Doctoral Programme in Chemical Engineering
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Basic information on doctoral studies
Doctoral candidates graduating from this programme will be equipped with the professional skills and knowledge required for demanding academic research and teaching positions. They will be trained for the expert, development and management positions of the information society. High-level research is a prerequisite for doctoral studies and research training.
The aim of doctoral studies is for students
- to obtain a thorough knowledge of the research methods and development of their research field;
- to acquire a profound knowledge of their research field and its social significance; obtain the necessary skills to independently apply the scientific methods of their field and produce new scientific knowledge;
- to possess a sufficient level of expertise in the theory of science and other fields related to their research field.
The Doctor of Science (Technology) degree consists of
- an approved doctoral thesis
- general research studies (5-20 ECTS)
- research field studies (20-35 ECTS)
The completion of the doctoral degree equals four years of full-time studies.
The main focus of doctoral studies is on research work, the evaluation of one's research results and being published in peer-reviewed journals. In a nutshell, doctoral studies seek to provide doctoral candidates with the capacity to conduct research that produces new knowledge and to gain professional experience as a qualified researcher.
This learning process culminates in a doctoral dissertation and its public defence under the supervision of examiners who are experts in the field of the research. The latest Aalto University doctoral theses in the field of technology are available online. The webpages for the Doctoral Programme in Chemical Engineering can be found at Into.aalto.fi pages.
Doctoral education at School of Chemical Engineering resembles an apprenticeship in that students conduct their research work in close collaboration with their thesis advisor(s) and supervising professor. As a doctoral candidate, you will spend three to four years working intensively on a specific research topic and completing the written component of your intellectual piece of work, i.e. doctoral thesis. Along the way, you will participate in theory courses, seminars, research collaboration and other departmental activities as well as potentially teach undergraduates.
The language of instruction is, in principle, English, but the doctoral thesis can also be completed in Finnish or Swedish.
Internationalisation is an integral part of the school’s doctoral education in both recruiting and educating doctoral candidates. The School of Chemical Engineering is well connected to several top-level universities, research institutes and industrial operators in the field.
Aalto University encourages its doctoral candidates to spend at least six months of their study time abroad as international mobility enhances doctoral candidates’ career opportunities. Visiting a foreign university or research institute often means sharing knowledge and know-how, creating new ideas, expanding international networks, and developing one’s professional proficiency.
Full-time doctoral students
Full-timedoctoral students plan their studies with the aim of completing a doctoral degree within four years of the admission to the doctoral programme. Full-time doctoral students need to have funding allocated for the doctoral studies (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 the employers' approval for full-time doctoral studies (working students must be able to dedicate up to 80% of their working hours).
Part-time doctoral students
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 is eight years or less. A part-time doctoral student typically has a main occupation outside the School of Chemical Engineering which occupation does not include scientific research for the doctoral thesis.
Applicants for part-time doctoral studies should discuss:
- whether the research in the programme is closely connected with the applicant’s own work
- what opportunities the employer has for supporting intensive postgraduate studying e.g. alongside work.
Find out more about what we do
Get to know our doctoral students!
How to apply?
Application processing cycle for doctoral study right is organized four times a year.
Application form for spring season's two calls was opened from 5 December 2023 and will close on 7 May 2024 at 23:59h. Please see the application deadlines in the table given below. All given times are in Finnish time.
Only applications with all the required application documents will be processed. Complete applications are processed within the next two months for the doctoral committee meeting, after the application period has ended. Incomplete applications will be rejected, unless the missing materials are sent by the deadline given.
|Tuesday 30 January 2024 at 23:59
|Tuesday 7 May 2024 at 23:59
|Thursday 12 September 2024 at 23:59
|Tuesday 5 November 2024 at 23:59
Applicant must submit the electronic application and all required attachments within the deadline. This application period ends 30 January 2024 at 23.59 (UTC +2). Application form is open. Only complete applications will be processed. The next spring season application period ends on 7 May 2024 at 23:59 in Finnish time.
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 that from 1 August 2016 onwards students may accept only one study 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 1 January to 31 July. The acceptance of a study place is binding and cannot be canceled. Even if the student postpones the commencement of studies or gives up her/his right to study, the student cannot accept another study place leading to a higher education degree starting the same academic term.
