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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.

On this page you will find information on doctoral studies and on how to apply to the Doctoral Programme in Electrical Engineering
Aalto ELEC


Doctor of Science (Technology)

Application period:

16.12.2021 – 3.6.2022

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:

Technology and Engineering


Organising school:

School of Electrical Engineering

On this page

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Why doctoral studies?

Please check the video above and our website

Objectives of studies

Electrical Engineering is a broad multi-disciplinary doctoral programme providing graduates with the ability to work in a variety of fields ranging from traditional electrical engineering and the energy sector to biomedical engineering, robotics and nanotechnology, and communications engineering. Based on mathematical and natural sciences, the curriculum is flexible, allowing each doctoral candidate to compile her/his own combination of courses according to her/his own research interests. The programme covers all disciplines of the School of Electrical Engineering and allows multi-disciplinary co-operation across Aalto University. The main focus of the doctoral degree is on scientific research work. To complete a doctoral degree, the student must produce and publish a doctoral thesis as well as defend it at a public examination.

Content of studies

Doctoral education at the School of Electrical Engineering is based on vigorous basic research, forming a strong basis for teaching as well as for development and innovation. The most important part of the education is the research work, which is conducted in a robust and dynamic research milieu. The theoretical studies that support the research work are tailored individually to suit the different needs of each doctoral student.

The Doctor of Science (Technology) degree consists of

  1. an approved doctoral thesis
  2. research field studies (20-35 ECTS)
  3. general research studies (5-20 ECTS)

Study language

The language of instruction is, in principle, English but the doctoral thesis can also be completed in Finnish or Swedish.

Language of the degree

The applicants will define in their application in which language they will pursue the degree. The possible languages are Finnish, Swedish, or English. If doctoral candidates want to write their doctoral thesis in Finnish or in Swedish, the language of the degree will be Finnish or Swedish. If the doctoral thesis is written in English, doctoral candidates can choose English as the language of the degree that must be approved by the doctoral programme committee. The language of degree can, on reasonable grounds, be changed at a later stage if the language of the doctoral thesis changes.

Full-time and part-time studies

All doctoral students are defined as either full-time or part-time students. Doctoral students may not change their study mode by themselves, but it can be changed by application if necessary.

Full-time doctoral studies (4 years)

Full-time doctoral students plan their studies with the aim of completing a doctoral degree within four years of their admission to the doctoral programme. Full-time doctoral students need to have funding allocated for the doctoral studies for at least the first 6 months (e.g. project funding, a personal grant or funding from an employer). Students working outside of Aalto University who wish to be full-time doctoral students must provide a document of their employers' approval for full-time doctoral studies (80% of their working hours must be dedicated to doctoral studies).

Part-time doctoral studies (4-8 years)

Part-time doctoral students are those who do not meet the above-mentioned requirements for full-time doctoral students. Their studies are planned in such a way that the time spent on doctoral studies will last longer than four years, but no more than eight years. A part-time doctoral student typically has a main occupation outside the School of Engineering, which occupation does not include scientific research for the doctoral thesis.
Applicants for part-time doctoral studies should discuss whether the research is closely connected with their own work and what opportunities the employer may have for supporting intensive postgraduate studying e.g. alongside work.

How to apply?

The Doctoral Programme in Electrical Engineering invites applications continuously (applications will not be processed in July) by the application deadlines decided by the Doctoral Programme Committee, please see below.

Before submitting the application, each applicant must contact a professor in charge of their intended research field to discuss the possible supervision of doctoral studies. Applicants are urged to ensure that their expertise and research interests are commensurate with the research group (and those of the supervising professor of their studies) that they apply to.

Application dates & deadlines

Application times during 2022

Deadline for applications Decisions on admission are made
Thursday 5 May Friday 20 May
Friday 3 June Monday 20 June
Thursday 11 August Friday 26 August
Thursday 1 September Friday 16 September
Thursday 6 October Friday 28 October
Thursday 10 November Friday 25 November
Friday 2 December Monday 19 December


Processing the applications

Each application will be processed in the next possible Doctoral Programme Committee meeting, if all the required application documents have been received by the deadline given. Only applications with all the required materials will be processed. Incomplete applications will be rejected, unless the missing materials are sent by the deadline given. The right to pursue a degree will be valid only after the dean has granted the right and the applicant has accepted the offer of admission. The applicant has two weeks time to accept the offer and cannot postpone the start of the right to pursue a degree.*

*Please note:

From 1 August 2016 onwards applicants who have been given an offer of admission may accept only one student place leading to a higher education degree in Finland during one academic term (Universities Act 558/2009). Higher education degrees include bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees awarded by universities as well as degrees from universities of applied sciences.

