Eligibility and educational documents

Please read this whole page carefully. Failing to follow these instructions may lead to your application being rejected.

To verify your eligibility when applying for a doctoral study right, you must submit certain educational documents to University of Helsinki Admission Services within a set time limit. The documents must be submitted as paper copies. All educational documents must be officially certified by the awarding institution, or legalised. There are country specific requirements for documents issued in some countries. You must follow these country specific requirements, as they replace these general instructions.

Officially certified copies issued by a Finnish notary public will also be accepted, unless there is a country specific requirement in place. If you have graduated from the University of Helsinki you do not need to submit paper copies of your documents. Even in this case, you must attach the documents to the application form as PDF-files.

University of Helsinki evaluates the authenticity of your educational documents. Any malpractice (e.g. counterfeit documents or fraudulent information) will be reported to the relevant university and the authorities.

On this page you will find detailed descriptions of the required educational documents, as well as the means of having your document copies officially certified / legalised and officially translated. Please read all the information and instructions carefully and make sure to follow them when you submit your application.

Check the country specific requirements here, and then return to this page

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.

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. Doctoral programmes may have additional, programme-specific / degree-specific rules for eligibility – please see the doctoral programmes' websites for further information.

If your degree gives you a provisional / conditional eligibility for doctoral studies in the country where the degree has been awarded, you must also submit documentation proving you have filled this condition.

Submit the following educational documents as paper copies for the degree that you use as a basis for your eligibility for doctoral studies (usually master’s degree or equivalent). The required documents are:

  • degree certificate
  • transcript of records

All educational documents must be officially certified or legalised (further information later on this page). Don't forget to acquaint yourself with the country-specific requirements that may concern attesting or submitting educational documents. If there is a country specific requirement in place for your documents, you must follow the requirement. The country specific requirements replace the general instructions explained on this page. If your document’s language is other than Finnish, Swedish or English, an official translation to one of these languages must also be submitted.

There are some programmes you can apply to even if you have not yet graduated. This is dependent on the programme, so always check the website of the relevant doctoral programme. The main rule is that all studies included in your degree must be completed and registered by the end of the application round. If you have not graduated by the time the application period for the programme ends, you are required to submit an officially certified copy of your latest transcript of records (please also note country-specific requirements).

General information on degree certificates, transcripts, official translations, and officially certified (attested) copies can be found below.

If your degree awarding institution gives out transcripts or degree certificates only in electronic form, contact phd-admissions(at)helsinki.fi. In this case, the degree awarding institution must provide a reliable way for the electronic documents to be verified.

A student who has received a degree certificate has graduated. The degree certificate is a document issued by an institution to a student who has successfully completed all studies included in the degree. The degree certificate must include the following information:

  • name of the institution awarding the degree
  • the date of award/conferral of the degree*
  • the name of the person to whom the degree certificate has been issued
  • which title/degree the person has been awarded

*The date of award/conferral of the degree means the date when the degree was awarded/conferred to you, i.e. the date when you are officially given the recognition and status of holding the academic degree you have completed. This is not necessarily the date of the graduation ceremony, as there is often a delay between the award/conferral date and the graduation ceremony.

Please note that possible country specific requirements are to be followed before these instructions.

NB: Never send us your original degree certificate, as enclosures to applications will not be returned. Only send attested copies of degree certificates.

A temporary (provisional) degree certificate is a document issued by an institution to a student who has been awarded or conferred an academic degree. The holder of a temporary degree certificate has graduated. The temporary degree certificate is issued as a replacement for the actual degree certificate e.g. in case the actual degree certificate cannot be given to the student immediately after the studies have been completed due to technical or administrative reasons. Please note that a document stating only that the student has completed all the courses is not sufficient as a temporary degree certificate.

The temporary degree certificate must include:

  • the name of the institution awarding the degree
  • the date of award/conferral of the degree*
  • the name of the person to whom the temporary degree certificate has been issued
  • which academic title/degree the person has been awarded.

A temporary degree certificate is accepted if it was issued no more than five years earlier. The five-year validity period begins from the date on which the degree was conferred and must not expire prior to the application deadline. If the temporary degree certificate was issued more than five years ago you must present your final degree certificate, as the temporary degree certificate will no longer be accepted.

*The date of award/conferral of the degree means the date when the degree was awarded/conferred to you, i.e. the date when you are officially given the recognition and status of holding the academic degree you have completed. This is not necessarily the date of the graduation ceremony, as there is often a delay between the award/conferral date and the graduation ceremony.

