Doctoral Programme in Atmospheric Sciences

The Doctoral Programme in Atmospheric Sciences educates the next generation of top-level atmospheric scientists and experts with all the necessary multidisciplinary skills to tackle the future challenges of climate change, air quality matters and environmental technologies. The supra disciplinary education will enable those experts to serve at different challenging positions in society and industry. Beside classical curriculum skills and knowledge, the education on the state-of-the-art measurement technologies (laboratory, ground-based and remote sensing), data-analysis and modelling (from box models to Earth system models) are emphasized.


The Doctoral Programme in Atmospheric Sciences (ATM-DP) invites letters of intent for doctoral studiesin order to bring together excellent doctoral student candidates from outside the network of ATM-DP and doctoral student supervisors within ATM-DP. Through this contact the best students will have significant advantage for future calls for funded doctoral student positions, as well as for other funding opportunities appearing within ATM-DP network.

More information about the call

Application form (opens May 1st)


The Doctoral School in Natural Sciences organizes events for all of its students:

  • Orientation for new doctoral students May 23th from 14 to 17. The event is meant for all new students (those who have started 1.1.2017 ->). There will be a official part including lots of information about studies and stuff and an unofficial part with food and drinks. More information and a link to registration are coming soon!
  • “How to manage with your PhD? Supporting skills and self-regulation of PhD students” is an event, which is organized in cooperation with HYVÄT ry and Center for Teaching and learning (HYPE). The event takes place in Kumpula Campus on May 30th from 9 to 12. More information and a link to registration are coming soon!

The University of Helsinki units participating in ATM-DP

Faculty of Science:
Institute for Atmospheric and Earth System Research (INAR)
Department of Chemistry (Analytical and Physical Chemistry)
Department of Geosciences and Geography

Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry:
Department of Forest Sciences

Faculty of Bio- and Environmental Sciences:
Ecosystems and Environment Research Programme

The research topics of ATM-DP include:

  • Aerosol and environmental physics
  • Aerosol-cloud-climate interactions
  • Air quality
  • Atmospheric chemistry
  • Atmospheric modelling
  • Biosphere-atmosphere interactions
  • Carbon, water, nitrogen and aerosol cycles and balances
  • Climate change effects and mitigation
  • Development of aerosol, remote sensing, radar, and environmental technology
  • Dynamic meteorology
  • Earth system modelling
  • Hydrology
  • Limnology
  • Oceanography
  • Remote sensing of ecosystem and atmosphere
  • Remote sensing of land cover and land use change
  • Snow and ice studies
  • Urban and indoor aerosols and health effects
  • Urban meteorology

The research groups in ATM-DP are among world-leaders in the related research fields. ATM-DP is in a strong symbiotic relationship with the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Atmospheric Science – From Molecular and Biological processes to the Global Climate (ATM). The education and knowledge transfer of the Centre of Excellence is formalized in ATM-DP, together with doctoral education in the University of Eastern Finland.

Atmospheric and Earth system sciences belong to the focus areas in the strategy of the University of Helsinki. The evaluation report of Physics Research in Finland (Academy of Finland, 2012) stated that the atmospheric science research in the University of Helsinki is outstanding and internationally highly esteemed.

The applications to the Programme are to be prepared in co-operation with the intended supervisor within the Programme. For those interested in applying for the programme but without contact to a supervisor, ATM-DP organizes in March-May 2018 a call for Letters of Intent. The best submitters of a Letter of Intent are contacted and the application is prepared. More information on the call for Letters of Intent will appear on these pages during spring.

Those who already have a contact to the intended supervisor, should start with reading the general information on the University of Helsinki Doctoral education and the information on the eligibility and educational documents required for applying.

During the academic year 2017-2018 the application periods for ATM-DP are as follows:

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

The electronic application form can be found here (also in Finnish and Swedish) during the application periods. Please, see below the sections 1-6 before filling the application. The possible questions concerning the call are to be sent to

Kindly note that the applications, along with the required additional documents, must be submitted by the end of the application period. Applications are submitted via an electronic application form, which closes at 15:00 (Helsinki time, UTC+3) on the last day of the round of applications. 


According to the Universities Act (558/2009) section 37, admission for studies leading to a postgraduate research degree can be granted to an applicant who has completed

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

Also applicants, who have not yet obtained their second cycle degree but have finalized the credits required for the degree, can apply. All credits required for a second cycle degree (or equivalent) education must be completed before the deadline for applications (see the table above), and a certificate of this degree must be presented before the doctoral study right can be granted (deadline for accepting the offer, see the table above).


