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Doctoral Education, University of Tampere (Spring 2018)


Section 37 of the Finnish University Act (2009/558) defines eligibility for studies leading to a scientific or artistic postgraduate degree as follows:

An eligible person must have one of the following:

  1. an applicable higher university degree
  2. an applicable higher university of applied sciences degree or
  3. an applicable education completed abroad which in the awarding country gives eligibility for corresponding higher education.

Moreover, the Faculty of Social Sciences requires that applicants who have completed a higher university of applied sciences degree or a Master’s degree of less than 120 ECTS abroad demonstrate the following:  Familiarity with the key theoretical concepts of the field, foundations for scientific theory and research ethics, and mastery of the research methods at a level that is necessary for successfully completing a dissertation. This proficiency must be demonstrated by providing an account of completed studies related to the
above-mentioned areas. The account must indicate the content and scope of the studies. Furthermore, the application must contain a summary and the final grade of the applicant’s thesis for the higher university of applied sciences degree.

The Universities Act stipulates that a University may require a postgraduate student to complete supplementary courses to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to complete a postgraduate degree in the arts or sciences.

Doctoral programme specific admission criteria and evaluation criteria can be found at section Admission criteria. Language requirements can be found at section Language requirements.

Hakukohteen kuvaus monihakukohteisessa valinnassa

The call for applications for the doctoral programme in philosophy is organised twice per year, in April and in October.

The application period for doctoral studies commencing in the autumn of 2018 will be during 3 April - 2 May 2018. The application period ends at 15.00 (local time).

Specific application deadlines will be confirmed each year. Under exceptional conditions, applications for doctoral studies can be processed outside the two admission rounds.

Applications are submitted through an electronic application system at . Please see more information at What is studyinfo?. Please note that after submitting your application you may receive requests for enclosures. A link to the application form is available during the application period.



The Doctoral Programmes at the Faculty of Social Sciences follow mainly the general language requirements for academic English that have been set for international degree programmes at the University of Tampere. Thus, the applicant must submit evidence of good command of English for academic purposes. There are two ways of indicating English language proficiency: language tests and previous studies.

Language tests:

We accept the following tests (minimum scores listed) as proof of good command of English:

  • TOEFL, Test of English as a Foreign Language: 90/Internet-based, 575/paper-based
  • (NB: scores from "TOEFL ITP / institutional testing programme" are not accepted.)
  • IELTS (Academic), International English Language Testing System: 6.5 with no individual score below 5.5
  • PTE (Academic), Pearson’s Test of Academic English: 62

Please note that the language test score must be valid during the application period. Language test results are valid for two years.

Previous studies:

If you have one of the following, you do not need to submit a language test score:

A Master’s degree in completed in English language from a University in a EU/ EEA country, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom or the United States.


All the doctoral programmes at the Faculty can take approximately 60 new doctoral students based on the application rounds for 2018.

Tulosten julkistaminen ja oikaisumenettely

The selection results are announced before the beginning of the following term. The selections made in spring 2018 are announced by 20 June, 2018. The date by which the selections made in autumn 2018 are announced will be published later. Applicants are notified of the selection results by post.

An applicant who is dissatisfied with the student selection may submit a written request for reconsideration to the Faculty Council. Such requests must be submitted within 14 days of the declared announcement date. The request, together with the reasons, shall be addressed to: University of Tampere, Registry (Kirjaamo), 33014 University of Tampere, Finland.

One study place per term provision

A person accepted at a Finnish university or a polytechnic may accept only one study place in a degree programme leading to a higher education degree during one academic term.

Confirmation of the right to enrol

To maintain your right to enrol in the degree programme, you must fill in and deliver the confirmation form you receive from the University of Tampere. The confirmation must reach the University of Tampere by 11 July, 2018 at 3 pm local time, at the latest. If your confirmation has not arrived by the date indicated above, you will lose your right to enrol in the degree programme.


New doctoral students must enrol at the UTA Registrar's Office. More detailed instructions on enrolment are enclosed with the letter of acceptance. Before enrolling, a new doctoral student must present at the Faculty office the original certificates and transcript for the degrees and studies he/she has referred to in his/her application and their authorised translations in English, if the originals are in another language.

Doctoral students are required to re-enrol at the beginning of each academic year according to instructions given by the University. Only students enrolled as 'present' may pursue studies at the University.

Doctoral students who fail to enrol either as 'present' or 'absent' within the given deadline will lose their right to study and their right to use the computer services provided by the University. Should students later wish to continue their studies, they must make a written request to the Faculty requesting re-admission.


