Applying to Doctoral Studies at Turku School of Economics

Turku School of Economics offers the following postgraduate degrees: Doctor of Science in Economics and Business Administration, Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Social Sciences. The application periods are in accordance with the application periods of University of Turku Graduate School (UTUGS). The application period is twice a year: in spring term and in autumn term.

Doctoral researchers at Turku School of Economics may belong either to the Doctoral Programme of Turku School of Economics (all majors except Health Economics), to the Doctoral Programme in Technology (Information Systems Science as major subject) or to the Doctoral Programme in Clinical Research (Health Economics as major subject). 

In all Doctoral Programmes, the applicants must fulfill the admission and eligibility criteria of Turku School of Economics that can be found from this webpage. The selection criteria are used in order to ensure that the applicants with different educational backgrounds have the necessary abilities to successfully complete academic postgraduate studies.

In addition to the selection criteria of Turku School of Economics, Doctoral Programmes have their own application enclosure requirements so applicants must follow carefully the instructions of the Doctoral Programme they are applying to. They publish a call for applications before each application period that can be found from the webpages of the Doctoral Programme:

Selection criteria for postgraduate studies at TSE

Who can apply?

Applicable degree and meeting the quality requirements thereof

In Finland, eligible for studies leading to an academic postgraduate degree are those who have obtained

  1. an applicable higher university degree
  2. an applicable higher polytechnic degree
  3. an applicable education completed abroad which in the awarding country gives eligibility for corresponding higher education

Applicants that have completed a degree in the field of business science can apply for the Doctor of Science is Economic and Business Administration (all majors). Others may apply either to Doctor of Social Sciences wirh Economics as a major (with a degree in the field of social sciences or in another relevant field) or Doctor of Philosophy (all majors).

Applications are evaluated by professors in academic departments based on the applicants’ previous academic performance, research potential, motivation, and references. Candidates must be available for an interview either face to face or virtually. The prerequisites for admission and the capabilities for successful doctoral training will be examined case-by-case by the subject and the steering committee of the doctoral programme.

As a rule, before admission applicants must have completed 60 ECTS credits of studies in the chosen major subject, 18 ECTS credits of which must be advanced studies. The previous studies must also include methodological studies. The previous studies in the major subject, as well as the thesis, must have been completed with at least very good grades, i.e., grade 4 or 5 on a scale from 1 to 5 (or corresponding grades). In exceptional cases where an applicant's grades obtained for their Master's degree (or equivalent) do not meet the requirements for admission to TSE, it may be possible to compensate the insufficient grades with an outstanding research plan. This is evaluated in the major subject.

Those applying for doctoral studies in economics and business administration must have a degree in economic science, and those applying for doctoral studies in social sciences (economics as a major) must have a degree in social sciences or in another applicable field. Applicants with degrees in other field can apply for doctoral studies in philosophy.

Applicants for the postgraduate studies in Economics and Business Administration who have completed degrees in fields other than business science must complete the common core studies included in economics and business administration studies. They must also complete the basic studies of one subject in business sciences and potentially separately specified supplementary courses in the major subject of the doctoral degree — including the major’s methodology courses — before they can be accepted for postgraduate studies.

Depending on the applicant’s academic background and experience, the applicant may be required to complete complementary university-level studies or bridging studies if they are considered necessary for the applicant to start their doctoral studies in the chosen major subject. The bridging studies may amount to a maximum of 60 ECTS credits, and they must be completed with very good grades (at least 60% of the maximum score) before the study right is granted. The bridging studies may be completed at the Open University or as non-degree studies.

High quality research plan

The application must include a high quality research plan prepared by the candidate. The research plan demonstrates the applicant’s suitability for doctoral training and their ability to conduct independent research. The quality of the research plan is heavily emphasized in the selection process. TSE also evaluates the suitability of the research topic in relation to the research profile and expertise of the major subject and the faculty.

The research plan should be a maximum of ten (10) pages long + a cover and a list of references. Please use Times New Roman 12pt and line spacing 1,5. The research plan must include the following information as applicable:


  • research topic
  • scientific grounds for topic selection
  • theoretical foundation for research
  • research methods and data
  • the results’ potential scientific, practical, and/or societal novelty value
  • a schedule and a financing plan for the postgraduate studies. Completing a doctorate takes approximately four years of full time studies. This includes a possible researcher exchange abroad. The TSE doctoral programme strongly recommends networking and internationalization during studies.

By sending a research plan as an attachment of the application, the applicant gives permission to check the plan with TurnitIn plagiarism prevention program.

When preparing your research plan, you can consult e.g.:
Saunders Mark and Lewis Philip (2012) Doing Research in Business & Management. An Essential Guide to Planning Your Project. Pearson Education Ltd, Harlow England.

Letter of motivation

The application must include a one-page letter of motivation. In the letter, the applicants must state reasons why they are applying specifically to the University of Turku and to the chosen major subject. The applicants must also express the novelty value the intended research would bring to the scientific field. The letter must also include the applicant’s reflections on their professional aspirations.

Sufficient language skills

Applicants must be proficient in Finnish or English to be able to take part in teaching and to communicate with the university staff. In practice, engaging with the international scientific community requires proficiency in English.

Applicants are exempt from doing an English language test if they hold one of the following.

  • Bachelor’s degree (or higher) or an equivalent degree completed in English in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, Switzerland or in an EU/EEA country.
  • Bachelor's degree (or higher) or an equivalent degree completed in a university or university of applied sciences in Finland.
  • Secondary education completed in English in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, or the United States.
  • Secondary education completed in Finland.

The language of instruction of the degree must be proven with the degree certificate, transcript of records or Diploma Supplement.

If the degree you use to prove your language skills is different from the one used as a basis for eligibility for the programme, the degree must be earned by the time of application.

If at least one of the aforementioned criteria is not fulfilled, the applicant must take a language proficiency test. Acceptable language proficiency tests and the required scores are found from the webpages of the Graduate School:

Other criteria

Additionally, the applicant’s ability to study full time as well as a realistic financing plan as a part of the research plan are advantageous for the applicant. In addition to the selection criteria above, admissions may be refused due to insufficient supervision resources in the major subject.

Application period and application form

Turku School of Economics grants admission to doctoral studies two times a year, and the applying is done through the Doctoral Programmes with an electronic form.

You will find information on application periods, application form and enclosures, preparation of the application and submission of the application from the pages of the Doctoral Programme you are applying to: