Eligibility and educational documents

To verify your eligibility when applying for a doctoral study right, you must submit certain educational documents to University of Helsinki Admission Services. The documents must be submitted as paper copies. In submitting the documents, you must first follow the country specific requiremts. All educational documents must be officially certified by the awarding institution, or legalised. Officially certified copies issued by a Finnish notary public will also be accepted. Please also note any relevant country-specific requirements that must be followed first and foremost. If you have not graduated from the University of Helsinki you are required to deliver the educational documents also in paper (officially certified copies). Those graduated from the University of Helsinki only need to attach the documents to the electronic application form.

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

Detailed descriptions of the required educational documents, as well as the means of having your document copies officially certified / legalised and officially tanslated, is available in the sections below. Please read all the information and instructions carefully and make sure to follow them when you submit your application.

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.

You are required to submit the following educational documents as paper copies for the degree that you use as a basis for eligibility:

  • degree certificate
  • transcript of records

All educational documents must be officially certified or legalised (further information later on this page). Don't forget to also acquaint yourself with the country-specific requirements on attesting and submitting educational documents. In submitting the documents, you must follow the country specific requirements first.

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. 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.

A degree certificate is a document issued by an institution to a student who has successfully completed all studies included in the degree. The student has graduated. The degree certificate should include the name of the institution awarding the degree, the date of issue, and the name of the person to whom the degree certificate has been issued and which title/degree the person has been awarded.

A temporary (provisional) 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. A temporary degree certificate is not accepted if it was issued more than five years ago. In such cases, the applicant must present his or her final degree certificate.

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 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. 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.

It is important to note that a document stating only that the student has completed all the courses is not sufficient as a temporary degree certificate.

*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.

The official transcript of records should include the following information:

  • full titles of the units that the student has 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
  • 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.)

The transcript must cover the full length of studies. If the degree includes course units that the student has completed at another institution and the transferred credits are not indicated in detail on the transcript of records, a separate transcript of records regarding the transferred credits should be submitted. Please also note possible country-specific requirements when submitting the transcript of records..

University of Helsinki only accepts official transcripts of records.

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 must be followed first and foremost before any other requirements for document attestation. In addition, officially certified copies issued by a Finnish Notary Public are 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 in paper, but you do need to attach them to the electronic application form.

Official certification by the awarding institution

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

  1. taken directly from your original educational documents
  2. include every page of your educational documents
  3. bear 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)
  4. bear the original signature of the certifying officer

The officially certified copy can be sent to University of Helsinki either by the applicant or 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.

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 relevant country is a signatory to the Hague Convention of 1961. Documents supplied by countries that have ratified the Hague Convention are legalised by the issuance of an Apostille Certificate (stamp or paper certificate). 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.

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 here:

It also provides information about the authorities issuing Apostille Certificates in the various countries.

Legalisation

If the country issuing a document is not a signatory of the Hague Convention, a document is legalised by the foreign ministry of the issuing country, after which a competent Finnish Embassy or Finnish Consulate of that country legalises the document, certifying the competence of that foreign ministry official to issue such legalisation.

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:

  1. issued by the awarding institution
  2. an officially certified copy of a translation issued by the awarding institution
  3. translated by an official translator
  4. 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. Translations done by the applicant him- or herself are not accepted – the copies must be officially certified.

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.

Please take into account that the documents have to be at the Admission Services by the deadline that is given. The sender is always responsible for the delivery of the documents and meeting the deadlines in all cases.

When submitting attachments to your application to Admission Services, please make sure that you have included all the required documents and, in some cases, their translations. 

If you have graduated from the University of Helsinki, you do not need to deliver the documents in paper, but you do need to attach them to the electronic application form.

Mark clearly in the envelope which Doctoral Programme you are applying to.

Please note that Admission Services does not return any documents.

De­liv­er­ing doc­u­ments by post to Admission Services

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

Doctoral Programmes
Admission Services
P.O. Box 3
00014 University of Helsinki
Finland

Do not send the documents to any other address than the one that is mentioned above. If you deliver 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.

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
Admission Services
Fabianinkatu 33
00170 Helsinki
Finland

Do not send the documents to any other address than the one that is mentioned above. If you deliver 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.

De­liv­er­ing doc­u­ments 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.

Please don’t leave the documents anywhere else than the mailbox (e.g. give them to the janitor). Do not leave the documents to any other mailbox than the one that is mentioned above. If you leave documents to the wrong mailbox (e.g. faculty / doctoral programme), 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. The staff members of the Admission Services will not receive the documents in person. The door of the Admission Services is locked and you cannot deliver them there.

If you need advice regarding applying to the University, you can contact us by email (phd-admissions@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.