Please note that possible country specific requirements are to be followed before these instructions.

The official transcript of records should include the following information:

  • full titles of the units that you have completed for the degree
  • completion times of study units (or at the very least the overall study time at the institution)
  • grades obtained
  • credits awarded
  • information on the grading scale used at the institution at the time of study

The transcript must cover the full length of studies. If the your degree includes course units that you have completed at another institution and the transferred credits are not indicated in detail on the transcript of records, you must submit a separate transcript of records regarding the transferred credits (e.g. a transcript of records from an institution where you did exchange studies). Please also note possible country-specific requirements when submitting the transcript of records.

If you have not yet graduated the transcript of records must include the name of the degree that will be awarded to you when you graduate (Master of, etc.) If you have not yet graduated, all the studies included in the degree, must be completed and written on the transcript of records by the application deadline. In some programmes, there may be exception to this rule.

University of Helsinki only accepts official transcripts of records.

Please note that possible country specific requirements are to be followed before these instructions.

University of Helsinki does not accept regular photocopies of educational documents. All educational documents must either be officially certified (attested) by the awarding institution, or legalised (see below). For some countries, there are country-specific document requirements that override any other requirements for document attestation. Always follow the country specific requirements. If there is no country specific requirement, officially certified copies issued by a Finnish Notary Public are also accepted. Look for further information from the website of your Local Register Office (Maistraatti).

NB! Please note that officially certified copies issued by notaries public in other countries are not accepted without legalisation.

If you have graduated from the University of Helsinki, you do not need to deliver the documents as paper copies. You do need to attach the documents to the electronic application form as scanned PDF-files.

Official certification by the awarding institution

Officially certified copies of academic documents can be issued by the awarding institution. If you request officially certified copies from the awarding institution, make sure that the copies you submit to University of Helsinki meet the following criteria:

  • copy was taken directly from your original educational documents
  • copy includes every page of your educational documents
  • copy bears the original stamp of the awarding institution on each page of the document
    • e.g. a generic stamp stating only “Certified true copy” will not be accepted
  • copy bears the original signature of the certifying officer

The officially certified copy can be sent to University of Helsinki either by the applicant or by the awarding institution. In either case, the applicant is responsible for assuring that the required documents arrive to the UH Admission Services by the end of the application period and that the documents meet UH requirements.

Legalisation of documents

If you cannot obtain officially certified copies of your academic documents from the awarding institution, you may submit legalised copies of your academic documents. Legalisation takes place by two different means depending on whether the country where the documents were issued is a signatory to the Hague Convention of 1961.

Documents issued in countries that have ratified the Hague Convention are legalised by the issuance of an Apostille Certificate that is a stamp or paper certificate attached to the documents. Documents issued by other countries are legalised in two steps: first by the foreign ministry of the issuing country, then by a competent Finnish Embassy or Finnish Consulate of that country.

1.       Apostille

The Apostille Certificate (stamp or paper certificate) is necessary if the document has been issued by the authorities of a country that has ratified the Hague Convention of 1961. Information on the Hague Convention as well as an English language list of its member states can be found through the link below.

Convention of 5 October 1961 Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents

The same link also provides information about the authorities issuing Apostille Certificates in the various countries.

2.       Legalisation without the Apostille Certificate

If the country where your educational documents have been issued is not a signatory of the Hague Convention, a document is legalised in two stages. First the foreign ministry of the issuing country legalises the documents. Then a competent Finnish Embassy or Finnish Consulate in that country certifies the competence of that foreign ministry to issue such legalisation. In the process you need to contact both the country’s foreign ministry, and a competent Finnish representative office for that country.

Note the country specific requirements for legalisation of documents. If your educational documents have been issued in a country that has specific requirements for submitting or legalising of documents, follow the specific requirements.

If your educational documents are issued in a language other than English, Finnish or Swedish, official translations of them to one of these languages are required. Officially certified copies of the original documents must also be submitted. An official translation must be one of the following:

  • issued by the awarding institution (original document)
  • an officially certified copy of a translation issued by the awarding institution
  • translation by an official translator (original document)
  • an officially certified copy of a translation made by an official translator

Each page of an official translation must bear the translator’s stamp and/or signature. Official translations must be exact translations of the original documents. Ordinary copies of official translations are not accepted, but the copies must be officially certified. Translations done by the applicant him- or herself are not accepted.

