Study at Aalto

Being a doctoral student at Aalto

All you need to know about your doctoral research journey at Aalto University. Make sure you scroll down to see all the information.
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Research fields

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 university offers six doctoral programmes and each doctoral student belongs to one of the programmes. See detailed information about programme-specific studies and course on our Into webpages.

Tohtoriksi valmistunut nainen vastaanottamassa päähänsä mustaa tohtorinhattua promootiossa.

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.

Research & Art

Doctoral studies and coursework

The doctoral degree at Aalto University consists of

  1. a doctoral thesis
  2. general research studies
  3. research field studies

There are three study modules in the doctoral degree. Doctoral studies are organised in study modules called 'General research studies' and 'Research field studies' and 'Doctoral Thesis'. Studies with credit points are worth of 40 or 60 credits (ECTS) depending on the doctoral programme. Sizes of the study modules are described in the curriculum of the doctoral programme.

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

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

General research studies

  • TECH: Scientific principles and practices (5—20 ECTS)
  • BIZ: Common scientific doctoral studies (30 ECTS)
  • ARTS: General research studies (15-25 ECTS)

Research field studies

  • TECH: Research field studies (20—35 ECTS)
  • BIZ: Major subject studies and research-related studies (30 ECTS)
  • ARTS: Research field studies (15-25 ECTS)


The target time for completing the doctoral degree is four years if studying full-time.

Apply to study at Aalto

Admission to doctoral education varies in each school and is organised individually by every doctoral programme. Some schools have continuous admission whereas others admit doctoral candidates 1—2 times a year. The application timeline also depends on whether you are applying for full-time or part-time studies.

There are no tuition fees for doctoral programmes – please see further details regarding fees at

It is important, however, that you have a source of funding for your studies – both for your residence permit and for any additional costs (personal and study-related). Please see the specific funding opportunities for your doctoral programme and further details on making arrangements for self-funded studies.

Application essentials in each doctoral programme

Before you apply, check out the application information for your programme below. Each doctoral programme has its own dedicated website providing details on the entry requirements and information on how to apply.

As a check-list for prospective studies, please make sure that you know the following information regarding the doctoral programme of your choice:

  1. eligibility
  2. the admission requirements
  3. required language proficiency
  4. what supporting documents are needed to apply
  5. research fields and professors, so that you can address your application appropriately

Programme-specific information below:

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.

For Application Instructions 2021, please scroll down the page.

Aalto ARTS

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 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 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 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 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.

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Organisation of the doctoral pathway (requires Aalto login)

Organisation of the doctoral pathway

Connect with us

Every Aalto school has its own doctoral programme, and a doctoral programme committee chaired by the director of the doctoral programme. In addition, schools have planning officers and coordinators who provide administrative advice and support for students in each programme throughout the completion of their degree. Further, coordination and development of doctoral education is organised at the university level.

Get in touch if you would like to find out more about doctoral education at Aalto University or have any questions.

Aalto Conferment 2018, Photo: Matti Rajala

Doctoral education services

Doctoral education services team is part of Learning Services.

Service entities

See also

Kaksi opiskelijaa selailemassa lasisen vitriinin päällä olevaa kirjaa Oppimiskeskuksessa.

Doctoral theses

Aalto university doctoral theses are published open in Aaltodoc publication archive. The majority of the theses are article based theses including several publications in referred international journals. Monographs are accepted, too. In the field of art and design, a thesis may also include artistic components like an art production or a series of art productions connected to each other.

Research & Art
Promootiohatut pöydällä

Companies need PhDs - from core competence to mastering a big picture

Doctoral studies pave the way for self-development and research geared toward solving practical problems. What companies get out of PhDs are multidisciplinary experts who are not afraid to tackle major challenges.

Tohtorinhatut promootiopäivänä

Doctoral graduates of Aalto University in working life

Aalto University Career Services conducts career tracking surveys to follow up careers of doctoral graduates.

Aalto ELEC Project Gala 8.12.2016

Networking for doctoral students

Aalto University is actively networking nationally and internationally and the department professors have excellent individual contacts worldwide. This provides the doctoral students various possibilities to get contacts and peer support. The university has several international thematic doctoral programmes running under the six Aalto doctoral programmes.

Research & Art
Aalto University's stand at Slush convention with lots of people standing around it

For alumni

Nearly 45 000 alumni from 80 countries are already members of the Aalto University alumni network. Our alumni are all who have graduated from Aalto University as well as all our exchange students. You can join the alumni network already as a student – a warm welcome!

Related webpages


Learning Services

Aalto University Learning Services (LES) is responsible for all services which facilitate the smooth progression of studies at the university.

Kuvassa kaksi opiskelijaa tutkii tietokoneen ruutua pöydän molemmiin puolin.Photo: Unto Rautio

Research & Art

Our research focuses on seven key areas combining four core competences in the fields of ICT, materials, arts, design and business together with three grand challenges related to energy, living environment, and health.

Sensual Mathematics Exhibition. Photo by Henri Vogt.

Doctoral student well-being and welfare

Aalto University offers varied support services accessible to all doctoral students. There is a lot of help available for you at Aalto. The health, safety and wellbeing of our student community is essential and is indeed one of our strategic initiatives.

Aalto psychologist services for doctoral students

Aalto psychologist services for doctoral students are available free of charge both online and on the campus. You can contact the psychologist for doctoral students at docstudypsychologist[at]

The psychologists also offer courses and workshops for students at Aalto.

PhD Pathfinder Blog by Aalto's psychologist for doctoral students

Challenges outside student life (Into webpages)

Study skills

Have you considered what studying means to you? what is the best way for you to learn or how you can make your studies run smoothly? Learn more about what study skills are and can learn and improve them.

Study skills consist of a number of areas, such as the management of study methods, self-management, acting in a community and regulation of personal emotions. Study skills are something you can learn, and these pages include ideas for developing your skills as well as links for sources of additional information.

A woman working on a computer.

Psychologist for doctoral students

The psychologist supports doctoral students on their doctoral journey.

Study at Aalto
Aalto-yliopisto, Otaniemi stories: Anu Morikawa, Aalto-pappi / Kuvaaja: Sinikoski

Aalto chaplains provide services for everyone at Aalto

The Aalto chaplains’ services are available to all members of the Aalto community. You can contact them whenever you want to speak to someone in confidence about anything related to work, personal relationships or your life situation in general.

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