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

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

A1. A research proposal including funding plan. Please use the University of Helsinki research plan template to draw up your research plan. Note that the plan can be added as an attachment by marking "yes" to "Research plan contains special characters, pictures, or diagrams"

A2. A study plan. Please acquaint yourself with the doctoral programme’s curriculum 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 within ATM-DP, who have agreed to supervise your thesis

B. Attachments to the Electronic Application

B1. Copies of your previous degree certificate(s) (Master's degree or equivalent, if already obtained, 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 English, Finnish or Swedish)

B4. A permit by an Ethical Review Board and/or by the National Animal Experiment Board, if required by the research arrangement

B5. A signed letter of commitment from the supervisor(s), who have agreed to supervise your thesis, and from the responsible professor. The letter can be made with the following form

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, if already obtained)

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 Finnish, Swedish or English.

Admission criteria for doctoral programmes in the Doctoral School in Natural Sciences
These guidelines apply to doctoral education for which applications can be submitted as of 1 August 2017. The guidelines will apply until further notice.


All applications must be submitted using the electronic application form. 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


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 prospective 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. See programme specific admission criteria for more details.

The doctoral programme's steering group assesses all applications to the programme that meet the formal requirements. The steering group 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 degree-awarding Faculty.

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.


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 call for university funded Ph.D. positions will take palce in Autumn 2018.  Please note that for this call, the applicant should have an agreement on a research project with the intended thesis supervisor within ATM-DP. If you would like to apply but have no contact with ATM-DP supervisors, you can seek such a contact by submitting a Letter of Intent in March-May 2018. More information on the call for Letters of Intent, as well as on the call for the salaried positions, will appear on these pages.

As of 1.8.2017 a doctoral degree at the Doctoral Programme in Atmospheric sciences consists of

  • a doctoral dissertation
  • scientific studies (at least 30 credits), and
  • studies in transferrable skills (10 credits).

The scientific studies consist of discipline-specific studies supporting the thesis research work as well as a course in research ethics. Compulsory courses in this module are: Research ethics (DONAS-401), 1 credit, Advanced analysis of atmosphere-surface interactions and feedbacks (ATMDP-003), 5 credits, and Postgraduate seminar (ATMDP-002), 2 credits. The course Climate change now (ATM-302), 5 credits, is recommended if the student does not possess necessary knowledge of climate change. The course Literature review in thesis subject (ATMDP-001), 1 credits, is recommended if the student does not have necessary knowledge of literature. Other courses in the module must be advanced-level courses in the master programme of atmospheric sciences which support the dissertation work. The courses can also be arranged by other institutes. The supervising professor will decide if the courses are suitable for the module.

The requirements for transferrable skills studies are common to all programmes of the Doctoral School in Natural Sciences and consist of

  • courses in different skills related to academic work (at least 4 cr; codes DONAS-1** or PED-5** or other suitable courses)
  • international activity and mobility (1-4 cr; codes DONAS-2**)
  • societal communication and organising tasks (codes DONAS-3**)

Information on degree requirements and courses offered can be found from the WebOodi Course Catalogue Service.

More information on the degree structure is also available on the University's general website on doctoral education.

Instructions for doctoral candidates on transferring to new degree structure (more detailed information can be found on Flamma).

Instructions for defending your PhD can be found here.

Travel sup­port for doc­toral stu­dents

Travel grants are intended to support doctoral students’ foreign and domestic travel for academic purposes (doctoral courses, learning in other research groups or participating in scientific conferences, seminars or workshops).  All doctoral students belonging to a doctoral programme at the DONASCI doctoral school may apply for travel grants.

More information and application periods at the DONASCI web pages.

Financial support for printing a doctoral dissertation

ATM-DP will cover the printing costs up to 300 EUR. Please contact the coordinator for more information.

The Doctoral Programme in Atmospheric Sciences offers both individual supervision and horizontal peer support for all doctoral candidates. Each candidate has up to three supervisors in order to ensure the required level of close contact with the student, level of academic expertise, and multi-disciplinary supervision. Additionally, all the candidates meet regularly in a guidance group, where students, post-doctoral researchers and professors share and acquire useful information both in practical and scientific issues.

The Programme carefully looks after the continuous planning and follow-up of the doctoral studies and of the succesfull co-operation between the candidate and the supervisors.

Board of the Doctoral programme in atmospheric sciences

Academy professor Timo Vesala (director)
University researcher Pauli Paasonen
Professor Jaana Bäck
Associate professor Mikael Ehn
University lecturer Anne Ojala
Professor Petri Pellikka
Professor Veli-Matti Kerminen
Doctoral student Carlton Xavier
Doctoral student Mika Rantanen

Coordination of the Atm-dp programme

The coordination of the programme is taken care of by the new PhD Office staff at the Kumpula Campus.

For more information about studies:

For more information about admissions:

For more information about pre-examination and approval of doctoral dissertations: for students in the Faculty of science and for students in other faculties.