The Scientific Postgraduate Committee assesses the ability and commitment of the applicants according to the following principles:

  • The scientific quality of the research plan, the suitability of the methods and materials to the research question, the realism and clarity of the research plan
  • The suitability of the research topic for the Doctoral Programme
  • The practical or theoretical relevance of the research in its own field
  • The realistic feasibility of the study plan
  • The applicant’s academic success at undergraduate and graduate level
  • The applicant’s methodological and theoretical abilities
  • The applicant’s language proficiency
  • The availability of competent supervision resources within the Faculty

The Scientific Postgraduate Committee may also assess the applicant’s level of suitability and motivation by interviewing him/her. Assessments of individual doctoral students are not made public.

General eligibility criteria can be found at section Genral eligibility criteria. Language proficiency criteria can be found at section Language proficiency criteria.

The Faculty may restrict the number of its doctoral student intake based on insufficient supervision resources.

A person who wishes to apply to Doctoral Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences must contact a potential Supervisor at least a month prior to the application deadline. The Supervisor can be a Professor or a Docent (Adjunct Professor) who works for the Faculty. The applicant should ask this person to act as a Supervisor and together they should reach an agreement upon the research topic, research methods, possibilities of carrying out the research and other similar aspects related to the research task. The applicant must have at least a Main Supervisor by the end of the application period.

After finding a Supervisor, the applicant must

  • Gain approval from the Supervisor (or Supervisors, if they have all been named already during the application period) for a research plan, a tentative study plan, and for the actual application form for a right to study. 
  • Ask the Professor responsible for the Doctoral Programme in question to sign the application form.
  • Submit the application form and its enclosures to the Scientific Postgraduate Committee for assessment via the electronic application system (Opintopolku).

The following documents must be attached to the online application in

  • Application form for the right to study signed by the Professor responsible for the Doctoral Programme and the Supervisor/s
  • Research plan
  • A tentative postgraduate study plan
  • Motivation letter (grounds for applying to University of Tampere)
  • Language Certificate (detailed instructions below)
  • Applicant’s CV and a possible list of publications
  • Copies of Degree Certificates, if the degree has not been completed at the University of Tampere (if the degree has been completed outside of Finland, an official translation is required) and a Transcript of Records.
  • A copy of the applicant’s ID (passport or another official identification document containing a photo) This is not required if the applicant has previously studied at the University of Tampere.
  • Applicants who have completed their previous Academic Degree outside of Finland must also submit a Transcript of Records, which shows the grade of their Master’s Thesis or the general grades of the degree.
  • Approval forms from Members of the Follow-up Group (note: establishing a Follow-up Group is voluntary)

The application form and approval form for the members of the follow-up group are available on the Admissions pages of the University of Tampere.

Research plan:

A research plan of maximum of 5 pages must be enclosed to the application. The research plan should be accepted by the main supervisor, the professor in charge of the doctoral programme and by the optional follow-up group. The research plan should cover the entire dissertation/thesis.

1. Title of the study

In both Finnish and English

2. Background of the study

Includes a short overview that describes the topic of the study                    

3. Aims of the study

The aims should be confined and presented clearly (e.g. overall/detailed objectives)

4. Subjects and methods

The study material formation and justification of its size

Description of methods used for collection of data and data analyzing      

5. Reporting of the study

Type of dissertation (a monograph or an article-based dissertation)

Division of sub-studies and description of study issues

6. Timetable of the study

A timetable presenting the different phases of the study

7. Ethical issues

Description of ethical aspects of the study and an estimate whether there is need for a statement by an ethical board

8. References

The list of references according to the Guidelines for Doctoral Studies

The list of references must be encompassing and versatile


You must be able to prove your educational background by means of officially authenticated copies of your documents. If the documents are not in English, Finnish or Swedish, both the authenticated copies of the documents in their original language and an officially confirmed, complete and precise translation into one of the languages mentioned above are required.

In addition to the standard document requirements, educational documents issued in certain countries have more specific requirements for submission. Please go through the requirements carefully and check the country- specific requirements for your degree awarding country before applying.

If selected, you will have to present your original educational documents upon arrival at the University of Tampere in order to be able to register at the university.


Head of Study Affairs Leena Nikkari ( and Study Secretary Sinikka Määttä (

Questions on research plans and prospective supervisors:

Professor in Charge of the Doctoral Programme: Arto Laitinen (