Planning to apply for a doctoral study right at our programme? Good choice! To start with, you should read the University’s general instructions for doctoral applicants. 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. Unfortunately the MATRENA coordinator cannot help you to find a supervisor but 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 MATRENA.

The application process in a nutshell. Also to verify your eligibility when applying for a doctoral study right, you must submit certain educational documents to University of Helsinki. Read instraction from Eli­gib­il­ity and edu­ca­tional doc­u­ments.

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









15.4.2019 1.5.2019


28.6.2019 1.8.2019

After the call opens, the electronic form can be found  from the links in: Finnish, English and Swedish. 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. 

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.


Who can apply

According to the Universities Act (558/2009) section 37 eligible applicants for studies leading to a postgraduate 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.

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. 

All studies required for a second-cycle degree or equivalent education must be completed before the deadline for applications, and a certificate of this degree must be presented before the doctoral study right can be granted (deadline for accepting the offer)


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

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

1. A research proposal, including a funding plan. Please use the University of Helsinki research plan template

2. A study plan. Please acquaint yourself with the doctoral programme’s curriculum before drawing up your study plan

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

4. The name(s) of the  MATRENA supervisor(s), who have agreed to supervise your thesis. See the list of MATRENA supervisors.

Attachments to the Electronic Application

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

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

3. Verification of language skills, if applicable (see instructions for English, Finnish or Swedish)

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

5. A signed letter of commitment from the supervisors, who have agreed to supervise your thesis 

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

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

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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).

NOTE ALSO THAT all studies required for a second-cycle degree or equivalent education must be completed before the deadline for applications. 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.

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

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.


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.