Aalto Doctoral Programme in Engineering

Curriculum 2022-2024

The curriculum 2022-2024 applies to students who have started their studies after 1.8.2022.

Aalto doctoral curriculum (more doctoral level courses)

Structure of the degree

The doctoral degree at the Doctoral Programme in Engineering consists of an approved doctoral thesis and 40 ECTS of studies. These studies comprise two study modules: General research studies of 5-20 ECTS and Research field studies of 20-35 ECTS. If the student doesn’t want to finish the doctoral degree, the licentiate degree can be completed as an intermediate degree. The licentiate degree consists of an approved licentiate thesis and the same 40 ECTS of studies as for the doctoral degree.

General research studies prepare students for research work, the application of research results, the dissemination of research findings and to learn the principles of responsible conduct of research. General research studies can include transferrable skill studies.

Research field studies and doctoral thesis help students to gain comprehensive and in-depth knowledge of their research field. Doctoral studies can include studies from several Aalto doctoral programmes when agreed on in the doctoral personal study plan of the student (DPSP).

Content of studies

General research studies, 5-20 ECTS

The aim of the general studies module is to provide doctoral candidates with knowledge of the basic concepts of science, the key characteristics of scientific research and scientific knowledge, familiarisation with the most important research methods of their research field, and to develop their transferable skills. In addition, doctoral candidates learn to implement the principles of good scientific practice into their own research and apply the basic structure of scientific publications in their research reports with confidence.

After completing the module, doctoral candidates

  • have improved communication and interpersonal skills and project management skills.
  • work responsibly in the light of ethical and sustainability considerations and their conduct in the scientific community will follow good scientific practice.
  • have the ability to work in a multidisciplinary and international environment together with various actors.

The study module may include studies in research methodology, presentation skills, research ethics, the history and philosophy of science and principles of scientific writing. Some of the module can be learning university practices, such as teaching and research work guidance. The module may also partly include scientific preparatory tasks related to the research project and presentation at a scientific conference in student's research field. Some of the module may also consist of pedagogical studies. Language studies generally cannot be included in the degree, except for a few specific language and communication studies that are listed separately.

Learning of university practices, such as tuition and research work guidance (1-3 cr), preparatory tasks for research projects and pedagogic studies:

  • The amount of accomplished credits must be agreed with the supervisor individually.
  • The doctoral student has the major responsibility for a course or a part of it or he/she is the official advisor of Bachelor's thesis or Master´s thesis grants a maximum of 9 cr.
  • The participation in pedagogic training (YOOP courses or Aalto University pedagogic education) grants a maximum of 15 cr.

Compulsory course

LC-L1010 Research Ethics or equivalent course

Optional courses

Aalto University communication courses for doctoral students, see Language and communication courses 

Jointly developed national courses, offered via

Courses on open science, research ethics, theory of science, as well as research grants, project management and writing research proposals are available from national

Research field studies, 20-35 ECTS

Learning objectives

The aim of the research field studies is to support the writing of the doctoral thesis and prepare the doctoral candidates for research and other demanding work that requires expertise.

After completing the module, doctoral candidate:

  • have deep and broad discipline-specific knowledge of their field of research
  • be able to disseminate their results through relevant research fora and, where appropriate, to wider publics
  • be eligible to act as thesis instructor for doctoral student and examiner for doctoral degree.

These studies are the core element of the doctoral studies, decided jointly by the doctoral student and her/his supervising professor.

These studies might include, for example, general and specific studies related to student’s thesis topic. Courses are found in MyCourses, Sisu or

Research field studies need to be post-graduate courses (advanced level) or other studies eligible for doctoral degree. No credits are given for doing research.

Post-graduate courses are marked letter D in the course name, with letter L in the course code or as "doctoral" in the course description. For example:

  • EEN-E2004 Mass Transfer D
  • MEC-L1001 Design Science

Suggested ways to complete the module:

  • Attending suitable courses in Aalto University or another university
  • Completing and reporting practical assignments related to the research field
  • Writing a literature review
  • Oral or written examinations based on textbooks
  • Studies in scientific summer and winter schools and courses organised by graduate schools
  • Conference presentations
  • Learning of university practices

The printed literature is chosen as far as possible in accordance with the personal study objectives of each student, taking into account an adequately broad coverage of the entire scientific field. Printed literature can be examined in several sections to be agreed with the supervisor individually. The professor determines the number of ECTS credits in accordance with the scope and difficulty of the literature. The number of pages of printed literature on which one is to be examined and the equivalent number of ECTS credits should be entered on the form for degree requirements.


  • A complicated, demanding scientific literature for experts (with substantial amount of mathematical equations): 70 pages yield 1 cr.
  • A demanding scientific literature for experts: 100 pages yield 1 cr.
  • Relatively easy scientific literature: 120 pages yield 1 cr.

From conference presentations based on student´s own reasearch work, a maximum of 8 cr can be accomplished: 1 cr for poster, 1 cr for conference talk and 1 cr for conference paper.

Learning of university practices, such as tuition and research work guidance (1-3 cr), preparatory tasks for research projects:

  • The amount of accomplished credits must be agreed with the supervisor individually.
  • The doctoral student has the major responsibility for a course or a part of it or he/she is the official instructor of Bachelor's thesis or Master´s thesis, a maximum of 9 cr can be accomplished of several tasks.

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