The academic terms run from 1 August to 31 December and from 1 January to 31 July. The acceptance of a student place is binding and cannot be cancelled. Even if the accepted applicants postpone the commencement of studies or give up their right to study, they cannot accept another study place leading to a higher education degree starting the same academic term.


The general eligibility criteria for higher education are defined in section 37 of the Universities Act (558/2009) and in the Aalto University Admissions Criteria for 2022. Eligible applicants for studies leading to an academic licentiate or doctoral degree in the Doctoral Programme in Science will have completed:

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

Policy on the recognition of degrees completed outside Finland

Applicants holding a degree earned abroad are eligible for doctoral studies provided that their degree gives them eligibility for corresponding higher education in the awarding country. As a rule, degrees earned abroad are recognized at Aalto University provided that they have required studies of at least four years, including a thesis similar to the master’s thesis, and that such studies in the view of the school equip the applicant with the skills and knowledge needed to pursue doctoral studies at the school. The precondition for the recognition of European degrees is that the degree is a university degree combination earned in accordance with the Bologna Process principles (3+2 years).

If the degree or education differs from the description above, but makes the applicant eligible for doctoral studies in the country that awarded the degree or gave the education, the applicant must provide a document confirming his/her eligibility for doctoral studies in the country where the education was given.

Policy on the recognition of master’s degrees from Finnish universities of applied sciences

Applicants with a master’s degree in a relevant field earned at a Finnish university of applied sciences are reviewed on a case-by case basis for their aptitude to pursue doctoral studies.

 If the school deems the applicant with a relevant master's degree from a university of applied sciences as having the potential to complete the doctoral degree, the applicant will be assigned sufficient supplementary studies to allow him or her to begin the doctoral/licentiate studies. The scope of the supplementary studies may not, however, exceed 60 ECTS credits. If the scope of the supplementary studies exceeds this maximum, the applicant is advised to complete a master's degree at the university level before applying for a right to pursue the doctoral degree.When assessing the applicants’ potential for doctoral studies, the School shall acknowledge that the extent of the master’s degree from a university of applied sciences in Finland is 60-90 ECTS, whereas the extent of a university master’s degree is 120 ECTS.

Applicants with a degree earned abroad but corresponding to a Finnish master’s degree from a university of applied sciences are subject to the same rules as those with a Finnish degree.

Evaluation criteria

The academic evaluation of the applicant is performed by the professor (i.e. supervising professor) responsible for the research field to which the applicant is applying to. The Doctoral Programme Committee will also evaluate the applicant.

The evaluation of the applicant takes into account the following criteria:

The content of the previous degree(s):

  1. Adequate knowledge in the research field applied for, gained through, for example, courses in the major or courses in the advanced studies within the master’s degree
    • When necessary, the School will set prerequisites for admission to the doctoral programme that may be gained, for instance, by taking master-level courses.
  2. Sufficient basic knowledge that supports the applicant’s ability to carry out the research work and the writing of the doctoral thesis.

Academic performance (on the scale 1 - 5)

  1. The applicant completed the master’s thesis with the minimum grade of 3/5.
  2. The applicant completed the master’s degree courses (excluding the master’s thesis), with an average (weighted average) grade of at least 3.0/5.
  • OR the applicant completed the courses of the major of the degree (excluding the master’s thesis), with an weighted average grade of at least 3.0/5, if the master’s degree was earned in accordance with the degree regulations of 1995 or earlier (when the bachelor’s and master’s degrees were not separated)

If the grade criteria are not met, but the applicant is otherwise suitable for doctoral studies, the applicant may raise his/her grades or the school set prerequisites for entry. Study attainments completed in other schools may be accepted as prerequisites, on the grounds of the supervising professor’s written statement.

Other evaluation criteria

  1. the quality and international regard of the applicant's degree and university
  2. the applicant’s potential as a researcher; previous research experience, work experience in the research sector, conference papers, journal articles etc.
  3. relevance of the research topic: research orientation with respect to the Department's focus areas so that proficient guidance and the supervising professor's genuine scientific interest is met
  4. research plan: theoretical and practical relevance and novelty of the topic, and feasibility of the plan (quality, realism, methodology etc.)
  5. time management and resources for doctoral studies: realistic time and resources available to complete the studies in 4 years
  6. the supervising resources of the university in the research field
  7. other reasons for admission presented by the applicant

Required language proficiency

Successful applicants must have excellent skills in Finnish, Swedish or English.

