Doctoral Programme in Law - for the Doctoral Candidate

General instructions for doctoral studies

The extent of doctoral programme at the Faculty of Law is 240 credits (ECTS).

The studies comprise six units:

  • doctoral dissertation (200 credits),
  • Orientation -course (2 credits),
  • active participation in the Dissertation seminars (12 credits),
  • Methodology studies (8 credits),
  • Ethics of Academic Research -course (2 credits) and
  • other studies (16 credits).

Further information is available at the study guide.

Useful links

Postgraduate studies

High-level research is conducted in all legal fields, and researchers participate in the ongoing legal and societal discussion in Finland through media, the drafting of legislation, and jurisprudential publications. The Faculty of Law has also been successful in the subject rankings of the QS World University Rankings.
Several research projects at the Faculty have received national or international funding. Some projects focus on purely legal issues, while others are interdisciplinary and involve collaboration with other faculties, universities or partners.
The Doctoral Programme in Law is part of The University of Turku Graduate School – UTUGS, which coordinates the doctoral studies within the whole university.

​Monitoring the work progress

Every year, the doctoral candidate will report on the aims and results of their work to the Doctoral Programme of Law as instructed by the doctoral programme.
The supervisory group will evaluate the progress of the doctoral candidate at least four times during the doctoral studies. First evaluation takes place about four months after starting the doctoral studies, which means in April for those who started their studies in January, and in November for those who started in August.
On the first time the research plan and the scheduling of the research will be evaluated and goals are set for the next evaluations.
The next evaluations take place one year, two years and three years after starting the doctoral studies. On the second, third and fourth evaluation the agreed output will be considered, and goals for the third and fourth evaluation will be defined.
As a part of the evaluation of the work progress each doctoral candidate submits electronically a yearly report by the given deadline. The annual report will include the student’s assessment on the progress of their postgraduate studies and dissertation during the previous academic year. The report will be considered as part of the doctoral candidate’s evaluation.
The supervisory group will make a written statement which will be delivered to the doctoral candidate and the Board of the Doctoral Programme.
Part-time doctoral candidates can be designated a supervisory group only if they request for one from the Board of the Doctoral Programme in Law.
Writing the annual report is considered creditless studies, although it is entered into the student records. Submitting the report is a prerequisite for keeping the study right active and, for instance, for applying for travel grants.


A doctoral candidate has, in general, two personal supervisors. In connection with granting the study right, the Dean appoints a main supervisor for the doctoral candidate. The second supervisor will be appointed within a year from granting the study right.

The person appointed as a main supervisor must be a Professor or Docent in the Faculty. The other supervisor can be a Professor, a Docent or a person that holds a doctoral degree from the Faculty of Law, another faculty at the University of Turku or from another university. However, at least one supervisor must be employed by the Faculty of Law at the University of Turku. In order to ensure the quality of supervision, it is recommended that one supervisor has no more than 5-7 supervisees, if there is no special reason for exceeding this limit. If necessary, the supervisor(s) can be changed or a new supervisor appointed for the doctoral candidate.

Each doctoral candidate funded by UTUGS or the doctoral programme, employed in a research project or working as a grantee full-time will be appointed a supervisory group consisting of the supervisor(s) and 2 to 3 individuals with a Doctor’s degree. The supervisory group is appointed by the Board of the Doctoral Programme. The Board endeavors to secure the expertise required when appointing the supervisory groups.


Dissertation process

Please read carefully the Guidelines for Dissertation Defence and the instructions given on the page Dissertation process in the Faculty of Law.


Doctoral studies can be funded for example by working as a doctoral candidate at the Faculty, by a scholarship, by working as a researcher in a research project or by studying part-time while at work.

Working as a doctoral candidate

The Faculty employs several doctoral candidates, whose main job is doing research aiming for a doctoral degree. Doctoral candidates employed by the Faculty are also given some tasks in the Faculty disciplines. These tasks can include making exam questions, correcting exam answers, reading theses, instructing seminars, lecturing, supervising examinations and participating in the Faculty committees. The tasks are always agreed together with the professor of the discipline in question. The vacant doctoral candidate's positions are announced on the front page of the Faculty website.


It is possible to apply for scholarships from different foundations, associations and public communities for funding doctoral studies.

More information about funding is availabel on the page of the University of Turku Graduate School (UTUGS) and in the Intranet on the page of the Research Funding Unit.

International students

There are some funding possibilties especially for international doctoral students, for example CIMO Fellowships or Erasmus Mundus programmes, in which the University of Turku is participating.  

Working in a research project

There are several ongoing research projects at the Faculty, which also employ doctoral candidates.

> Research at the Faculty of Law

Part-time studies

It is also possible to study part-time while at work. However, in this case it normally takes longer to graduate. While the target net time for completing the doctoral studies is four years, it is longer when working simultaneously.


Funded Doctoral candidate positions

In Autumn 2020 the Doctoral Programme in Law has invited applications to Doctoral candidate positions funded by UTUGS. The results will be published here in the end of November.


Please contact the coordinator of the Docotral Programme in Law.

Mirkka Ruotsalainen

Tel. +358 29 450 4195
Office hour by appointment

  • doctoral student guidance
  • doctoral dissertations
  • licentiate degree's
  • other administrative tasks concerning doctoral education