The Doctoral Programme has two application periods for doctoral study rights each year – one in the spring and one in the fall.
The next application period is from April 1, 2020 09:00 AM EEST until April 15, 2020 03:00 PM EEST.
Applicants will be informed of the decisions by June 12, 2020. Those granted a study right must accept it by June 22, 2020. Study rights granted in the autumn round of applications will begin on August 1, 2020.
The instructions on this page concern applicants who are applying for a doctoral study right. If you wish to apply for a salaried doctoral candidate position, please acquaint yourself with the instructions related to applying for a salaried position. Please note that 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.
Applications must be submitted via the online application form. Before submitting an application, applicants must contact teachers in the suitable field to receive instructions concerning the suitability of their research proposal for supervisory and research profile in the field of science (no supervisory assistance can otherwise be offered for the research proposal). Teachers’ email addresses can be found under each doctoral programme supervision information. You can find their research interests from University of Helsinki Research Portal. Email messages sent to teachers must be accompanied by a preliminary research proposal (max. 5 pages). Information about a potential supervisor is asked in the application form.
Supervisor’s approval form is not compulsory in this doctoral programme. If it is asked on the application form, please, submit an empty page or the e-mail conversation with your potential supervisors.
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 1-5 are integrated in the electronic application form; points 6-7 are submitted as scanned attachments and sent to the Admissions Services by post, please see the instructions below):
Electronic application form
The required documents to be attached to the form:
1. A preliminary research proposal.
The 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.
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.
Bibliography and 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
Before drawing up your own preliminary study plan, please acquaint yourself with the doctoral programme's degree requirements (please see the course catalogue of the programme). In the study plan, the important thing is that you have given thought on what kind of studies would best support your thesis work and drawn up a preliminary timetable for completing these studies.
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 summary of your Master´s thesis or equivalent, or a description of previous academic publications (maximum length 750 characters, including spaces).
5. Names of the supervisors, who have agreed to supervise your thesis.
N.B. A signed approval form from supervisors is not required when applying, but the applicant should be in contact with the potential supervisor(s) and discuss his/her preliminary study and research plans before applying. It is an applicant's own responsibility to find a supervisor.
6. Certified official copies of your degree diploma (Master's degree or equivalent) and transcript of studies and official translations of these documents (if needed)
If you have completed all the studies required for eligibility (please see section “Eligibility and Admission Criteria”), but have yet to graduate and receive your diploma, you still must include a certificate by official representative (e.g., Student Services Office) of the university admitting the degree and a detailed study transcript that clearly indicates that all the studies required for the degree have been completed, graded and registered before the end of the application period.
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. 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 documents mentioned in points 6. and 7. by post. The documents must be submitted as paper copies that are officially certified by the awarding institution, or legalised. There are country specific requirements for documents issued in some countries. For more information on the means of having the documents officially certified, please see here.