Salaried positions

On this page you can find information for applying to the university funded doctoral candidate positions. The application period is usually in September.

Other ways of funding a PhD project is a salary paid by the supervisor or a personal grant from a private foundation applied by the doctoral candidate him/herself. Doctoral candidates may also fund their studies themselves or pursue their degree in tandem with work.

More information about funding at www.helsinki.fi/en/research/doctoral-education/funding

The University of Helsinki annually allocates funding to doctoral programmes for employing doctoral students in salaried employment relationships (salaried positions). These doctoral student positions are designated as full-time work. The aim is that doctoral students employed by the University will complete their degree in four years. 

In 2019 the application period is 3–17 September. Both current University of Helsinki doctoral students and new applicants planning doctoral studies are eligible to apply for these positions. The right to pursue a doctoral degree can be applied for at the same time as a salaried position.  The electronic application form will be available at the beginning of the application period.

NB. The 2019 call includes additional positions earmarked in particular for projects on artificial intelligence and AI solutions in all fields of science and scholarship. You can apply for these positions for a full 4-year period by filling in the extra fields reserved for the purpose in the electronic application form.  

Please read the application instructions below carefully.  If you are planning to also apply for the right to pursue a doctoral degree, remember to read the relevant instructions carefully at the application process in a nutshell.

The doctoral student’s employment relationship in a salaried position in a doctoral programme 

Doctoral student positions are aimed at enabling full-time work on dissertations and postgraduate studies, with the goal of completing a doctoral degree in four years. The exact duration of employment and its start and end dates are determined in the employment contract. 

The salary and other further details concerning the employment relationship are available in the call for applications.

Who is eligible to apply for a salaried position in a doctoral programme?  

You can apply for a salaried position in a doctoral programme if you are currently a doctoral student at the University of Helsinki or planning to pursue a doctoral degree. 

If you have already been granted the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, you can apply for a salaried position, provided you have not yet spent a total of four years in the position of a salaried doctoral student. 

If you do not yet hold the right to pursue a doctoral degree, you can apply for the right with the same application. In that case, please carefully read the instructions pertaining to applying for the right to pursue a doctoral degree. 

Applying for a salaried position 

Applications for an employment relationship in a doctoral programme are submitted by completing an electronic form and enclosing the required attachments. 

If you already have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki and you are applying for a salaried position in your doctoral programme:

  • Read the application instructions.
  • Complete the electronic application form.

 If you already have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki and you are applying for a salaried position in a doctoral programme other than your own, you have to reapply for the right to pursue a doctoral degree if the granting faculty or your target degree change. You can apply for the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the same time as applying for a salaried position or in the next application round of the relevant doctoral programme. Please note that applying in a later application round may impact the start date of your potential employment.

If you do not yet hold the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki, you can apply for the right at the same time as you apply for a salaried position or in the next application round of the relevant doctoral programme. Please note that applying in a later application round may impact the start date of your potential employment.

If you are applying for the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the same time as applying for a salaried position:

  • Read the application instructions pertaining to salaried positions.
  • Read the instructions pertaining to applying for the right to pursue a doctoral degree and submit the required attachments (degree diploma, transcript of studies, proof of language proficiency).
  • Complete the electronic application form.

Please also note that if you are applying for a salaried position and/or the right to pursue a doctoral degree in several doctoral programmes, you must complete a separate application form for each programme.

Further information on applying for a salaried position and the right to pursue a doctoral degree can be found under Frequently asked questions.

Application form

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 (in the case of certain programmes).

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. If your research plan contains mathematical symbols or chemical equations, you can enclose the plan as an attachment. Please prepare your research plan according to this division and the maximum number of characters for each section. 

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

  • Dissertation topic (preliminary title) 
  • Field of research(menu) 
  • Specification or additional information on the field of research (unrestricted text field) 
  • Language of dissertation
  • Other language skills needed for completing the doctoral dissertation
  • 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) 
  • (If applicable: Clarification of the research plan as far as it relates to Artificial Intelligence (2500))
  • The most important literature references for the research plan (2,500) 
  • Format 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 for your research (2,000)    
  • Planned funding for the research project including received and applied notable funding thus far (1,000)
  • Estimated year of public defence 

Previously acquired knowledge supporting the dissertation project and the study plan (CV) (maximum number of characters, spaces included):   

  • 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, spaces included) 

  • Preliminary study plan: Discipline-specific studies, 30 cr (1,500) 
  • Preliminary study plan: Transferable skills, 10 cr (1,500) 
  • Studies completed transferable to a doctoral degree, if any

Title and abstract of the master’s thesis or equivalent (750) 

Supervisory arrangements: supervisor(s) and thesis committee (see programme-specific instructions on the doctoral programme web pages).

Assessment of applications and decisions 

Applications are assessed based on the quality of the research plan, as well as the supervisory arrangements or their availability. Also assessed are the abilities and motivation demonstrated in conjunction with completing a previous degree or in another manner to complete a doctoral degree in accordance with a research plan and a supporting study plan. The topic of the research plan must suit the profile of the doctoral programme.  

The board of the doctoral programme makes a proposal on the doctoral students to be appointed to salaried positions. The decision on the appointments is made by the director of the relevant unit.

If you are offered a salaried position, you must receive the right to pursue a doctoral degree in the relevant doctoral programme within the six-month trial period for the position.

The names of the appointees will be published on the doctoral programme websites by 15.12.2019. All applicants will be personally notified of the decisions. 

Please apply for a position using the electronic application form. The application period will open on 3 September 2019 and close on 17 September 2019 at 15.00 (local Helsinki time).  

If you are unable to find an answer to a question in these instructions, please check Frequently asked questions . Further information can be requested by writing to phd-positions(at)helsinki.fi . 

You can apply for the position if you have not yet graduated. In this case, a relevant academic degree (MSc, MD or equivalent) in a field suitable for their thesis project should be completed and obtained no later than 31.12.2019.

In the electronic application form, you need to attach a copy of your degree diploma. If you do not yet have received your degree diploma, you can attach a for example an empty page.

If your research plan contains mathematical symbols, you can enclose the plan as an attachment. In other cases, enclosing the plan as a separate attachment is not necessary. Please notice that if you attach your research plan as a separate attachment, it needs to contain all the information that is asked in the electronic application form (use the same subtitles as in the electronic application form) and also follow the given maximum numbers of characters.

In addition to the electronic application form, a recommendation letter from your (intended) supervisor is required. The recommendation letters are sent using the electronic application and they need to be written in English. If you have not graduated (as MSc or equivalent) by the end of the application period, your supervisor needs to give an account of the status of your studies and estimate the graduation day in his/her recommendation letter. Also, in this case you need to present a feasible study plan towards graduation in your application. Deadline for the recommendation letter is 20.9.2019 at 16.00 (local Helsinki time).

Please notice that the research plan needs to be written in English.

The board of the programme evaluates the applications. Short-listed applicants may be interviewed before selections.

If you are applying also for the right to pursue a doctoral degree, please carefully read the instructions pertaining to applying.