedagogy emphasizes:
-Development of educational practices
-Significance of general and subject didactics in learning and teaching.
-Teachers' knowledge and the scientific basis of the teaching subject
-Research on didactics explores curricula and learning material.
-Topics of pedagogical thinking, learning how to learn and the ethical issues of learning.
-Interactive issues associated with teaching and learning.
-Educational practices in multiple contexts such as vocational and higher education, adult learning centres and work places.

Encountering diversities, social justice and equality involves multi-layered research on politics, cultures and practices related to:
-Globalization, marginalization, intercultural communication and interculturalism.
-Confronting societal differences such as age, gender, ethnicity, social class, language, religion, disabilities and sexual orientation concerning how differences are created and challenged via education.
-How educational politics and practices can support children, youth and adults living in the context of multidimensional inequality, marginalization, social exclusion, learning difficulties, discrimination, unemployment, poverty and crime.

Ethics of education focuses on a sustainable future related on the following themes:
-Active citizenship, global education and education in sustainable development.
-Equality and gender sensitivity in education.
-Studies on moral sensitivity and the spiritual questions of children and adolescents.
-Culture, art and everyday practices.
-Innovative learning environments and technology-supported collaborative learning.
-Epistemic agency in various contexts and age groups.
-Social, psychological and pedagogical wellbeing.
-Skills development and learning difficulties.

Planning to apply for a doctoral study right at our programme? To start with, please 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.


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 Univeristy's general rules concerning eligibility.

The doctoral degrees available within the Doctoral Programme in School, Education, Society and Culture (SEDUCE) are 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 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


Doctoral Programme in School, Education, Society and Culture 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. Application form closes at 3 PM (Helsinki time) on the last day of the round of applications.

Application form

All applicants must submit the following documents as part of their application (points 1–3 are integrated in the electronic application form; points 4–6 are submitted as scanned attachments):

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

1. A research proposal. The University of Helsinki research plan template is a useful support tool, as it will help you get a grasp on the kind of questions you should take into account when drawing up your research plans. 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):

  • Brief summary of the research plan (1500)
  • Significance of the project in relation to current knowledge (1500)
  • Motivation for conducting doctoral research (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)
    (Give a short description of how you plan to collect and use research data. You can also consider the best methods of data storage and the possibilities of opening your data 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.)
  • Critical points for success, alternative implementation strategies (500)
  • Ethical issues (1000)
    (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.)
  • 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)
  • Methods for ensuring open access
    The University promotes open access research, and several research funding providers also expect grant applicants to be familiar with the principles of open access publishing. When you apply for a study right, you are not expected to master the details of open access publishing - it's enough that you have given preliminary thought on where and how your research could be made openly available. 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 university aims to assure that all doctoral degrees include some sort of international activities. In this field, you can tell us of your own preliminary plans related to e.g. exchange studies, research visits or participating in international conferences.
  • The most important research literature and/or sources (1000)

2. A study plan that must be approved by the supervisor. In the application form, there are two separate fields for the study plan (max. 1500 characters each); 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.

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. 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. For further information on the requirements placed on supervision, please see the selection criteria section on this page. In case one of the supervisors expects remuneration, the contract must also be signed by Head of the Department.
Note. 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.

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.
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 5. and 6.  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

Should you have any questions about the postgraduate study right application process, contact: edu-research(at)

Please find practical information about studying in Helsinki at

Decisions on admissions for doctoral studies in the Doctoral Programme in School, Education, Society and Culture 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.

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.


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


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.


Applicants dissatisfied with admissions decisions may appeal in writing to the faculty council or a body appointed by it 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.

The next rounds of applications for salaried positions will be held from

September 14th to September 27th, 2018

More information coming later on procedure.


For the postgraduate course offerings and descriptions, please see WebOodi. You can also browse data in WebOodi without a UH username and password. Registration for courses takes place in WebOodi using a UH username and password. Remember to cancel your registration if necessary. You need a UH username and password to register for courses. When registering, log into WebOodi and see information about instruction.

Participation in postgraduate seminars must be agreed with the relevant coordinators. If the student wishes to include the credits earned for a seminar in his or her postgraduate degree, this must also be arranged with the supervisor. As a rule, students should take seminars related to their own topic.

COURSES IN 2018-2019. Please note these are preliminary and changes can occur.

SYKSY / Autumn 2018

SED-917 Julkaiseminen suomenkielisissä kasvatusalan julkaisuissa. To 6.9.–8.11 klo 16-18 (ei 11.10). Jukka Rantala ja Najat Ouakrim-Soivio              

Tilastollista päättelyä laadullista tutkimusta tekevälle. Ke 12.9 ja Ti 18.9 16.15–17.45. Jorma Kuusela    

SED-914; SED-915 Designing and developing standardized questionnaire for educational research using mixed methods research and SPSS. Ti 2.10.-30.10 klo 10-12 and 6.11, 20.11, 4.12 klo 14-16. Khalil Gholami.

