Doctoral Training at the Faculty of Education - Application Instructions

The next application period is 28 August - 15 September, 2023. During this application period you may apply for a right to study for a doctoral degree at the Faculty of Education and/or for a fixed-term doctoral researcher position under an employment contract. Please see the application instructions in the Call for Applications.

> Call for Applications (Autumn 2023)

> KEVEKO Ask & Apply, August 24th

> OPPI Ask & Apply, August 28th

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 degree that gives eligibility for admission must be completed by the end of the application period.

In addition, the selection is conditional on the fulfilment of the following criteria:

  • 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 studies for attaining sufficient educational preparedness.
  • 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.
  • In their application, the applicant must demonstrate English skills in accordance with the Rectors decision (please see language requirements below).


Application periods and how to apply

The application period for doctoral studies takes place twice a year. The right to study starts from the beginning of the semester following the application period. The fixed-term doctoral researcher's positions under an employment contract can be applied in autumn only.

The application periods during the academic year 2023-2024 are

  • 28.8.2023 - 15.9.2023 (study right begins 1.1.2024  + UTUGS funded positions  1.1.2024-31.12.2027).
  • 28.2.2024 - 15.3.2024 (study right begins 1.8.2024).

The right to pursue 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.  A link to the electronic form will be published on the website of the graduate school.

See the Call for Application for the required application attachments. 

Degree and major subject

The degrees of Kasvatustieteen tohtori, Doctor of Philosophy (Education), and Filosofian tohtori, Doctor of Philosophy, can be completed in the Faculty of Education. The degree is selected when applying for postgraduate studies. As a rule, Masters of Arts (Education) complete a degree of Doctor of Philosophy in education. Those with other suitable education complete a degree of Doctor of Philosophy. It is also possible to complete a licentiate degree in education at the Faculty. New doctoral researchers to be selected are granted the right to study directly for a doctoral degree, and the completion of a licentiate degree is not recommended.

The degrees of Doctor of Philosophy (Education), Licentiate of Philosophy (Education) and Doctor of Philosophy can be completed with Educational Sciences, Adult Education, Special Education or Craft, Design and Technology Education as the major subject. The major subject is selected on the basis of previous studies and/or the research topic at the application phase.


Before submitting an application, the applicant should find the first supervisor for their research that meets the Faculty´s requirements.

The supervisor must be a professor, assistant/ associate professor or adjunct professor employed by the Faculty’s department (Department of Education or Department of Teacher Education). Once the professor/assistant professor/associate professor/adjunct professor has approved the applicant's research plan and has agreed to become the first supervisor of the research, the applicant may submit an application for postgraduate studies in the next call. After the application period ends, the supervisor fills in an assessment form on the applicant's research plan and the conditions for obtaining the doctoral degree and submits the assessment form to the doctoral programme Coordinator.

If the applicant does not know a suitable supervisor for their research, they may contact the doctoral programme Coordinator, who will ask the applicant to provide the necessary information (including a preliminary research plan and CV) to find a supervisor. The information is provided on an electronic form. Based on the information on the form, the Coordinator will be in contact with the possible potential supervisors. There is no suitable supervisor for all applicants / research topics in the doctoral programme, and finding a supervisor does no guarantee the study right.

It is recommended that the applicant start their application process as early as approximately six months before applying for postgraduate studies by participating in the so-called orientation phase, during which they, for instance, take part in their future supervisor’s postgraduate seminars and fulfil their study and research plan with the guidance of the supervisor.

If the applicant has not provided a supervisor in their application, the application is dismissed and will not be evaluated by the steering committee of the doctoral programme.

Language requirements

When applying for a right to study the applicant must prove the knowledge of English either with a previous studies (degrees) or with a language test.

The University of Turku follows the Rector’s decision (15 Aug 2019) on the means of verifying one’s language proficiency. Please see the language requirements for admission on the website of the Graduate School.

Research plan

The research plan should be written according to the guidelines of the doctoral programme. The research plan should not exceed 12 pages (including all tables and references). 

Research plan instructions KEVEKO

Research plan instructions OPPI

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. A maximum of 24 doctoral researchers per academic year are admitted into the Faculty. The quota is divided so that a maximum total of 12 doctoral researchers can be selected for both doctoral programmes of the Faculty a year.

A doctoral researcher can have only one study right for a doctoral degree at the University of Turku at a time.