FAQ on Doctoral Education Pilot

Here you can find answers to frequently asked questions about doctoral education pilot. The questions are divided into subcategories. Please note that this page is updated frequently, but the latest answers are always available on application instructions. If there is a contradiction between the two pages, please follow the instruction page's guidelines.
Applying to the Doctoral Education Pilot

When is the application period to the doctoral education pilot at the University of Helsinki?

  • The application period will open on April 2 and close on April 22, 23:59. All times local Helsinki time (East European Summer Time, UTC +3).

Will there be another application period in the fall?

  • There may be another call in the fall if all the positions are not filled in the first call.

Who can apply?

  • Anyone who has not been granted a right to study for a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki before November 2023 can apply. The applicant must also be eligible to be awarded a right to study for a doctoral degree at University of Helsinki. The applicant must make sure they are eligible to apply for a doctoral study right at University of Helsinki within the study right application schedule in September 2024. For more information on requirements to study for a doctoral degree, please see visit How to Apply to Doctoral Programmes.

Do I need to have a right to study for doctoral degree when I apply?

  • No, but you must receive the right within the 6 months’ probationary period. If the applicant fails to receive a study right, the employment contract is terminated after the probationary period. For more information on requirements to study for a doctoral degree and application periods, please see visit How to Apply to Doctoral Programmes.

Can I receive the right to study for a doctoral degree from in pilot application?

  • No. You must apply in a separate call for a study right. For more information on requirements to study for a doctoral degree and application periods, please see visit How to Apply to Doctoral Programmes.

Do I need to have a Master's degree?

  • Your Master’s degree (or equivalent) must be completed by the start of your employment contract. For further instructions about eligibility, see our website

Do I need to have an English language certificate?

  • You do not need to submit a language certificate when you apply for a pilot position. Please note however, that if you do not yet have a doctoral study right at the University of Helsinki, you must apply for it separately and then a language certificate is required. For further instructions about language requirements, see our website. For more information on requirements to study for a doctoral degree and application periods, please see visit How to Apply to Doctoral Programmes.

Do I need to have a Master's degree?

  • Your Master’s degree (or equivalent) must be completed by the start of your employment contract as a doctoral researcher. For further instructions about eligibility, see our website

Do I need to have a language certificate?

  • You do not need to submit a language certificate when you apply for a pilot position. Please note however, that if you do not yet have a doctoral study right at the University of Helsinki, you must apply for it separately and then a language certificate is required. For further instructions about language requirements, see our website

Do I need to submit officially certified copies of my educational documents?

  • You do not need to submit officially certified copies of your educational documents when you apply for a pilot position. Please note however, that if you do not yet have a doctoral study right at the University of Helsinki, you must apply for it separately and then these are required. For further instructions about application enclosures, see our website.

Do I need to submit a translated version of my educational documents? 

  • If you have an English version of your educational documents, these would be preferred. If your documents are in another language, you do not need them translated. Please notice however that you need to submit either Finnish, Swedish or English versions of your education documents when you apply for a doctoral study right. More information about this is on our website

How do I submit my application? 

  • Applications are submitted via the University of Helsinki’s recruitment system. Applications sent in any other way will not be considered. 

What attachments do I need? 

  • Please see a list of required attachments in the application instructions. 

Can I submit a recommendation letter or some other documents which I think would benefit my application? 

  • No. Only the required attachments listed in the application instructions will be read. 

Is it necessary to write up an intersectoral mobility plan while applying with a supervisor and research plan?

  • An intersectoral mobility plan is a part of the research plan and will be a criteria of evaluation. As one aim of the doctoral pilot is to increase intersectoral mobility during and after doctoral studies, we strongly recommend that you have some idea of an intersectoral mobility plan already when applying.

Can we include figures in our research plan or supervisor plan?

  • Both the research and supervision plans may contain figures if both documents stay within the allotted page limits and all sections under the permitted character counts.

Can I write my attachments in Finnish or Swedish? 

  • No. All attachments must be written in English. 

Where do I find the criteria for a doctoral thesis?

  • The criteria for a doctoral thesis can be found on the websites of each faculty, and the applications are written in accordance with them.

I forgot an attachment from my application. How can I add it? 

  • You can edit your application until the end of the application period. Please see instructions about the recruitment system here

I do not yet have a doctoral study right at the University of Helsinki. What do I put in the application form where it asks about my doctoral programme?

  • If you do not have a doctoral study right, you need to fill in in your desired doctoral programme and faculty. Please see a list of all doctoral programmes on the university website.  

Where do I find information about the pilot consortia? 

  • The themes of the consortia, including a list of supervisors, are published on our website. 

I want to apply but my research interest does not fit in any of the themes. What to do? 

  • Your research plan/research idea must fit thematically in the pilot theme you are applying for. 

Can I apply to more than one consortia? 

  • You can submit a maximum of two applications. If you submit more than two applications, only the two latest applications will be considered. 

Who can be a supervisor? 

  • Please check the instructions from the pilot theme you are applying to. 

Does the supervisor need to have an employment contract with the University of Helsinki for the duration of the pilot project?

  • The applicant must submit a supervision plan describing the research environment and supervision arrangements. The plan may also mention the continuity of supervision arrangements. 

Does my supervisor have to be listed on the website for me to apply? 

  • Please check the instructions from the pilot theme you are applying to. 

Do I need a supervisor to apply? 

  • No, you can apply without a supervisor through the so-called second pathway. When you apply through this pathway, you need to suggest at least one supervisor for your research project. You can find a list of potential supervisors on the consortia’s website. Please read the supervisors’ research areas so you can suggest a supervisor who is a good match for your research project. 

How long are the employment contracts? 

