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 Domast.

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 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.-27.9.2018 30.11.2018 14.12.2018 1.1.2019
1.-14.11.2018 31.1.2019 15.2.2019 1.3.2019
1.-14.2.2019 1.4.2019 15.4.2019 1.5.2019
2.-15.4.2019 14.6.2019 28.6.2019 1.8.2019

After the call opens, the electronic form can be found here. Please, see below the sections 1-6 before filling the application. 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 must be submitted before 15:00 Helsinki time on the last day of the admission period (either EEST/GMT+3 or EET/GMT+2).


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.

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


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

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

A1. A research proposal. You can enclose your research plan as an attachment (by selecting the 'Research plan contains special characters, pictures, or diagrams' option). In the (required) research plan fields on the form, you can write (e.g.) 'see attachment'.

In the electronic application form, the research plan is divided into the fields listed below (the number in parentheses indicates the maximum number of characters per field, spaces included):

- Preliminary title of the doctoral thesis
- Field of research
- Brief summary of the research plan (2000)
- Motivation for conducting doctoral research (2000)
- Baselines of the doctoral research (2000)
- Objectives of the research and scientific impact of research results (2000)
- Research methods (2000)
- Research material to be used and its significance for the research project (1500)
- Preliminary plan on the collection, usage and storage of the research material.  (1500)
- Ethical issues (1000)
- The most important research literature and/or sources (2500)
- Form of the dissertation (an article-based dissertation or a monograph)
- Publication plan (1000)
- Preliminary timetable and funding plan of your research (2000)
- Grants and/or funded doctoral candidate positions applied / received thus far. (500)
- Estimated year of graduation

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 name(s) of the Domast supervisor(s), 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, 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
B5. A signed letter of commitment from the supervisors, who have agreed to supervise your thesis


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.




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.