You can apply for a study right if all studies included in your Master’s degree (or equivalent) have been completed, but you have not yet graduated. All the studies included in your degree must be in your transcript of records by the end of the application period. The transcript of records must be submitted according to the instructions on this page.

Ask your study programme’s administrational staff for a free-form statement affirming that you have completed all studies included in your degree, and submit the statement to Admission Services. If you have not yet graduated, but have completed all your studies, you may be granted a study right conditionally.

If you are granted a study right conditionally you must be able to submit a degree certificate before the deadline for accepting the study place. The degree certificate must be submitted according to the instructions on this page. If you are unable to submit a degree certificate by the deadline of accepting the study place, you will lose the offered study place.

There is an exception to this rule in some doctoral programmes. If you have not yet completed all your studies, check from your programme’s own instructions, if you can still apply.

If you are completing your studies in University of Helsinki you do not need to submit paper copies of your transcript of records or degree certificate. You must submit your degree programme’s statement that you have completed all studies included in your degree. The transcript of records must also be attached to the electronic application for as a PDF-file. In the application form, mark your estimated date of graduation. If you are granted a study right conditionally, inform the Admission Services when you have officially graduated. Admission services will check your graduation from the student registry.

University of Helsinki Admission Services has several offices. Submit your documents only to the address mentioned on this page. Submitting your documents to the wrong office slows their processing considerably.

You can send the documents to Admission Services by post to the P.O. Box address, deliver the documents by using a Courier Service, or deliver them to the mailbox of the Admission Services yourself. Please note that the documents have to be at the Admission Services by the end of the application round in question. You are always responsible for the delivery of your documents and meeting the deadlines in all cases.

Make sure that you have included all the required documents and possible translations to Admission Services.

If you have graduated from the University of Helsinki, you do not need to deliver the documents in paper. You do need to attach the documents to the electronic application form as PDF-files.

Mark the Doctoral Programme you are applying to clearly on the envelope.

Please note that Admission Services does not return any documents, so do not submit e.g. your original degree certificate.

 

1.    De­liv­er­ing doc­u­ments by post to Ad­mis­sion Ser­vices

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
Finland

Always send your documents to this address. If you deliver your documents to a wrong address (e.g. doctoral programme / faculty), the documents will officially be received only when they are forwarded to the Admission Services of University of Helsinki by the incorrect receiver.

 

2.    De­liv­er­ing doc­u­ments by us­ing a Cour­ier Ser­vice

If you send the documents by using a Courier Service (e.g. UPS, DHL, FedEx), please send the documents to the following address:

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

Always send your documents to this address. If you deliver your documents to a wrong address (e.g. doctoral programme / faculty), the documents will officially be received only when they are forwarded to the Admission Services of University of Helsinki by the incorrect receiver.

 

3.    De­liv­er­ing the doc­u­ments yourself to the Ad­mis­sion Ser­vices mail­box

If you wish to deliver the documents in person, you need to leave the documents to the mailbox of the Admission Services of University of Helsinki. The mailbox is located inside the main building of the University, outside the office of the Admission Services at Fabianinkatu 33.

Do not leave the documents anywhere else than the Admission Services mailbox in the UH main building (e.g. give them to the janitor or your supervisor). If you leave documents to the wrong mailbox, the documents will officially be received only when they are forwarded to the Admission Services of University of Helsinki by the incorrect receiver.

Do not de­liver the ap­plic­a­tion doc­u­ments to in­di­vidual staff mem­bers of the Ad­mis­sion Ser­vices or other UH staff. The staff members of the Admission Services will not receive the documents in person. The documents can only be left in the Admission services mailbox.

  • I am eligible to my chosen doctoral programme
  • I know if there is a country specific requirements for my educational documents. If so, I follow the requirement
  • I have a degree certificate and an official transcript of records for the degree on the grounds of which I am applying to doctoral studies
  • If I haven’t graduated yet, all studies included in my degree are on my transcript of records, and I have my degree programme administration’s statement about this
  • I have official translations of my educational documents if their original language is not English, Finnish or Swedish
  • I have acquired officially certified copies of my educational documents either from my degree awarding institution or from the right authority
  • I am delivering my documents to the right office of Admission Services

If you need advice regarding applying to the UH, you can contact us by email (phd-admissions(at)helsinki.fi) or, if you are in Helsinki, book an appointment from an admission adviser. Please note, however, that the admission advisers cannot receive the application documents or give any feedback about them.