Research & Art

How to apply for doctoral studies?

Doctoral students at Aalto University can pursue the degrees of Doctor of Science (Technology), Doctor of Arts (Art and Design), Doctor of Science (Economics and Business Administration), and Doctor of Science (Architecture). The target time for the doctoral degree is four years. The admissions are organised individually by each doctoral programme.

Admission for doctoral studies

Admission to doctoral programmes varies according to each School. Some have continuous admission whereas others admit doctoral students 1-2 times a year. Each doctoral programme has their dedicated programme website providing details on the entry requirements and information on how to apply (see below). The admission of doctoral students is made on the basis of admissions criteria announced in advance on the programme web pages (see below).

Doctoral education is free in Finland so there are no fees. Please see more information about income requirement at the Finnish Immigration Services.

Applying to doctoral programmes - how and when?

See further information on the application procedure, entry requirements, and application times on each doctoral programme.

Aalto Doctoral Programme in Arts, Design and Architecture

The Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture offers an international doctoral programme for those seeking careers in art, design, film, media or architecture. A special feature of the programme is that the thesis can include art or design productions. The Department of Art, the Department of Architecture, the Department of Design, the Department of Film, Television and Scenography and the Department of Media offer doctoral studies for a Doctor of Arts (Art and Design) and a Doctor of Science (Architecture) degrees.

Aalto ARTS

Aalto Doctoral Programme in Electrical Engineering

The Doctoral Programme in Electrical Engineering comprises 13 research fields. The Programme is a joint effort of the Departments of Electronics and Nanoengineering (ELE), Signal Processing and Acoustics (SPA), Electrical Engineering and Automation (EEA), and Communications and Networking (Comnet), as well as the Metsähovi Radio Observatory and Micronova - the Research Centre for Micro- and Nanotechnology. The completion of a doctoral degree equals four years of full-time studies.

Aalto ELEC

Aalto Doctoral Programme in Business, Economics and Finance

Aalto Doctoral Programme in Business, Economics and Finance is a four-year, English-language doctoral programme with three specialization areas: Business, Economics and Finance.

Four students studying together. Three of them have their computer and one is having papers in front of them.

Aalto Doctoral Programme in Engineering

The Doctoral Programme in Engineering consists of eight research fields including spatial planning and transportation engineering; real estate economics; geoinformatics; civil engineering, water and environmental engineering; technology education; mechanical engineering; and energy technology. Doctoral studies are available at all the departments of the School of Engineering: the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Department of Civil Engineering, and the Department of Built Environment.

Aalto ENG

Aalto Doctoral Programme in Chemical Engineering

The Aalto Doctoral Programme in Chemical Engineering comprises seven research fields that focus on: forest products technologies; chemical engineering; industrial biotechnology; materials science and nanotechnology; metals and minerals processing; and energy technology. The Departments of Bioproducts and Biosystems (Bio2), Chemistry and Material Science, and Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering are jointly responsible for the programme.

Doctoral students in the lab

Aalto Doctoral Programme in Science

The Doctoral Programme in Science is a multidisciplinary programme with a unique combination of science, technology and business. The research done is committed to high standards of international excellence and the aim is to educate doctoral students in different research fields to tackle increasingly complex societal challenges in areas such as energy, environment, health and well-being. The doctoral programme offers a four-year doctoral programme in physics, mathematics, biomedical engineering, computer science or industrial engineering and management.

Picture of Aalto University

General eligibility and admissions criteria

The general eligibility criteria for doctoral education is defined by the Finnish law (section 37 of the Universities Act, 558/2009) and involves all Finnish universities.

To be eligible for doctoral studies, students must:

  • hold  a relevant master’s degree awarded by a university
  • hold  a relevant master’s degree awarded by a university of applied sciences; or
  • hold a relevant applicable study programme abroad which in the awarding country gives eligibility for the corresponding level of higher education.

Generally an acceptable master’s degree has been carried out in accordance with the principles of the Bologna Process (3+2 years). A degree earned abroad in a country that does not follow the Bologna Process must include a minimum of 4 years of studies and a master’s thesis.

The degree as a basis for doctoral studies shall provide the student with an adequate knowledge and skills needed for doctoral studies in the programme chosen. The university may require a student admitted to complete the necessary supplementary studies in order to meet this requirement.

The student shall also fulfill the defined language proficiency needed for doctoral studies.

General evaluation criteria

The central criteria for assessing potential doctoral candidates include the candidates’ academic performance and potential for doctoral studies, the quality and feasibility of the research proposal together with the candidate’s possibilities to complete the studies within the target time.

The suitability of the previous degree as the basis of the doctoral degree as well as the suitability of the research proposal to the programmes research profile is taken into account. The availability of supervision for the dissertation project is of great importance when selecting doctoral candidates. In the field of Technology, applicants should liaise with the professor responsible for the research field in question at an early stage of the application process. 

Doctoral programmes

Doctoral programmes of Aalto prepare to become highly qualified researchers and experts in most demanding positions. Doctoral education is carried out in a unique multidisciplinary international scientific community.

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