Doctoral Training at the Faculty of Education - Application Instructions

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible for studies leading to an academic postgraduate degree is a person who has completed (Universities Act 558/2009, Section 37):

  • an applicable higher university degree
  • an applicable higher polytechnic degree; or
  • an applicable education completed abroad which in the awarding country gives eligibility for corresponding higher education

The university may require a student admitted to study for an academic postgraduate degree complete the necessary supplementary studies in order to acquire the knowledge and skills needed for the studies (Universities Act 558/2009, Section 37).

The Faculty of Education provides the degrees of Kasvatustieteen tohtori (Doctor of Philosophy, in Education) and Filosofian tohtori (Doctor of Philosophy). The degrees can be completed with Education, Adult education, Special education or Craft education as the major subject. The degree and major subject are selected according to the previous studies and/or research theme when applying for doctoral studies.

Admission to postgraduate studies requires that the Faculty finds the applicant’s previous degree and education to provide sufficient skills for the postgraduate degree carried out in the Faculty’s subjects. Applicant’s former degrees must include a sufficient amount of studies in educational sciences or other fields relevant for the Doctoral Programme. The Steering Committee of the Doctoral Programme evaluates the validity of the previous degree for doctoral training. The Doctoral Programmes may require supplementary studies for attaining sufficient educational preparedness. Supplementary studies cannot be included in the postgraduate degree.

The grade of the master’s thesis should be at least 3 (on a scale from 1 to 5) or cum laude approbatur. This requirement does not apply to those with a foreign higher university degree. It is also possible to apply for postgraduate studies with a lower grade, if the applicant presents sufficient scientific evidence. A peer-reviewed article with a publishing channel (journal, series or publisher) of at least level 1 in the publication channel rating and where the applicant is listed as the first author can be considered sufficient scientific evidence.

In addition, it’s required that the applicant provides in the application a supervisor who meets the requirements of the Faculty and who has approved the research plan and agreed to be the first supervisor of the research.

Application periods and how to apply

The application period for doctoral studies occurs twice a year. The right to study begins in the beginning of the next semester. The fixed-term Doctoral Candidate positions can be applied in autumn only.

The application periods during the academic year 2020-2021 are

  • 1.-18.9.2020 (the right to study and/or funded doctoral candidate position)
  • 1.-19.3.2021 (the right to study)

The right to study for a doctoral degree is applied for by filling in an application form in the electronic application system and submitting the required application documents by the end of the application period.

Those applying for a right to study for a doctoral degree, select the doctoral programme which most corresponds to their research subject in the application phase. A maximum total of 6–8 doctoral candidates can be selected for both doctoral programmes of the Faculty per autumn application round and 4–6 doctoral candidates per spring application round.

Please see the application requirements and detailed guidelines (Call for Applications) below.

> The guide for filling in the electronic form


Those planning doctoral studies must before applying for the study right contact a professor or docent supervising the Faculty’s doctoral studies, present a preliminary research plan and discuss the research and carrying out doctoral studies. A person applying for the right to study should discuss with his/her supervisor of the details related to the research project in good time, even months, before the beginning of the application period.

When a professor or a docent employed by the Department of the Faculty (Department of Education/Department of Teacher Education), has approved the research plan and agreed to be the first supervisor of the research, the applicant can submit an application in the next application period. After the application period ends, the professor or docent who has agreed to be the first supervisor fills in an evaluation form on the applicant and his/her research plan and delivers the evaluation directly to the Chief Academic Officer.

A list of the Faculty’s professors and docents and their research areas can be found on the website of the Departments. If the applicant has not provided a supervisor in his/her application, the application is dismissed and won’t be evaluated by the Steering Committee of the Doctoral Programme.

Language requirements

A doctoral candidate is expected to have a capability to communicate fluently in English for the sake of the studies, research and integration to the scientific community. When applying for a right to study you must prove your knowledge of English either with your previous studies (degrees) or with a language test.

All applicants must comply with the University's common language requirements for applicants. Please see the language requirements for admission on the website of the Graduate School.

