Students admitted to the Doctoral Programme in Particle Physics and Universe Science (PAPU) can complete the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. PAPU’s responsible faculty is the Faculty of Science.

The right to complete a degree may only be obtained through an admission procedure. The Doctoral Programme has five application periods for doctoral study rights each year – two in the spring, two in the fall and one in the summer (only for applicants who have completed their master's degree at the University of Helsinki). 

The application process in a nutshell

According to the Universities Act (558/2009) section 37 eligible applicants for studies leading to a postgraduate research degree have completed

  • An applicable second-cycle university degree
  • An applicable second-cycle degree from a university of applied sciences, or
  • An applicable education at an institution abroad providing eligibility for equivalent higher education in the country in question

If you have not graduated yet, you need to have your required studies (incl. thesis) completed, graded and registered by the end of the application period. Applicants who are granted study rights must be able to present a verified copy of their official degree diploma before accepting the offered study place.

Please read carefully the details of eligibility and required documents and the admission criteria (pdf) for the doctoral programmes in the Doctoral School in Natural Sciences.

In case of questions concerning application of doctoral study right, please send e-mail to

The application periods in the 2020–2021 academic year are 1–15 September and 3-17 November 2020, 2–16 February as well as 1-15 April and 19-30 July 2021. July application round is targeted only for graduates from the University of Helsinki.

In the September application round applicants will be informed of the decisions by November 27, 2020. Those granted a study right must accept it by December 11, 2020. Study rights granted in the September round of applications will begin on January 1, 2021.

The most important thing is to find a supervisor for your PhD project. Unfortunately, the PAPU coordinator cannot help you to find a supervisor but you must contact suitable researchers yourself. To get started, please see the contact information. You can also have a look at the list of our supervisors.

Once you have found a supervisor and agreed on a PhD project with them, the next step is to apply for a PhD study right. 

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+2) on the last day of the round of applications. 

After the call opens, the electronic form can be found at Studyinfo. The possible questions concerning the call are to be sent to

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.

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 (pdf) 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 -address.

C: Ad­di­tional doc­u­ments to be sent by post (NOTE: Only ap­plic­ants whose pre­vi­ous de­gree is not from a uni­versity in Finland):

  • 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 a university in Finland. 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 FinnishSwedish 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.

If you send the documents by post, please send the documents to the following address:

Doctoral Programmes / name of the programme
PhD Admission Services
P.O. Box 3
00014 University of Helsinki

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

Doctoral Programmes / name of the programme
PhD Admission Services
Fabianinkatu 33
00170 Helsinki

Granting the right to complete a degree

The steering group of each doctoral programme assesses the applications of all applicants to the programme who meet the formal requirements. 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 steering group then draws up an admission proposal for the faculty’s decision-making. This proposal indicates the names of the admitted and rejected applicants, together with the reasons for each decision.  The final decision on admitting an applicant to complete the degree is made by the degree-awarding Faculty.

Target degrees

The primary postgraduate degree offered at the University of Helsinki is a doctoral degree. The right to pursue postgraduate studies is always requested and granted with a doctoral degree as the primary goal. However, a Licentiate degree can also be completed in the disciplines represented by each doctoral programme. Faculties which grant the right to complete a doctoral degree (Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Philosophy (Pharmacy)) in the Doctoral Programme in Chemistry and Molecular Sciences are the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Pharmacy.

Announcement of admission results and acceptance of a place offer - one place rule

The faculty responsible for the target degree will announce 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. Admitted students who fail to notify the University of their acceptance of a place and to submit the relevant documents by the date determined by the University will lose their right to pursue studies.

Section 38 of the Universities Act states that applicants may accept only one place in a degree programme that leads to an academic degree and begins in the same term.

The main points of the one place rule 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, as referred to in sections 82 and 83 of the Universities Act.