Proficiency in a national language of Finland is demonstrated according to ‘Demonstrating proficiency in a national language of Finland’, of the Aalto University Student Admissions Criteria for 2022.English proficiency is demonstrated by a language test, unless the applicant is exempted from the language test, please see below.

Accepted language tests in English and their minimum score requirements for admission to doctoral studies are (Aalto University Admissions Criteria 2022):

  1. IELTS
    1. Academic: 6.5 and for writing 5.5
    2. Indicator (Academic) online test: 6.5 and for writing 5.5
  2. TOEFL
    1. IBT (Internet-based Test): 92 and for the writing section 22 or
    2. iBT® Special Home Edition: 92 and for the writing section 22
    3. PDT (Paper-delivered Test): reading 22, listening 22 ja writing 24
  3. C1 Advanced (prev. Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE)): A,B or C
  4. C2 Proficiency (prev. Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)): A,B,C or Level C1
  5. Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE A): 62 and for writing 54

No other English proficiency tests are accepted. If an applicant has taken several language tests, the best official score that is still valid and received by the doctoral programme by the deadline, will be considered. The applicant cannot combine scores from different test dates (e.g. TOEFL MyBest scores is not accepted).

Submitting the language test

Only official reports of the language test are acceptable as proof of proficiency.

  • A copy of the official IELTS score report (PDF-copy) is uploaded in the application system. The test result will be verified by Aalto University from the test provided.
  • TOEFL test results must be sent to Aalto University by the test administrator directly. Request your official score report to be sent from the test administrator to Aalto University reporting code 7364. Unofficial score reports sent by applicants will not be accepted. Test scores submitted with the Aalto University reporting code are checked for authenticity in the test administrator’s verification database. The scores are available within 1 to 2 weeks of sending the score report request.
  • PTE scores are submitted through the electronic result service. The applicant need to sign in to his/her own PTE-account and send the test result through the electronic certification service to Aalto University. The test provider will inform by e-mail, when the test score has been submitted to the University.
  • A copy of the C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency language test score report (PDF-copy) is uploaded in the application system. The ID-number (e.g. ABC123456) and the reference number (e.g. 173YU0034522) need to be mentioned on the application form. The applicant also need to sign in to the language test system and share the scores with Aalto University. The scores will be verified electronically.

Validity of the language test

The language test result has to be valid at least on the day of the Doctoral Programme Committee meeting where the applicant's application is processed.

More information on the language tests can be found on the pages of the test providers:

An English language test is not required in doctoral admissions of applicants who  (Aalto University Admissions Criteria 2022):

  1. earned a degree taught in Finnish, Swedish or English in a higher education institution in Finland.
  2. earned a degree in an English-medium programme at a higher education institution in an EU/EEA country. The language of the degree must be stated unambiguously in the degree certificate or its appendix, or in the transcript of records or other official document issued by the awarding higher education institution.
  3. earned an English-medium higher education degree in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom or the United States while residing in that country.
  4. received his or her primary and secondary education in English in an EU/EEA country, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, the United Kingdom or the United States or
  5. has completed the Aalto Executive Education MBA, EMBA or DBA degree.

In 1-4, a minimum of one half of the degree must be completed in a country and higher education institution that meets the requirements for exempting the applicant from taking an English test.

Only the above-mentioned groups are exempted from the language test requirement; for all other applicants the official English language test result is an obligatory application document and applications without the adequate test result will not be accepted.

Application procedure

  1. Before submitting the application the applicant must contact a professor (supervising professor) in charge of the intended research field to discuss starting doctoral studies
  2. Read the application instructions carefully and prepare all the needed appendices
  3. Register in the online application system (, fill in the application, attach all the required documents and send it.

Application form and its appendices

Application form (

In the beginning of the application form, please choose the Doctoral Programme in Electrical Engineering as your study programme ("Add study programme").