If you are going to verify your language skills with a language test, make sure that you book your test time well in advance, even a couple of months before the application period, to make sure that the test result is available during the application period.

Description of the application documents

The following documents must be attached to the electronic application form:

1. Research plan

Research plan instructions KEVEKO

Research plan instructions OPPI

By attaching the research plan to the application form the applicant gives permission for checking the research plan with Turnitin Originality Check (system for electrical plagiarism detection).

2. Curriculum vitae (in Finnish or in English)

Please see the instructions of Finnish National Board on Research Integrity (TENK) for writing a CV. A CV includes a list of publications. The CV includes a list of publications which should follow the publication type classification by Ministry of Education, Science and Culture.

3. Motivation letter

Motivation letter is a one-page-long freeform document, which includes the reasons for applying to doctoral studies position in the Faculty of Education, University of Turku.

4. Degree certificates and transcripts of study records

A. If the applicant has completed the former degree(s) which make him/her eligible for doctoral studies at a university in Finland, the degree certificates, the transcripts of study records and other educational documents which may be of relevance in the student selection must be attached to the electronic application form.

B. If the applicant has completed the former degree(s) which make him/her eligible for doctoral studies at a university abroad (i.e. outside Finland), s/he must attach the following items to the electronic application form:

  • scanned original degree certificates (in the same language as the degree was completed in)
  • scanned original transcripts of study records (in the same language as the degree was completed in)
  • scanned other original educational documents which may be of relevance in the student selection

If the original degree certificates and other educational documents are not written in English, Finnish or Swedish, official translations to one of these languages must also be submitted. An official translation here refers to a translation of the educational documents issued by the awarding institution or a translation made by an authorized translator. A transcript in English can be replaced by a Diploma Supplement awarded by a European educational institution if it contains the information about completed courses and other study attainments.

Those applicants who have been granted a right to study and who have completed their prior degree abroad have to submit either the original degree certificates or certified copies of the degree certificates and other educational documents and the official translations of the documents to the University of Turku as instructed in the admission notification. If the admitted applicant does not deliver the required certificates by the deadline set in the admission notification, he/she forfeits the study right. Instructions on delivering certificates and country-specific requirements are available here.

5. Verification of the language proficiency

Please see the language requirements.

6. Supervisor’s assessment of the applicant’s research plan and the applicant’s ability to complete a doctoral degree

The supervisor delivers the assessment directly to the Chief Academic Officer in the Faculty of Education.

7. If the applicant has a right to study for a doctoral degree at another university or in another doctoral programme at the University of Turku, the applicant must provide reasons for changing over to a doctoral programme in the Faculty of Education of the University of Turku. If any materials collected during the previous supervision relationship are planned to be used in the dissertation, a consent of the previous supervisor to the use of research materials must be submitted. A student may hold only one doctoral degree study right at the University of Turku at a time.

Admission criteria

The applicant’s abilities and commitment for completing the doctoral degree successfully are evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • the quality of the research plan: including the innovativeness of the research theme, the clarity of the research plan and the viability of the research,
  • the success in the earlier studies, research experience and motivation to complete the doctoral degree,
  • the international orientation and the language skills required for the studies,
  • the realism of the financial plan and the time-management plan.

When granting the study right, in addition to the skills and abilities of the applicant, also the following issues are evaluated:

  • the sufficiency of the supervision resources and the expertise of the supervisor for the research theme proposed in the application
  • the suitability of the research for the doctoral programme.

The study right will not be granted if the applicant does not meet the conditions of the selection criteria or if the applicant does not fit in the set quotas in comparison.

The Steering Committee of the Doctoral Programme handles the applications and organises the student selection. The Faculty’s Dean/Vice Dean approves the new students on the basis of the Steering Committee’s proposition. The applicant receives a notice on the decision personally. The unfavourable decision includes the grounds for the rejection and appeal instructions.

Call for Applications

The next application period is 1 March - 19 March 2021. This application period you may apply for a right to study for a doctoral degree at the Faculty of Education.

Call for Applications