SED-913 Relevant Texts on Learning and Education. Ma 1.10., 15.10., 29.10., 12.11., 26.11., 10.12., 14.1. 28.1., 11.2., 25.2. 16–18. Mikko Niemelä.

SED-918 Tieteenfilosofia kasvatustieteellisessä tutkimuksessa. Ke 31.10–5.12.2018. 16–18. Anniina Leiviskä.

SED-914; SED-915; PSYT-913 ja PSYT-915 Statistical Analysis Methods in Education. Starting at Thursday 6.9 at 4–6pm continuing until IVth period. Risto Hotulainen, Satu Koivuhovi ja Sanna Oinas

SED-914; SED-915 Video research in the Learning Sciences: Theoretical and methodological perspectives to video research. Kristiina Kumpulainen and Pirita Seitamaa-Hakkarainen. First meeting at November, workshops III-IV pediods.

KEVÄT /Spring 2019

SED-914; SED-915 Statistical analysis with SPSS. Wednesdays 16.1.–20.2.2019 16:00-19:00. Vesa Niskanen.

SED-913 Voimavarakeskeisiä lähestymistapoja jatko-opintoprosessiin. Ti 15.1.–19.2.2019 16-18.30. Arto Kallioniemi.

SED-913 The Future of Democracy and Education. More information announced later. Kristiina Brunila.

SED-914; SED-915 Visual research methodologies in Educational Sciences. To be announced later. Oona Myllyntaus and Rachel Sinquefield-Kangas


Seminaariin osallistumisesta sovitaan ohjaajan ja seminaarin vetäjän kanssa. Please discuss with your supervisor and person responsible in seminar on participation to a seminar.                                                    

SED-916 Learning, Culture and Interventions research seminars. Anu Kajamaa and Kristiina Kumpulainen

SED-916 Historiallis-yhteiskuntatiedollisen kasvatuksen tohtoriseminaari.  Ke 12.9, 18.9, 3.10, 7.11, 5.12, 9.1, 6.2, 6.3, 3.4, 8.5 klo 16:15–17:45. Jukka Rantala. Seminaariin kuuluu 23.8.-pe 24.8. Kaksipäiväinen seminaari Urho Kekkosen Arkistossa Orimattilassa

SED-916  CRADLE -research seminar.  Sami Paavola and Juhana Rantavuori.                       

SED-916; PSYT 916 Yliopistopedagogiikan keskuksen (HYPE) tutkijaseminaari. Noin joka kolmas maanantai klo 9.30-11. Auli Toom.

SED-916 Erityispedagogiikan Vaativan erityisen tuen tutkimusryhmän tapaamiset. Kerran kuukaudessa kokoontuminen. Elina Kontu.

SED-916 Collective Creativity –research seminar.  Seminaari kokoontuu kerran kuukaudessa keskiviikkoisin: 19.9; 24.10; 14.11; 12.12 aina klo 16-18. Kai Hakkarainen, Jari Lavonen, Kalle Juuti ja Pirita Seitamaa-Hakkarainen. Ilmoittaudu:

SED-916 Biologian opetus ja kestävän kehityksen kasvatus. Seminaari kokoontuu kerran kuukaudessa keskiviikkoisin. Kieli on suomi ja englanti. Ilmoittaudu:


Educational Data Mining (II pediod)

Etnografia metodologiana (II periodi)

Atlas.ti -ohjelma kvalitatiivisen aineiston analyysissa

Finnish Education System 5 op (spring 2019)                           

Social Justice and Diversities in Education 5 op (spring 2019)

HYMY Travel Grant 2018

Application period for Travel Grants for internationl travels has ended.


Doctoral Programme in School, Education, Society and Culture
P.O. Box 4
00014 University of Helsinki

Questions related to travel grants, dissertation completing grants and studying in SEDUCE -doctoral programme: hymy-doc(at)

Questions related to applying for doctoral study rights and dissertation process in Faculty of Educational Sciences:  edu-research(at)

Questions related to eligibility for doctoral studies, language requirements and application procedure: phd-admissions(at)

The Director of the Doctoral Programme
Professor Pirita Seitamaa-Hakkarainen

Vice Director of the Doctoral Programme
Professor Fred Dervin

Planning Officer
KM Hannele Pitkänen
Yliopistonkatu 3, 3rd floor
P.O. Box 4
FIN-00014 University of Helsinki Finland
Email hannele.pitkanen(at)helsinki

Members of steering committee 2018–2021
Professor Fred Dervin
Professor Lasse Lipponen
Professor Erika Löfström
University lecturer  Jan Löfström
Professor Juha Oikkonen
Professor Pirita Seitamaa-Hakkarainen, director
Professor Sirpa Tani
M.Ed. Laura Kortesoja
M.Soc.Sc Mikko Niemelä