Doctoral Programme in Molecular Life Sciences - for the Doctoral Candidate

Doctoral programme in Molecular Life Sciences offers its doctoral candidates support, organizes events and thematic courses, and awards travel grants and grants for completing a doctoral degree.

University of Turku uses UGIS system to guide doctoral candidates throughout the doctoral training.

General instructions for doctoral studies
  • Create a personal study plan in Peppi system
  • Start to earn study credits
  • Start to carry out your research
  • Set intermediate goals for data acquisition and writing
  • Try to have your first manuscript submitted by the end of the second year


At the end

  • Start to prepare for the last steps well in advance, the process takes several months
  • Make sure you have completed all the required studies
  • Check the originality of your thesis with Turnitin
  • Propose pre-examiners to the Faculty together with your supervisor
  • Deliver PDF of your thesis to the Faculty
  • Propose Opponent and Custos to the Faculty together with your supervisor
  • After you have been granted a printing license, publish your thesis
  • Deliver one copy of the printed thesis to the Faculty and one copy to the Rector
  • Fill in the announcement of the public defence of a doctoral dissertation to the University Communications
  • Prepare a press release of the dissertation in Finnish
Doctoral thesis and Postgraduate studies

For the Doctor of Philosophy or Doctor of Technology degree the doctoral candidate must:
1) Complete curriculum defined studies for 40 credits.
2) Write and publish a doctoral thesis which is approved by the Faculty after a public inspection.

The PhD thesis is based on three scientific articles, two of which needs to be published or accepted for publication. The PhD thesis can also be a monograph. The postgraduate studies can include, apart from courses specifically tailored for doctoral students, also advanced level courses. Courses given at any recognised university in Finland or abroad can be included in the postgraduate studies.

Summary of DPMLS curriculum 2020-2022

Studies in research topic, 15–30 ECTS

  • Postgraduate courses and summer schools, 2-22 ECTS
  • Book exam, 4-10 ECTS
  • Seminars, 2-15 ECTS
  • DPMLS Annual Meeting, 2-4 ECTS

Studies supporting research area, 2–10 ECTS

  • Teaching practice, 2-6 ECTS
  • Publications not included in the PhD thesis, 0-4 ECTS
  • Studies in minor subject, 0-8 ECTS
  • Project design and management, 0-6 ECTS

Studies supporting mobility and professional career, 2–10 ECTS

  • Scientific conferences, 2-8 ECTS
  • Research visits, 0-5 ECTS
  • Internship, 0-6 ECTS

General studies aiming for expertise, 4–10 ECTS

  • Research ethics, 2 ECTS
  • Language and presentation skills, 0-8 ECTS
  • University Pedagogy, 0-8 ECTS
  • Public outreach, 0-5 ECTS
  • Professional and Career Skills, 0-6 ECTS
  • Entrepreneurship and leading skills, 0-6 ECTS
  • Departmental activities, 0-4 ECTS
Courses, events and grants



  • DPMLS annual meeting: MLS organizes an annual meeting usually in May. The annual meeting provides doctoral candidates an opportunity to meet each other and get insights on the research in the field of Molecular life sciences. Doctoral candidates get 1 ECTS for participating in the full programme.
  • BioCity Symposium


  • DPMLS travel grants are awarded twice per year. Fund are allocated for travels to international conferences, research visits, workshops and PhD courses.
  • DPMLS grants for completing a doctoral degree are awarded twice per year. DPMLS awards 1-3 month grants for doctoral candidates who are at the very last stages of their doctoral studies.
  • DPMLS grants for thesis language checking - please, contact coordinator for more information.
Annual progress reporting and advisory committee meeting

Advisory Committee

Doctoral Candidate belonging to DPMLS is asked to appoint an Advisory Committee. The purpose of the Advisory Committee is to support together with supervisor(s) the progress of Doctoral Candidate’s doctoral dissertation.
The task of the advisory committee is to:

  •     support the Doctoral Candidate in both scientific and other issues
  •     identify any potential problems
  •     ensure that the personal study plan is being adhered to
  •     if necessary, to help with the adjustment of study plan to enable the PhD project to be completed within four years and to support career after doctoral dissertation

All interactions between the Doctoral Candidate and the Advisory Committee are to be considered confidential.
Two external members in addition to the Doctoral Candidate and supervisor(s) make up the Advisory Committee group. The external members should hold doctoral degree and come outside of doctoral candidate’s own research group. It is recommended that one of the members comes outside of University of Turku. New Doctoral Candidates select the Advisory Committee members with help of their supervisor(s) and inform the names of the committee members in the DPMLS application form or latest two months after receiving a study right in DPMLS to the DPMLS Coordinator.

Annual Progress Report

The progress of doctoral research and doctoral training of the Doctoral Candidates is annually monitored by the Doctoral Programme in Molecular Life Sciences (DPMLS). Doctoral Candidate is asked to fill out the electronic DPMLS progress report form. Link to the reporting form is open in January. After finishing the progress report, please save the report as a pdf-file and send the report to supervisor(s) and to Advisory Committee members well in advance of the Advisory committee meeting (see below).

Advisory Committee meetings

The Doctoral Candidate will organize an Advisory Committee meeting annually before the end of April. Doctoral Candidate provides the Advisory Committee members with a DPMLS progress report well in advance of the meeting. In the meeting Doctoral Candidate gives an oral presentation of the progress on the doctoral dissertation followed by discussion.
In the meeting the following issues should be discussed:

  •     Current phase of the doctoral research: what has been accomplished, what needs to be still done
  •     Completed study work during the follow-up year and possible changes to the study plan
  •     Did the doctoral dissertation proceed according to plan during the follow up year
  •     Which factors promoted and which prevented the progress
  •     Goals for the current year and how they can be achieved
  •     International mobility during the follow up year
  •     Career plans after doctoral dissertation

At the end of the meeting the supervisor(s) will leave the room and gives to the Doctoral Candidate a possibility to discuss with the other Advisory group members about potential problems. Mutually, the Doctoral Candidate leaves the room and gives to the supervisor(s) and Advisory group members a possibility to discuss without presence of the Doctoral Candidate.
The Doctoral Candidate together with the Advisory Committee writes a short summary of the meeting and returns the signed report to UGIS by the end of April. Also new Doctoral Candidates should organize an Advisory Committee meeting in the beginning of their studies and present and discuss about the research plan and study plan in the Advisory Committee meeting.

Dissertation process and graduation
  • Instructions of the Faculty of Technology for dissertation process
  • General guidelines for dissertation defence
  • DPMLS thesis proofreading and editing grant: Maximum EUR 200 for a thesis. Please, apply the grant by sending an email to the doctoral programme coordinator. 
DPMLS Steering Committee

Director Professor Eevi Rintamäki (Molecular Plant Biology)

Deputy Associate Professor Kaisa Linderborg (Food Chemistry)
Associate Professor Paula Mulo (Molecular Plant Biology)
Senior Lecturer Saara Wittfooth (Biotechnology)
Adjunct Professor Anssi Malinen (Biochemistry)
Doctoral Candidate Aleksi Isomursu (Biochemistry)
Doctoral Candidate Niina Kelanne (Food Chemistry)
Doctoral Candidate Niko Markkinen (Food Chemistry)