The doctoral education system of the University of Helsinki consists of four doctoral schools and 32 doctoral programmes. New doctoral candidates apply doctoral programme membership at the same time as they apply postgraduate study right at the doctoral programme.

Planning to apply for a doctoral study right at CHEMS? Great! To start with, you should read the University’s general instructions for doctoral applicants and instructions for the educational documents you are requested to submit to verify your eligibility. Once you’re acquainted with those, come back here to read more about the programme-specific selection criteria and instructions for applicants.

First of all you need to find a supervisor for your PhD project. You must contact suitable researchers yourself. To get started, please see the list of our supervisors.

Once you have found a supervisor and agreed on a PhD project with him/her the next step is to apply for a PhD study right at CHEMS.

The application process in a nutshell.

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. During the academic year 2018-2019 the admission periods are as follows:

Application period Letters of acceptance to be sent by Deadline for accepting the offer Study right begins



14.12.2018 1.1.2019
1.-14.11.2018 31.1.2019



1.-14.2.2019 1.4.2019


2.-15.4.2019 14.6.2019 28.6.2019


After the call opens, the electronic form can be found here (in Finnish, Swedish). Please, see the sections 1-6 below before filling the application. The possible questions concerning the call are to be sent to phd-admissions (at)

Please 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) on the last day of the round of applications.

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.


The following admission criteria apply to the programmes in the Doctoral School in Natural Sciences, including the Doctoral Programme in Chemistry and Molecular Sciences (CHEMS)

1. General information

Student admission to the doctoral programmes is based on the University of Helsinki’s general admission guidelines for doctoral education as well as the programme-specific details.

All postgraduate research students pursue a doctoral degree. The right to complete a degree may only be obtained through an admission procedure. The application periods in the 2017–2018 academic year are indicated on the table above.

If you have questions about the admission procedure, please contact

2. Eligibility

Pursuant to section 37 of the Universities Act (558/2009), eligible applicants for studies leading to a 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.

Also applicants, who have not yet obtained their second cycle degree but have finalized the courses required for the degree, can apply. All studies (including the Master's thesis or equivalent) required for a second-cycle degree or equivalent education must be completed before the deadline for applications. The applicant must be able to present the degree certificate before the deadline for accepting the offer (see table above for relevant dates).

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.

3. Admission criteria

Admission criteria for doctoral education 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 prospective doctoral programme, the suitability of the research proposal for the research profile of the doctoral programme as well as the ability to complete the studies in the target duration. The applicant’s potential and motivation will be assessed on the basis of the quality and feasibility of the research proposal as well as previous academic performance and research experience. The ability to complete the studies in the target duration will be judged on the study plan, research proposal and funding plan. The study plan will be assessed specifically for its feasibility and appropriateness. Before submitting their application, applicants must request a supporting statement from their dissertation supervisor(s) which will be sent separately to the Admission Services by post.


4. Application documents required

Applicants wishing to be considered must submit the following documents in Finnish, Swedish or English:

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

A1. A research proposal, including a funding plan. Please use the University of Helsinki research plan template to draw up your research plan.

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 CHEMS supervisors, 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 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, unless proven by the Master's degree (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. Use template below.


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 Finnish, Swedish or English.

C4. A supporting statement by the dissertation supervisor(s). A separate statement submitted by the supervisor(s) directly to the University of Helsinki admissions service.

Applicants can also submit other enclosures to demonstrate that they have the knowledge and skills required to complete a doctoral degree. The Administrative Procedure Act (434/2003) stipulates that applicants must be provided a reasonable period to supplement a deficient application. Applicants have two weeks to supplement a deficient application, such as a supporting statement by the supervisor(s).

 Applicants for the right to complete a doctoral degree must enclose with their application a copy of their degree diploma and a transcript of studies or of other certificates with which they wish to demonstrate that they have the required knowledge and skills. The copies accompanying the application (incl. of the diploma) must be certified; however, certificates of language tests must be original certificates from the awarding institution. The other documents attached to the application must be in Finnish, Swedish or English, or a translation into one of these by an authorised translator that includes the translator’s signature and stamp. Copies of the degree diploma and the transcript of studies are sufficient if the degree that provides eligibility for postgraduate studies under section 37 of the Universities Act was completed at the University of Helsinki. Applicants must have the language proficiency specified in the University of Helsinki’s general admission guidelines.

5. Submitting the application

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

6. Granting the right to complete a degree

The steering group of each doctoral programme assesses the applications of all applicants to the programme who meet the formal requirements. 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 steering group then draws up an admission proposal for the faculty’s decision-making. This proposal indicates the names of the admitted and rejected applicants, together with the reasons for each decision.  The final decision on admitting an applicant to complete the degree is made by the degree-awarding Faculty.

8. Target degrees

The primary postgraduate degree offered at the University of Helsinki is a doctoral degree. The right to pursue postgraduate studies is always requested and granted with a doctoral degree as the primary goal. However, a Licentiate degree can also be completed in the disciplines represented by each doctoral programme. Faculties which grant the right to complete a doctoral degree (Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Philosophy (Pharmacy)) in the Doctoral Programme in Chemistry and Molecular Sciences are the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Pharmacy.

9. Announcement of admission results and acceptance of a place offer - one place rule

The faculty responsible for the target degree will announce 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. Admitted students who fail to notify the University of their acceptance of a place and to submit the relevant documents by the date determined by the University will lose their right to pursue studies.

Section 38 of the Universities Act states that applicants may accept only one place in a degree programme that leads to an academic degree and begins in the same term.

The main points of the one place rule 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.

10. Appeals

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, as referred to in sections 82 and 83 of the Universities Act.