Admissions to doctoral studies

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.

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 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.

It’s important that you make sure in good time before applying that you are eligible to apply for doctoral studies. The following things are considered when evaluating eligibility:

  • General requirements related to your academic background.
  • Language requirements.
  • Verifying your academic background and language skills following the given instructions.
  • Fulfilling the minimum requirements for supervisory arrangements determined in the doctoral programme’s selection criteria.

Only applications meeting the formal criteria for eligibility continue to scientific evaluation in the doctoral programmes. Please see the University's general rules concerning eligibility.

Please note that due to the Corona virus situation there is an exceptional deadline for submitting enclosures in the September 2020 application round.

To be able to apply, you must have your Master’s degrees studies (or equivalent) completed. If you have not yet graduated, you need to have all the studies (incl. thesis) required for the degree you apply with completed, graded and registered by the end of the application period. This must be confirmed in a free-of form certificate by an official representative (e.g., Student Services Office) of the university awarding the degree. Applicants who are granted a study right must be able to present a certified copy of their official degree diploma before accepting the offered study place.

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

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 application period is from September 1st, 2020 09:00 AM EEST until September 15, 2020 03:00 PM EEST.

Applicants will be informed of the decisions by November 27, 2020. Those granted a study right must accept it by December 11, 2020. Study rights granted in the autumn round of applications will begin on January 1, 2021.

Applications are submitted using an electronic application form, which will be open during the application period. You’ll find the link to the form in the section ‘Submitting the application’.

Prepare your application carefully, concentrating on the sections below, supervision arrangements and in addition, to the educational documents required to support your application. Please, prepare your application and its documents in good time before the deadline.

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):

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 (menu)
  • Specification or additional information on the field of research
  • Language of the dissertation
  • Other language skills needed for completing the doctoral dissertation
  • Brief summary of the research plan (2000)
  • Research plan contains mathematical special characters or chemical formulas (yes/no)
  • 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.
  • Rationale for the research project (2000)
    How is the project linked to previous research? What are the most significant theoretical and methodological premises of the project? Also remember to justify the research design.
  • 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 and materials to be used and its significance for the research project (3500)
    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.
  • 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 statement 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.
  • Does the research project require animal testing? (Yes or no)
  • The most important literature references for the research plan (2500)
  • Form of the dissertation (an article-based dissertation or a monograph)
  • Publication plan and timetable for the articles or a preliminary outline of the monograph (1000)   
  • Preliminary timetable for your research (2000)   
  • Planned funding for the research project including received and applied notable funding thus far (1000)
  • 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 (1500)
    Previous experience in research work, other scientific work and/or scientific merits, including possible academic awards and other academic acknowledgements.
  • Possible previous publications and conference presentations (1500)
  • Possible 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 preliminary 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):

  • Discipline-specific studies, 30 ECTS (1500)
  • General competence studies, 10 ECTS (1500)
  • Completed doctoral studies (in ECTS) so far, if any

4. The title and summary of your Master's thesis or equivalent (750).

5. Supervision contract that must be signed by the applicant, responsible professor and supervisors. The supervision contract will be attached to the application form to the spot "Approval (supervisors and the responsible professor)". If there's difficulties in obtaining the signatures due to corona virus situation, the supervisors can confirm their commitment to supervision to edu-research@helsinki.fi -address.
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 FinnishSwedish 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 Eligibility and educational documents -pages.

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.

Application form

The certified hard copies of additional documents must be delivered by post / courier to the Admissions Services of the University of Helsinki. For instructions on how to submit your documents, please see Eligibility and educational documents -pages.

N.B. Due to the corona virus situation there is an exceptional deadline for submitting additional documents in the September application round. Please see the detailed instructions in the university’s general instructions for doctoral applicants.

Applications and additional documents sent by email are not accepted. Incomplete applications are not considered.

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

If you have technical problems relating to the application form itself, please contact aava-admin@helsinki.fi

Please find practical information about studying in Helsinki at https://www.helsinki.fi/en/the-helsinki-programme.

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.

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.

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 1st to September 15th, 2020

27th Nov 2020

11th Dec 2020

1st Jan 2021

April 1st to April 15th, 2021

10th Jun 2021

24th Jun 2020

1st Aug 2021

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.

 

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.