To be eligible for doctoral studies at the School of Chemical Engineering, doctoral candidates must:
- hold a master’s degree granted by a Finnish university or university of applied sciences that provides them with the knowledge base required for the postgraduate research field applied for; or
- hold a degree granted by a university or university of applied sciences abroad corresponding to the Finnish master’s degree and providing them with the knowledge base required for the postgraduate research field applied for.
The knowledge base and skills required for doctoral studies shall be demonstrated by a master’s degree or by a degree earned abroad that qualifies the students for equivalent doctoral studies in the country where the degree was earned.
In principle, an acceptable master’s degree is one 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, and be deemed by the School of Chemical Engineering as providing the student with an adequate knowledge base for doctoral studies in the school.
An applicant with a relevant master's degree from a Finnish university of applied sciences is assessed by the school for his/her potential to complete doctoral studies successfully at Aalto University. Granting the right to study requires that the school determine the applicant’s need for supplementary studies. The extent of supplementary studies may not, however, exceed 60 ECTS. If the extent of necessary supplementary studies exceeds this maximum, the applicant will be advised to first pursue a master's degree before applying for a right to pursue a doctorate. International applicants with a previous technical degree corresponding to a Finnish degree from a university of applied sciences are subject to the same rules as applicants with the corresponding Finnish degree.
Students holding a master’s degree earned abroad are eligible for doctoral studies at the School of Chemical Engineering, provided the degree qualifies them for equivalent doctoral studies in the country where the degree was earned.
The following is required for an applicant to be approved for doctoral studies:
- Adequate knowledge in his or her confirmed research field, gained through, for example, courses toward the major, courses in an advanced module in master’s studies, or equivalent studies.
- Completing studies that support writing the thesis also require sufficient basic knowledge.
- When necessary, the School of Chemical Engineering will set prerequisites for admission to the doctoral programme, for instance, requiring that credits be earned by taking exams related to master's-level courses.
Required grades in the master´s degree (on the scale 1 - 5)
- Applicants will have earned the master’s degree that the are using as the basis for doctoral studies with a weighted average grade of 3.5 / very good excluding the grade of master's thesis (Aalto University uses the grading scale 1–5); or
- Applicants with a master’s degree earned in accordance with the degree regulations of 1995 must have completed the major studies (minimum 30 ECTS) in the master’s degree used as a basis for doctoral studies with an average grade of 3.5 / 5.
- Applicants will have completed their master’s thesis with a grade of 4.0 / very good (Aalto University uses the grading scale 1–5).
- The same requirements apply to degrees whether they are earned in Finland or abroad.
Students who fail to meet these criteria but are otherwise suitable for doctoral studies may improve their grades by taking additional courses or, alternatively, the school may set prerequisites for doctoral studies. In addition to courses taken at the School of Chemical Engineering, the school may, based on a proposal of the supervising professor of the research field, accept courses taken at other universities.
Successful applicants must have an excellent command of Finnish, Swedish or English. (Aalto University Admission Criteria 2022)
All international students applying for doctoral studies must demonstrate their proficiency in English. Applicants are required to attach an official language test report to their application. See recognised language tests and minimum scores below.
The following groups are exempted from the language test requirement:
Applicants who have completed a higher education degree:
- instructed in Finnish, Swedish or English at a Finnish university or a university of applied sciences.
- instructed entirely in English at a university or a university of applied sciences in an EU/EEA country. The official language of the degree programme has to be stated in the degree certificate or its supplement, in the transcript of records or in an official document issued by the higher education institution in question.
- instructed in English at a higher education institution that is physically located in one of the following countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South-Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom or USA.
If the degree includes studies from some other institution, the studies must also have been taken in English in a country and institution where the completed studies exempt the student from taking an English language test. However, this does not apply to degree studies completed during a student exchange.
- have received 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 while residing in that country
- have completed MBA, EMBA or DBA awarded by Aalto Executive Education
Only the above-mentioned groups are exempted from the language test requirement, for all other applicants the official language test result is an obligatory application document and applications without the test result will not be processed.
