Doctoral education

Doctoral courses and curriculum

Doctoral students can take courses from their own School, from Aalto University Language Centre or from other Schools at Aalto and even from other universities. If you complete courses outside Aalto University, you must apply for credit transfer. Doctoral studies typically comprise both regular courses and individual studies (custom course credit).

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Choosing your courses

Plan your courses in your Credit plan (called study plan in Sisu) (more instructions: Doctoral personal study plan DPSP). 

The credit plan template in Sisu is structured according to your curriculum. It automatically offers you a list of courses offered by your doctoral programme (or at least the compulsory courses, if your programme requires any). This is why you should create your credit plan for the curriculum period in which you started your doctoral studies (or the current curriculum period, if you wish to follow the current requirements).

Choose courses that support your thesis work and your employment goals.

* Doctoral career monitoring survey 2023, 3 years after graduation: What are the most important knowledge and skills in your current job?

Doctoral curricula

At Aalto University, curriculum is planned and confirmed for two academic years. Each doctoral programme has it's own curriculum, which lists the compulsory and optional courses that are offered and/or accepted to be included in the degree, i.e. the degree requirements.

New 30 ECTS structure

On 11 June 2024 Aalto University Academic Affairs Committee, AAC, has decided to reduce the number of credits required for a doctoral degree from 40 to 30 ECTS. The decision is in force from 1 August 2024. The change affects the Schools of technology (CHEM, ELEC, ENG and SCI) and ARTS. School of Business will continue with 60 ECTS. The Schools’ academic committees decide about amending their doctoral curricula for 2024-2026 accordingly and the new versions are published as soon as possible on the programme-specific curriculum pages.

Doctoral students who have started their studies earlier than 1 August 2024 have the possibility to graduate with the current degree structure and scope until 31 December 2027 (or without any time limit if they have completed all the required credits before 1 August 2024). They can also transfer to study according to the new degree structure, if they so wish.

Instructions for the transfer to the 30 ECTS structure


Valid for doctoral students who start their studies 1.8.2022-31.7.2024.


Valid for doctoral students who start their studies 1.8.2024-31.7.2026. Students who have started their studies earlier can also switch to complete their studies according to the new curricula. 


Courses marked with FINDOCNET* are independent online courses, where students complete the course readings and assignments on their own and then report to the teacher to get the credit. Some of these courses also include online workshops.

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Language and communication studies

Language and communication courses at Aalto University

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KiViTa (external link)

KiViTa - Collaboration in language and communication teaching

Courses from other Finnish or foreign universities

  1. Find a suitable course
  2. Discuss with your supervising professor & include the course as a study draft in your credit plan in Sisu
  3. Apply for the course through the procedure of the University offering the course (for Finnish universities, see below) and follow their schedule
  4. If accepted, complete the course and apply for credit transfer in Sisu, please see instructions at Credit transfer: inclusion of studies from other universities.

Doctoral courses in Finland

Eight Finnish universities have partnered to offer doctoral courses to their students. University of Eastern Finland, University of Jyväskylä, University of Lapland, LUT University, University of Oulu, Tampere University, and Åbo Akademi. Check the application information below. platform

If you are interested in courses that are not listed at or in courses from other Finnish universities, you may benefit from the national flexible study rights agreement (JOO) which allows Aalto's students to apply for taking courses in other Finnish universities. Check out the application information for courses in other Finnish universities


Unite! is an European University alliance of innovation, technology and engineering. It has nine partner universities, who offer courses to Unite! member universities' students. Check out the courses at Unite! metacampus platform.

Nordic Five Tech

Nordic Five Tech is a strategic alliance of the five leading technical universities. Find courses offered by these universities at N5T website.

Credit transfer: inclusion of studies from other universities

You can include studies from other universities in your degree, if you have agreed about it with your supervising professor in your Sisu credit plan. After completing the course, apply for inclusion of the course in Sisu. Note that you need a transcript of records from the university in which you completed the course.

Credit transfer is only possible if you have received study credits from another university, displayed on a transcript. If you have not received official credits (often in the case of summer schools or seminars), include the studies as individual studies, see more below.

Independently completed individual studies within doctoral degree

In addition to the courses taught at Aalto University, doctoral studies often include independently completed individual studies, e.g. conference presentations, summer schools, publications (not included in the thesis), literature reviews, etc. Such studies should always be agreed upon with the supervising professor in advance. The supervising professor evaluates the individual studies and grants the credits for them.

Courses, descriptions and codes have been created for the most typical independently completed individual studies. You will find them in the curriculum of your doctoral programme and in Sisu. The curriculum of your doctoral programme dictates what kind of individual studies can be credited and how many of these credits can be placed in each study module of the degree (General research studies and Research field studies). See below for details. 

Please note that the individual study courses and their rules are valid as of 1 August 2024. If you have started your studies before 1 August 2024, you are not obliged to use the courses, but you can include all your individual studies as other individual study attainments, see the instructions below. However, if you wish to include these courses in your degree, you can agree about it with your supervising professor.

Other studies and trainings

Open online courses

Finland Works
This course has been designed as a starting point for understanding Finnish working life and building your career in Finland. The course is an open online course.
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Future of Work
In this course, we will look at how the roles of the individual, organisations and society have changed and how it affects how we work today and in the future.
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Lifewide Learning

Aalto University Lifewide Learning helps you develop your skills in an ever-changing environment.


Internal training - Workday Learning (external link)

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Training to support research in Workday Learning (external link)

You will find training to support research in Workday Learning -application.

RDM & Open Science Training

Training in Research Data Management and Open Science

We offer free and open to all training in research data management and open science.

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Researcher skills for doctoral students

Find resources to improve your skills related to data management, research ethics, IPR, dissemination of results and more!

Doctoral education
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Aalto Ventures Program - Courses for curious minds (external link)

AVP courses are for you, if you’re looking for a deep dive into entrepreneurship, want to work with diverse people and are not afraid of a challenge

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Doctoral personal study plan (DPSP)

Doctoral students plan their studies and research by using the five parts of the DPSP.

Doctoral education

Model schedule for doctoral students

Model schedules supports planning your doctoral journey and reaching your targets.

Doctoral education

Doctoral page index

Index of all pages about doctoral education

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