Required appendices for all applicants (scanned in pdf form)

  1. Curriculum vitae (CV)
  2. Credit plan for 40 ECTS courses to be completed.
  3. Research plan with an implementation schedule. 
  4. Funding plan

  5. Supervision plan

  6. Copy of the identity page of the passport or other official identification that indicates the citizenship of the applicant

The study plan, research plan and supervision plan must be approved and signed by the applicant and the supervising professor. By signing these documents, the professor confirms to be the supervising professor of the applicant.

Applicants with a master’s degree or education earned elsewhere than at Aalto University (or at one of its predecessors) must also provide:

  1. Certified copies of the Master’s degree certificate and official transcript
    • Master's degree certificate, including all the appendices and the Diploma Supplement in European countries
    • Official transcripts of records of all the courses included in the master’s degree
    • Official translations of these, if the originals are not in Finnish, Swedish, or English.
    • Please upload these as scanned copies to the electronic application form in Studyinfo. Please submit also the certified hard copies according to the instructions below*. The certified hard copies need to be submitted to the doctoral programme before admission. Please note that certified hard copies will not be returned to the applicant.
  2. Abstract of master's thesis in English
  3. Proof of proficiency in Finnish, Swedish or English.
  4. A document confirming eligibility for doctoral studies, if needed (please see the Eligibility section earlier on this page) with an official translation, if the original document is not in Finnish, Swedish or English

*Degrees awarded by a higher education institution outside Finland:

  1. Send certified hard copies of the required degree documents including official translations (listed above) to our office (Kitta Peura, Doctoral Programme in Electrical Engineering, PO BOX 15500, 00076 AALTO)
  2. Please note that the required degree documents including official translations need to be submitted according to the country-specific document requirements, if the Master’s degree is completed in: Australia, Bangladesh, Cameroon, Canada, China, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Kenya, Malaysia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Sudan, the United Kingdom or the United States. Read the requirements on Country-specific requirements, and send the documents to the doctoral programme by mail (Kitta Peura, Doctoral Programme in Electrical Engineering, PO BOX 15500, 00076 AALTO) or by e-mail ([email protected]), if the documents need to be submitted electronically. Please DO NOT send the documents to the Admission Services as instructed in the country specific requirements webpage.

*Degrees awarded by a higher education institution in Finland:

  1. If you have completed a degree in Finland after 1 January 2003 and you have a Finnish personal identification code, Aalto University will verify your degree electronically using a national database.
  2. If your degree was completed before 1 January 2003, or you do not have a Finnish personal identification code, send certified hard copies of the required degree documents (listed above) to our office (Kitta Peura, Doctoral Programme in Electrical Engineering, PO BOX 15500, 00076 AALTO).

Certified copies and translations

Copies of degree certificates and a transcript of records must be certified by the awarding university or by a notary public. The copies must be taken from the original, official documents. A multiple-page certified copy must be certified on the front side of every page. Each page must have the certifying official’s original signature, printed name, ink stamp and date. Copies of officially certified copies are not accepted, thecertifying official’s ink stamps and signatures must be original. A note declaring official copy status (such as a “True copy” stamp) is insufficient.

The translation is official if it has been done by the higher education institution that awarded the degree or by a certified translator (authorised translator). The translations must have the certified translator’s original ink stamp and signature.

The official translations must be either original or certified paper copies of the original documents. Unofficial copies of the translations are insufficient. The official translations must be accompanied by certified paper copies of the original documents in the original language. Translations by themselves are insufficient.

Contact us

If you have questions about admissions and application instructions, you can contact [email protected] 

In case of programme-specific questions and inquiries, please contact the Learning Services of the Doctoral Programme in Electrical Engineering

Departments of the School of Electrical Engineering

Department of Electronics and Nanoengineering

Department of Electronics and Nanoengineering (ELE) conducts research and arranges related teaching courses in the fields of electromagnetics, micro and nanotechnology, radio engineering, and space technology.

Aalto University / Aalto satellite / photo: Mikko Raskinen

Department of Signal Processing and Acoustics

The Department of Signal Processing and Acoustics (SPA) combines competence in different areas of research fields varying from ICT technology to core electrical engineering and its basic phenomena.

anechoic chamber aalto university mikko raskinen

Department of Communications and Networking

The Department of Communications and Networking (Comnet), is the largest unit in Finland in its research area.

Aalto University, Aki-Pekka Sinikoski

Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation

The Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation is an ecosystem where scientists and engineers from different fields of microsystems, electrical engineering and automation work together to solve the most challenging scientific problems.


The application period is open until 3.6.2022 23:59 (UTC+3)

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