Recognised language tests and minimum score requirements (Aalto University Admission Criteria 2022):
- IELTS (Academic IELTS only): 6.5, and 5.5 for Writing
IBT (Internet-based Test): 92, and 22 for Writing or
PDT (Paper-Delivered Test): Reading 22, Listening 22, and Writing 24
- Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE A): 62, and 54 for Writing
- Cambridge English Qualification:
- C1 Advanced (former name Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English, CAE): A, B or C
- C2 Proficiency (former name Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English, CPE): A, B, C or Level C1
Aalto University accepts also TOEFL iBT® Home Edition and IELTS Indicator (Academic) tests.
IELTS, TOEFL and PTE results are valid for two years starting from the test date. C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency results do not have an expiration date; however, only tests that can be verified online, i.e. tests taken after 2005, are accepted.
Submission of English language test results:
Only official reports of the language test are acceptable as proof of proficiency.
- For IELTS test, upload a PDF copy of the test report to your application form (if you have received it already). In addition, the electronic test report needs to be nominated to Aalto University in the test administrator's service. When booking the test, you can choose Aalto University as the Recognising Organisation to make your score available to Aalto University. If you have already taken the test, you need to contact your test centre and request the test administrator to send your electronic test report to Aalto University. See the instructions for sending IELTS results to nominated organisations (electronically) on the test administrator website. The results are verified electronically.
- 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. The scores are available within 1 to 2 weeks of sending the score report request.
- PTE test scores are sent via the test administrator’s electronic service. Log in to your PTE account and send your results to Aalto University in the test administrator’s service. The test administrator notifies by email when the results have been sent to the university.
- For the C1 Advanced or C2 Proficiency language test, upload a PDF copy of the results report to your application form. Your test taker's ID number (e.g. ABC1234567), Reference number (e.g. 173YU0034522) and Statement of results number must be entered to the application form. In addition, log in to the language test administrator's service and submit your results to Aalto University. The results are verified electronically.
Before applying, please check the basic requirements for eligibility to doctoral studies. Contact the School of Chemical Engineering professor responsible for your field of research before starting the application process.
Fill in the Aalto University application form for doctoral studies during the application period. All the attachments must be submitted as PDF files.
- Fill in the application form (the link will be available during the application period) and attach the required appendices (see below).
Detailed instructions for the application form:
- Definition of full-time and part-time doctoral candidates.
- Language of the degree: Choose English unless you wish to write your dissertation in Finnish or Swedish.
- Position funding: Choose the length of secured funding. Choose "no funding" if you do not have any secured funding
- If you want to apply for School of Chemical Engineering funding please make sure to check the deadline for the school's funding. Funding application is a separate application form and funding cannot be applied with the study-right application form
- Last name and all first names: the spelling of names must match your valid passport.
- Contact Information: Your e-mail address will be used to send all information concerning your application and its position in the decision process
- If you have not completed your master's degree by the application deadline, verify the graduation schedule with your home university and the date for obtaining your official degree certificate. Only applicants who acquire their master's degree certificate within three months of the application deadline can apply for conditional admission. The conditional right to study will expire if the candidate does not fulfil all requirements of the School of Chemical Engineering for doctoral students within the time limit stated in the official decision.
- Please attach the required appendices (see below) as PDF files to the application form. All appendices are placed to the electronic application form.
Appendices to the application
- Curriculum vitae (CV), max. two (2) pages in English, including detailed information of your scientific activity (publications in print, submitted publications, conference presentations (talks and posters) and patents). For more information on how to write an academic CV, please refer to the curriculum vitae instructions and template for Finnish research organisations.
- Research plan with funding plan, written by the applicant under the supervision of the professor. In English, no more than two pages (including references/bibliography).
- Research plan with funding plan is written by applicant under supervision of professor. Supervising professor must sign the research plan.
- Schedule of the research work and planned publications: time span of 3-4 years for full-time students and 4-8 years for part-time students; the schedule for the publications and completion of doctoral degree
- Implementation of the scientific plan
- Funding plan for the research work made by applicant. Funding plan in one section or as figure - state the start and ending of secured funding time and also suggest from where the missing funding will be acquired (scholarships, projects etc.). State clearly for which months the funding has been secured (example: May 2018- June 2021), and also uncertain funding seasons. Include also a list of all funding applications during the last six months. A minimum of one year funding is required to start the doctoral research project.
- The Supervising professor must confirm his/her commitment to supervise the thesis according to the schedule and resources of research plan.
