Admissions for doctoral studies

Being a doctoral student and having funding for the doctoral studies are two separate things. Therefore, applying to the programme can refer to two things:

  • applying for a right to pursue a doctoral degree (study right), or
  • applying for a salaried position in the doctoral programme.

This section describes the admission process, i.e., applying for the study right.

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.

The first criterion is to find a supervisor for your PhD project. For this, 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 DoCS.

The application process in a nutshell.

Starting in autumn 2017 the University of Helsinki will have common admission periods for doctoral candidates. 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 2020-2021 the admission periods are as follows:

Application period Letters of acceptance to be sent by Deadline for accepting the offer Study right begins
1.-15.9.2020 27.11.2020 11.12.2020 1.1.2021
3.-17.11.2020 29.1.2021 12.2.2021 1.3.2021
2.-16.2.2021 7.4.2021 21.4.2021 1.5.2021
1.-15.4.2021 10.6.2021 24.6.2021 1.8.2021
19.-30.7.2021* 27.8.2021 10.9.2021 6.9.2021

*Please notice that the July application period is only for graduates from the University of Helsinki.

After the call opens, the electronic form can be found here. Please, see the instructions below before filling the application. The possible questions concerning the call are to be sent to phd-admissions@helsinki.fi.

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 must be submitted before 15:00 Helsinki time on the last day of the admission period (either EEST/GMT+3 or EET/GMT+2).

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 right can be granted.

More specific criteria is given in the admission criteria for the Doctoral School in Natural Sciences.

APPLICATION DOCUMENTS REQUIRED BY ALL CANDIDATES

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

The application form calls for information on your research and study plan, skills that support writing a doctoral dissertation, the title and abstract of your master’s thesis, as well as details on your supervisory arrangements.

The research plan is the most important part of your application, and it must be entered into the specified fields in the application form, divided into the sections described below. Please prepare your research plan according to this division and the maximum number of characters including spaces for each section. More specific information can be found below and the application form is open for approximately two weeks before the call.

The application form sections concerning the research plan (maximum number of characters including spaces in parentheses): 

  • Preliminary title of the doctoral thesis 
  • Field of research (menu) 
  • Specification or additional information on the field of research (unrestricted text field) 
  • Brief summary of the research plan (2,000) 
  • Research plan contains mathematical special characters or chemical formulas 
  • Motivation for conducting doctoral research (2,000) 
  • Rationale for the research project (2,000) 
  • Objectives of the research and scientific impact of research results (2,000) 
  • Research methods and materials to be used and its significance for the research project (3,500) 
  • Preliminary plan on the collection, use and storage of research material (1,500) 
  • Ethical issues (1,000) 
  • Does the research project require animal testing 
  • The most important literature references for the research plan (2,500) 
  • Form of the dissertation (article-based or monograph) 
  • Publication plan and timetable for the articles or a preliminary outline of the monograph (1,000) 
  • Preliminary timetable of your research (2,000) 
  • Planned funding for the research project including received and applied notable funding thus far (1,000) 
  • Estimated year of graduation 

Previously acquired knowledge supporting the dissertation project and study plan (maximum number of characters, including spaces in parentheses): 

  • Previously acquired research knowledge (1,500) 
  • Possible previous publications and conference presentations (1,500) 
  • Possible international experience and other work experience relevant to your doctoral research (1,500) 
  • Possible career breaks (1,500) 

Preliminary study plan (maximum number of characters, including spaces in parentheses) 

  • Preliminary study plan: Discipline-specific studies, 30 ECTS (1,500) 
  • Preliminary study plan: Transferable skills, 10 ECTS (1,500) 
  • Previously completed studies applicable to your doctoral degree, if any 
  • Title and abstract of the master’s thesis or equivalent (750) 
  • Supervisory arrangements: supervisor(s) and thesis committee

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 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. 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 (an associate professor can also act as one) also has to sign the approval. See more on this under Supervision and support team. The members of the applicant's thesis committee have to sign the approval, too. NOTE: If there are difficulties in obtaining the signatures due to corona virus situation, the supervisors can confirm their commitment to supervision to kumpula-phd@helsinki.fi.

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 English, Finnish or Swedish.

SUBMITTING 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
Finland

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

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

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 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 (see the section on Admission periods above). Those who fail to report whether they accept the offer or to submit the requested documents by the deadline will lose their place.

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.

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.