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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.


Doctor of Science (Economics and Business Administration)

Application period:

5.11.2020 – 15.1.2021

Language of instruction:



4 years, full-time


Relevant master’s degree awarded by a Finnish university or a Finnish university of applied sciences, or a corresponding degree completed abroad

Field of study:

Business and Economics


Organising school:

School of Business

The application period has closed

Aalto University’s strategic objectives is to educate game changers — professionals with the knowledge and capabilities to build a sustainable society and to increase well-being through disruptive change. These capabilities need to be rooted in disciplinary excellence augmented by art, creativity, multidisciplinary collaboration and entrepreneurship.

The programme provides doctoral students with comprehensive research training in a unique multidisciplinary environment, characterized by a longstanding commitment to research excellence and courageous, low-hierarchy culture with empowered students. The programme is designed for highly-motivated and ambitious aspiring business, economics and finance scholars who have excellent analytical, critical thinking, communication, and interpersonal skills and who are willing to serve as the future leaders in the world of higher education and academic research.

The programme is offered by the School of Business, which is an inclusive, multicultural academic community with excellent students, faculty, and staff. Our faculty features internationally highly-regarded scholars, many of whom are world-leading experts in their field. All doctoral students are assigned at least two dedicated dissertation advisors, who guide their research and mentor their development as scholars and higher education professionals throughout the programme.

The programme offers doctoral training in 12 disciplines: Accounting, Business Law, Economics, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Information Systems Science, International Business, Logistics, Management Science, MarketingOrganization and Management, and Organizational Communication. The degree offered is Doctor of Science in Economics and Business Administration.


The purpose of the Aalto Doctoral Programme in Business, Economics and Finance is to equip its graduates for successful international careers in the world of higher education and academic research.

The programme is designed to provide doctoral students with the knowledge, skills, and capabilities to succeed in demanding, high-level positions in universities, research institutions, think tanks, and other research organizations at regional, national, and supra-national (e.g. the EU, OECD, World Bank) levels. The graduates of the doctoral programme will demonstrate:

  1. competence to carry out independent and original academic research
  2. deep and broad discipline-specific knowledge of their field of research
  3. mastery of the scientific research methods in their respective fields of research
  4. deep understanding of research ethics
  5. good project management skills
  6. enhanced pedagogical and academic leadership skills, and
  7. strong communication and interpersonal skills.

Structure of the degree

The School of Business Doctoral Degree is 240 ECTS and consists of the following study modules:

Doctoral degree 
Common core studies 12 ECTS
Specialization Area studies 48 ECTS
  • Common studies in specialization area
  • Disciplinary studies
Doctoral thesis 


The Common core studies are offered in three different areas: research capabilities, methodologies and methods, and economic and business administration theories. The content and scope of each study module varies depending on the specialization area and discipline (see the study guide).

Each doctoral student is assigned at least two dedicated dissertation advisors, who are responsible for guiding and mentoring the student throughout the doctoral dissertation process.

The teaching methods and pedagogical solutions used in the programme are many but are generally based on the philosophy and methods of learner-centered instruction. Learner-centered instruction emphasizes the importance of actively engaging students in the learning process, by encouraging and enabling them to take personal responsibility for setting learning goals, developing and choosing their own strategies for learning, as well as evaluating their own progress and learning outcomes.

How to apply?

New doctoral candidates are admitted once a year. The application time begins in November 5, 2020. The application, together with appendices, must be submitted by January 15, 2021 by 12:01 o’clock (Finnish time, GMT +2) at the latest. Late submission will not be evaluated and only complete applications will be processed.

The GMAT or GRE test and language tests must be taken before the application deadline.

Contact us

If there you have any questions about admissions and application instructions or programme-specific inquiries, you can contact [email protected]

You may want to talk to the faculty in your preferred major before submitting an application. Please find below a list of the professors who are in charge of doctoral studies in their respective majors and whom you can contact:

Accounting Associate Professor Lasse Niemi
Business Law Assistant Professor Tomi Viitala
Economics Professor Matti Liski
Entrepreneurship Associate Professor Ewald Kibler
Finance Director Mikko Leppämäki
Information Systems Science

Professor Matti Rossi
Professor Virpi Tuunainen

International Business Professor Carl Fey
Logistics Professor Markku Kuula
Management Science Professor Timo Kuosmanen
Marketing Assistant Professor Henri Weijo
Organization and Management Associate Professor Nina Granqvist
Organizational Communication Assistant Professor Kirsi Eräranta


Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

  • How often is the application process organized?
    • We organize the application process once a year.
  • Is it the same process for all?
    • Anyone who is interested in doctoral studies at the Aalto University School of Business participates in the same application process. You may have financing of your own, another doctoral degree, you may be a citizen in Finland, Scandinavia or some other country. If you have already some scientific qualifications like relevant  publications, they can be considered in the admission process.
  • When do I start my studies if I am admitted to the programme?
    • You will start your doctoral studies at the beginning of September.  However, if you so wish, you are entitled to start studying immediately after you are admitted. If that is the case please contact [email protected]  for an earlier start.
  • Where can I find the application form?
    • A link to the application with instructions is on this website, see above. The form is electronic. The applicant scans and saves all appendices to the form, except a GMAT or GRE report and referees' recommendation letters. No paper appendices are required.
  • Can I apply without a GMAT or GRE?
    • A GMAT or GRE General Test is a necessary part of your application and we require the test from all applicants. The School of Business receives the official test results direct from the test organizer’s database, so please do not order printed score reports to be sent to School of Business.
  • How many recommendation letters are necessary?
    • Two. They should be sent direct to the office of the Doctoral Programme. They can be printed on paper or sent by email. In both cases they should come direct from the referee to the doctoral program. However, if you completed your master's degree at Aalto University School of Business and your pro gradu supervisor is a member of the School's faculty, recommendation letters many not be necessary but it is best to ask about this from the department.
  •  Do you have a tuition fee?
    • There is no tuition fee in the School of Business Doctoral Programme and usually most of the literature can be obtained through the University library. The students have to cover their living expenses.
  •  How and when should I take measures to arrange my funding?
    • The funding arrangements are made when the admission process is over and we will contact the admitted students about the procedure.
  • What is the admission rate to the doctoral programme?
    • In the last application procedure we received applications from 135 applicants and out of them, 38 were admitted. The rate varies from year to year so the previous years’ rates may not be relevant this time.
  • What is "selected academic work"?
    • “Selected academic work” which figures on the list of appendices should be chosen by the applicant. It can be a master’s thesis, if you graduated recently or have not graduated yet, or a research report or publication or some other piece of scientific work which you consider relevant in the application process.
  • Should I have my certificates translated in English?
    • All material which you want to be considered in the application process should be in a language understood by the persons evaluation applications. Generally it means English or Finnish. If your documents are in some other language, you can contact your applied major’s professor.

Departments and centres of the School of Business

Department of Accounting & Business Law

The Department of Accounting is one of the leading research faculties in the Nordic region.

Department of Accounting group photo by Heidi Kouvo

Department of Finance

The Department of Finance is the leading finance department in Finland with a strong dedication to research.

Architectural picture of the inside of the School of Business. Many people sitting on different coloured chairs.

Department of Management Studies

The Department of Management Studies offers a dynamic environment for scholarship and learning.

Stack of management books.

Department of Economics

The Department of Economics provides a comprehensive insight into the functioning of economies and the environment in which companies operate.

Outside picture of the School of Business building in Otaniemi. Three Aalto Flags swinging in front of the building.

Department of Information and Service Management

The Department of Information and Service Management refers to the creative use of information and digital technology in business and the move from industrial to service dominant forms of production.

Two business students, one is holding a laptop, discussing with the Professor after his lecture. Another group of students talk in the background.

Department of Marketing

The Department of Marketing is a thriving and dynamic community of faculty, researchers, staff, and students. The department has earned international acclaim for its ambitious and rigorous research output. We are at the bleeding edge of marketing.

marketing major

Center for Markets in Transition CEMAT

CEMAT conducts academic research focusing on Russia and channels research-based knowledge to the use of the business community and other societal stakeholders In Finland. CEMAT supports EU-level decision-making as the lead coordinator of the Northern Dimension Institute (NDI), the mission of which is to serve the knowledge needs of the Northern Dimension policy.

CEMAT St Petersburg

Center for Knowledge and Innovation Research CKIR

CKIR’s main research focus is on innovation ecosystems, ICT enabled service platforms and thus enabled new business dynamics.

Close-up of two students making notes to research articles that they are reading.

The application period has closed

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