Admission process in the DoCS programme

Who can apply

If you want to apply for a doctoral study right in the DoCS programme, you must fulfill the general rules of eligibility. In addition to that, your previous degree must be relevant to the planned research topic and discipline. A degree is regarded as relevant, if it includes sufficient studies in Computer Science, and it can be regarded as a suitable basis for doctoral studies. Typically, such a previous degree for the DoCS students has been a MSc degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Data Science, Mathematics, Statistics or some other related discipline.

To be able to apply for a doctoral study right, all the studies required for your previous second-cycle education or equivalent education degree you apply with must be completed before the end of the relevant admission period. A certificate of this degree must be presented before the doctoral study can be granted. 

Admission criteria

The Doctoral School in Natural Sciences has a common admission criteria, and these criteria are used for admission of new doctoral students to the DoCS programme. The admission criteria will apply until further notice.  

The admission criteria include the applicant’s potential for success in academic postgraduate education, the quality and feasibility of the applicant’s research proposal, the applicant’s motivation, and the supervisory and other resources available for the research. Other criteria include the applicable content of previous studies to the DoCS doctoral programme, the suitability of the research proposal for the research profile of the doctoral programme as well as the applicant's ability to complete the studies in the target duration.

Language proficiency in Finnish, Swedish or English is a prerequisite for admissions to the University of Helsinki. More information about proving your language skills in FinnishSwedish, or English.

Admission periods

Currently, the DoCS programme has annually four admission periods. During Academic year 2017-2018, the admission periods are as follows:

Admission period Study right begins
1.-14.9.2017 1.12.2017
1.-14.11.2017 24.1.2018
1.-14.2.2018 12.4.2018
3.-16.4.2018 2.7.2018

Finding a supervisor

Before you can apply for a doctoral study right in the DoCS programme, you have to find yourself a supervisor within the programme, who works in the field of your interests and who is willing to supervise you. Information on who can be a supervisor in the programme is available under Supervision and support team. Generally, a supervisor is a professor and/or principal investigator employed by the department. In case you need help for this process, you can contact the DoCS coordinator (researchcoordinator(at) for advice.

Note! If you are not able to find a supervisor who is willing to supervise your studies, you cannot be admitted to enrol as a doctoral student in the DoCS programme.

Application documents

When you have found a supervisor for yourself, then you can start together with your supervisor to set up your application, and, especially, your research proposal (including funding plan) and study plan.

All applicants applying for a study right in the DoCS programme must submit the following documents:

A. Electronic Application (form open during the application period), including

A1. A research proposal. Please use the University of Helsinki research plan template to draw up your research proposal. Note that if your research proposal is longer than the fields on the application form, or if it contains special characters, pictures, or diagrams, answer "Yes" to the corrensponding field on the application form. Then you can attach your research proposal in the pdf format to your application.

A2. A study plan. Please acquaint yourself with the degree requirements of the DoCS programme before drawing up your study plan.

A3. The title and summary of your Master´s thesis or equivalent or a description of previous academic publications.

A4. The names of the supervisors, who have agreed to supervise your thesis. If your main supervisor is not a professor, then the name of the supervising professor is needed, too. See more on this under Supervision and support team.

B. Attachments to the Electronic Application

B1. Copies of your previous degree certificate(s) (Master's degree or equivalent and potential Bachelor's degree).

B2. Transcript of records for your previous degree(s) (Master's degree or equivalent and potential Bachelor's degree).

B3. Verification of language skills, if applicable (see instructions for FinnishSwedish, or English).

B4. A permit by an Ethical Review Board and/or by the National Animal Experiment Board, if required by the research arrangement. Usually, this is not required in the DoCS programme.

B5. A DoCS signed approval from the supervisors, who have agreed to supervise your thesis. If your main supervisor is not a professor, then the responsible professor also has to sign the approval. See more on this under Supervision and support team. The members of the applicant's support team have to sign the approval, too. 

C. Additional documents to be sent by post (applicants whose previous degree is not from the University of Helsinki)

C1. An officially certified copy of your previous degree certificate (Master's degree or equivalent).

C2. An officially certified copy a of detailed transcript of studies included in the Master's degree (or equvalent).

All educational documents must be either officially certified by the awarding institution, or legalised, unless the degree has been awarded by the University of Helsinki. Officially certified copies issued by a Finnish Notary Public will also be accepted. Please note, however, that there are country-specific document requirements in place for some degree-awarding countries. Documents from these countries must be attested or submitted in a certain way. These Country-Specific Requirements must be followed first and foremost, before any regular requirements for attesting documents.

C3. Verification of language skills. The University of Helsinki demands an indication of academic level language skills of all applicants. See information on the options of verifying your language skills in either FinnishSwedish, or English.

Submission of the application

All applications must be submitted using the online application system. The required additional documents must be sent by post and must arrive by the end of the application period. Applications and additional documents sent by email are not accepted. Incomplete applications are not considered.

The required additional documents should be sent to:

Admission Services
P.O.Box 3
FIN-00014 University of Helsinki

If sent via courier service, please use the following address:

Admission Services / University of Helsinki
Fabianinkatu 33, 1st floor
00170 Helsinki

Note that to be able to apply for a doctoral study right, all the studies required for your previous second-cycle education or equivalent education degree you apply with must be completed before the end of the relevant admission period. A certificate of this degree must be presented before the doctoral study can be granted (befor the deadline for accepting the admission offer). 


The purpose of student selection is to assess the motivation, commitment and aptitude of the applicants for studies. The right to complete a doctoral degree is granted on the basis of diplomas, certificates and other documents. The admission criteria include previous academic performance, the applicable content of previous studies to the doctoral programme, the study plan and the research proposal. 

When selecting students for doctoral education, it must be ensured that the admitted students have access to high-quality supervision and support related to the topic of their doctoral dissertation. Applications can be rejected if no suitable supervisor can be designated for the dissertation. In the DoCS programme, you must have a committed supervisor within the programme before you apply for a study right in the programme.

The Board of the DoCS programme assesses all applications to the programme that meet the formal requirements. The board draws up an admission proposal indicating the names of the admitted and rejected applicants, together with the reasons for each decision. The final decision is made by the Faculty of Science.

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.

Timetable for the decisions, deadlines for accepting the offer and default dates for the beginning of the study right in Academic year 2017-2018 are the following:

Application period Letters of acceptance to be sent by Deadline for accepting the offer Study right begins
1.-14.9.2017 16.11.2017 30.11.2017 1.12.2017
1.-14.11.2017 9.1.2018 23.1.2018 24.1.2018
1.-14.2.2018 28.3.2018 11.4.2018 12.4.2018
3.-16.4.2018 15.6.2018 29.6.2018 2.7.2018

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.


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.

More information

In case you have general questions related to the admission, please, contact the University Admission Services at In more DOCS-specific questions you can contact the DoCS coordinator Pirjo Moen at researchcoordinator(at)