Aiming for a doctoral degree?

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By selecting a degree programme you are able to see the general content as well as the possible degree programme-specific content. You do not have to select a degree programme to see the Open University's instructions.

A doctoral degree provides a wide range of knowledge and skills for employment, whether as a researcher or an expert carrying out demanding tasks beyond academia. Doctoral graduates from the University of Helsinki possess in-depth knowledge of their research field and its social significance as well as knowledge of research methods in the field, and are able to critically apply the methods to the production of new scientific knowledge. They can also offer unique professional expertise in, for example, the management of extensive projects, the reporting of results, the resolution of problems and general scientific thinking.

If you aim to complete a doctoral degree, you should start preparing well in advance!


You are eligible to apply for the right to complete a scientific postgraduate degree if you have completed a master’s degree. The date of completing the master’s degree has an effect on when you can apply for the right to pursue postgraduate education.

All studies required for a master’s degree must be completed by the end of the application round you choose to participate in. So plan your graduation timetable well in advance, bearing in mind the application deadlines for doctoral education.

How to apply?

The University of Helsinki has four doctoral schools, which offer a total of 33 doctoral programmes. Depending on the programme, there are two to five application rounds per year. You should read the application instructions in good time and find out about the application deadline for the programme you are interested in.

The University’s general application instructions and information on doctoral programmes can be found on the University’s external website. Read these instructions first and then go to the website of your prospective doctoral programme for detailed information on application criteria, the submission of applications and minimum requirements for supervision arrangements.

You should also start looking for supervisors in good time, preferably a few months before applying. Most doctoral programmes require that at least tentative supervision arrangements have been made by the time you submit your application.

Guidance for applying

You can find answers to most questions about the application process in the instructions for applicants. But if need be, you can always also contact the University’s Admission Services at

For more information on doctoral programmes, their supervisors, and on the research plan required for your application, you should contact the staff of the relevant programme. You can find their contact details on the websites of the doctoral programmes and doctoral schools.