  • The contract is for 36 months. 

When can I start my employment contract? 

  • The first cohort starts on 1 August 2024 and the second cohort on 1 January 2025.  

What if I do not graduate by the end of my contract? 

  • The aim is to plan the research project so that it is possible to leave the thesis for pre-examination by the end of the contract.

Is there additional funding for those who do not graduate in time? 

  • The contract is for 36 months. The aim is to plan the research project so that it is possible to leave the thesis for pre-examination by the end of the contract. The Doctoral School will provide different forms of support for the doctoral researchers to reach this goal, including transferable skills training, monitoring PhD projects, and organising various events and other activities. Mandatory thesis committee meetings every six months will follow up and support the progress to help the doctoral researcher and the supervisors to adjust the project well in advance to meet the target time. There is no allocated funding by the university for candidates who do not meet the 36-month time frame.

What kind of support does applicants from outside EEA countries receive?

  • Doctoral researchers from outside the EEA countries are constantly coming to the university. We offer to all employees coming from abroad help and information for the immigration bureacracy and other practicalities of moving to Finland. At the university of Helsinki  we also have events and programs (e.g. a UniBuddy programme) to ease integration into the Finnish society, and and active community of internationals at UH, with events of their owns The relevant information can be found on this website. Employees coming from outside EEA are given a Hosting Agreement, which is the only document from the employer side needed to apply for a (researchers) residence permit. The international HR will contact all incoming staff also personally, and there is a monthly webinar for both the pre-arrival and post-arrival phase.

What is the competency assessment like?

  • As part of the selection process, we utilize a set of online assessment tools that evaluate skills and competencies relevant for success in these doctoral researcher positions. Invitations to the Assessment system will be sent to all eligible candidates by Friday, April 26th, at 20:00 (EEST), and online assessments (taking about 1 h) need to be completed by Tuesday, April 30th, at 8:00 (EEST). You will need a smartphone or a computer with a working microphone and web-camera for this part of the process. Those participating in this part of the process will receive personal automated feedback reports after completing the assessment.
  • Online assessments measure the abilities, behaviors and competencies required for this role. Assessment process combines aptitude and skills tests and one competence questionnaire. These are all based on the criteria on the job ad. You will get your results directly after you finish tests. It is not necessary to prepare for the assessments, as everybody will get a chance to practice question types before the actual tests. However, if you do want to prepare in advance and learn more, please check the website.

Will there be a job interview in the evaluation process? 

  • No, there will not be interviews. 

How does the University of Helsinki ensure a transparent and accessible evaluation?

  • The University of Helsinki is committed to promoting equality and preventing discrimination in all its activities. In cooperation with HR, clear guidelines will be drawn up for the evaluators. The criteria and assessment matrices will be delivered to them, and the University of Helsinki’s rules for conflict of interest are taken into account in the evaluation. Evaluators are sought and received from doctoral programmes, flag ships and other application consortia, including members from other universities and international experts.

What is the role of doctoral programmes in the evaluation process?

  • Each doctoral researcher belongs to a doctoral programme at the University of Helsinki, and these programmes evaluate applications for study rights. In the recruitment process, applicants, in particular those without a right to study, will be reviewed and approved in the doctoral programme boards during the evaluation round.

How are applicants from outside EEA countries evaluated?

  • Doctoral researchers from outside the EEA countries are constantly coming to the university. We offer to all employees coming from abroad help and information for the immigration bureacracy and other practicalities of moving to Finland. At the university of Helsinki  we also have events and programs (e.g. a UniBuddy programme) to ease integration into the Finnish society, and and active community of internationals at UH, with events of their owns The relevant information can be found on this website. Employees coming from outside EEA are given a Hosting Agreement, which is the only document from the employer side needed to apply for a (researchers) residence permit. The international HR will contact all incoming staff also personally, and there is a monthly webinar for both the pre-arrival and post-arrival phase.
Support During the Doctoral Education Pilot

Will the Doctoral School provide support for the doctoral researchers during the funding period?

  • Yes. The Doctoral School will provide many forms of support for the selected doctoral researchers. This include: recruitment, transferable skills training and monitoring of theses projects. The Doctoral School also organizes events and other activities which support the aims of the pilot. Mandatory thesis committee meetings every six months will follow up and support the progress to help the doctoral researcher and the supervisors to adjust the project well in advance to meet the target time. 
  • Each doctoral researcher position is supported by the Doctoral School for their work related travel. In addition, a predetermined amount of costs related to the doctoral researcher’s research project and supervision can be targeted to Doctoral School. Both the travel support and the research costs support are subject to reporting at the thesis committee meeting every 6 months documented in the UH’s Thessa system. This means that the thesis committee members and supervisors must be registered in Thessa during the first three months of the project to comply with the Thesis Committee meetings schedule starting at Month 3. Further, a Thesis Committee meeting must be reported regularly every 6 months to support timely completion of the thesis project.

Is there additional funding for those who do not graduate in time? 

  • The contract is for 36 months. The aim is to plan the research project so that it is possible to leave the thesis for pre-examination by the end of the contract. The Doctoral School will provide different forms of support for the doctoral researchers to reach this goal, including transferable skills training, monitoring PhD projects, and organising various events and other activities. Mandatory thesis committee meetings every six months will follow up and support the progress to help the doctoral researcher and the supervisors to adjust the project well in advance to meet the target time. There is no allocated funding by the university for candidates who do not meet the 36-month time frame.

How many supervisors should I have?

  • The University of Helsinki recommends that you have at least two supervisors, because this has been shown to enhance supervision.

Does the supervisor receive material funding? How much?

  • This depends on the pending funding decision given by the Ministry of Education and Culture.