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.
Admissions for doctoral studies
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.
In many ways, the most important person in the whole process of obtaining a doctoral degree is your supervisor. Thus, the first of all you need to find a supervisor for your PhD project. He or she will supervise your research and guide you through your studies. Applications to MATRENA require that you have a supervisor when you submit your application. An extensive list of MATRENA supervisors can be found here. After finding a potential supervisor, contact him or her to discuss your research ideas and plans. Please note that professors and principal investigators get dozens of emails from potential doctoral candidates. If you want to get your email noticed, you must give the professor/ principal investigator the information they need, quickly, clearly and professionally. 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 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|
*Please notice that the July application round is only for graduates from the University of Helsinki.
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, EEST/GMT+3 or EET/GMT+2) 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 2020. 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)
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.
Prepare your application carefully. Applications are submitted using an electronic application form, which will be open during the application period. All applicants wishing to be considered 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)
B. Attachments to the Electronic Application
- Copies of your previous degree certificate(s) (Master's degree or equivalent, if already obtained, and potential Bachelor's degree)
- Transcript of records for your previous degree(s) (Master's degree or equivalent and potential Bachelor's degree)
- Verification of language skills, if applicable
- A permit by an Ethical Review Board and/or by the National Animal Experiment Board, if required by the research arrangement
- A signed letter of commitment from the supervisor(s), who have agreed to supervise your thesis, and from the responsible professor. NOTE: If there are difficulties in obtaining the signatures due to corona virus situation, the supervisors can confirm their commitment to supervision to firstname.lastname@example.org.
C: Additional documents to be sent by post (NOTE: Only applicants whose previous degree is not from the University of Helsinki):
- An officially certified copy of your previous degree certificate (Master's degree or equivalent)
- An official transcript of studies included in the Master's degree (or equivalent)
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.
-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.
NOTE: The copies that are not certified as required will be invalid for the application process and the application will be rejected.
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:
FIN-00014 University of Helsinki
If sent via courier service, please use the following address:
Admission Services / University of Helsinki
Fabianinkatu 33, 1st floor
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.
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.