- Study plan for theoretical studies. Attach the copy (word / excel file) as an appendix to the application form. Please read the curriculum regarding the content of the study plan (40 ECTS). Curriculum
All applicants must include in their study plan the course 'CHEM-L1000, Toolkit for Doctoral Studies' (5 ECTS), which is offered every autumn term. Browse the School of Chemical Engineering pages as well as Sisu for suitable doctoral level courses. Please remember to include the abbreviation D for doctoral level courses provided by Aalto University.
- Supervision plan. Fill in and print out the supervision plan, obtain all signatures, scan and save as a PDF file and attach the file as an appendix to your application. Carefully read the guidelines, approved by the university’s Academic Affairs Committee, which give detailed information about the mutual duties and responsibilities of the supervising professor and doctoral candidate. Every doctoral candidate at the School of Chemical Engineering has 1–3 thesis advisor(s). The supervising professor can be one of the thesis advisors. Guidelines
- Your motivation letter in English, one page long. Include it as a file attachment to your application form (not only as text in the application form’s text box under the motivation question).
- A description of your previous research work, such as a master's dissertation. Please describe your research experience in your own words. One page long, in English.
- A letter from your supervising professor at the School of Chemical Engineering. The professor will submit the letter directly to the Doctoral Programme Services of School of Chemical Engineering. With this letter, the professor in question has an opportunity to highlight your special skills and potential.
- Any other supporting documents, such as a letter of recommendation, in which case it should include an explanation of the connection between the applicant and the person giving the recommendation. Max. two letters.
- Official English abstract of your master's dissertation.
- Copy of the identity page of your passport or ID- card.
Applicants with a master's degree earned at a university other than Aalto University (or than Helsinki University of Technology) should also provide:
a) Certified copies* of degree diplomas and a transcript of completed courses, together with a translation of these if the original documents are not in Finnish, Swedish or English. Transcripts of study records for B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in English, Finnish or Swedish.
- Note: Applicants granted the right to study at the doctoral level at the School of Chemical Engineering must present their original degree documents no later than their arrival at Aalto University.
b) Proof of proficiency in Finnish, Swedish or English if the applicant is not exempted from the language test requirement. Please check the English language requirements under the headline "Required language proficiency".
Degrees awarded by a higher education institution outside Finland:
You are asked to present your original degree certificate (including all the appendices and the Diploma Supplement in European countries) and official transcript of records, or certified copiesof all these* before a right to study can be granted. You are asked also to present official translations* of these, if the originals are not in Finnish, Swedish or English.
Degrees awarded by a higher education institution in Finland:
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.
If your degree was completed before 1 January 2003, or you do not have a Finnish personal identification code, you are asked to present your original degree certificate (including all the appendices and the Diploma Supplement in European countries) and official transcript of records or certified copies of all these* before a right to study can be granted.
*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.
Giving misleading information during the application process is not in line with good scientific practice. Aalto University is strongly committed to the guidelines of the TENK. The actions of applicant which fall under the points 3, 6-8 of these guidelines will lead to negative study right decision, even if the applicant is otherwise eligible for the degree programme. Any violation of TENK guidelines will seriously endanger your career prospects at Aalto University.
- Contents of the previous degree(s)
- Previous study achievements and the duration of studies
- The quality and international regard of the applicant’s degree and university
- Research potential, previous research experience: work experience in the research sector, scientific publications, conference papers, etc.
- Appropriateness of the research topic: with respect to the School's and Department's focus areas so that proficient guidance and mentor's genuine scientific interest are possible
- Research plan:theoretical and practical relevance and novelty of the topic, and feasibility of the plan (quality, realism, methodical approach etc.)
- Effort and resources for doctoral studies: feasibility of the study plan, realistic time available for studying and research during the forthcoming 4 years, and motivation and commitment to the work required by doctoral studies
- Time management, funding and resources: the feasibility of the study plan and the funding, supervision resources and time available for the doctoral studies in the next four (4) years.
- Other reasons presented by the applicant
If these conditions are not met, but the applicant is otherwise suitable for doctoral studies, the applicant may raise his/her grades or the school may set prerequisites for entry. Admission criteria may be departed from on the grounds of the supervising professor’s written statement.
In addition to the above mentioned criteria also the resources of Department to supervise and fund doctoral students will be noticed. A minimum of one year funding is required to start the doctoral research project. However there are no exact admission quotas.
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