Below you can find information on Doctoral Programme in Business, Finance and Economics admissions.

For programme stucture, please visit here.

For Aalto University School of Business research fields, please visit here

5 November 2019 at 8:00 (8 am, GTM +2Application period starts and electronic application form opens
23 January 2020 at 12:01 (12:01 pm, GMT +2)Application period ends and electronic application form closes
30 August 2020Deadline for completion of all course work, including possible thesis
August–September 2020Studies begin with the orientation week
27 November 2020Deadline for graduation for applicants who applied with an incomplete degree

Admission criteria 2020

The application time begins in November 5, 2019. The application, together with appendices, must be submitted by January 23, 2020 by 12:01 o’clock (Finnish time, GMT +2) at the latest.

The following qualifications are required in the application process of 2020:

The general eligibility criteria for higher education are defined in section 37 of the Universities Act (558/2009).

 Master's degree or its equivelant
Master’s degree (MSc, MBA, MA) or its equivalent.

Eligible applicants for studies leading to an academic licentiate or doctoral degree:

  • have completed a relevant master’s degree awarded by a university;
  • have completed a relevant master’s degree awarded by a university of applied sciences;
  • or
  • have completed a relevant study programme abroad which in the awarding country gives eligibility for the corresponding level of higher education or
  • are otherwise deemed by the university as possessing sufficient knowledge and skills for the studies.

In cases where the applicant has not yet completed a master’s degree,

i) Expected completion of all course work, including possible thesis: no later than August 30, 2020

ii) Expected graduation date: no later than November 27, 2020

Students accepted to the programme must present evidence that they have fulfilled the criteria i) and ii) by the dates listed above.

Policy  on  the  recognition  of  degrees  awarded  outside  Finland:

Students  holding  a  degree earned  abroad  are  eligible for  doctoral  studies  provided  their  degree  gives  them  eligibility  for corresponding higher education in the awarding country. As a rule,  degrees earned abroad are recognised  at  Aalto  University  provided  that  they  have  equired  studies  of  at  least  four  years, including  a thesis similar to the master’s thesis, and that such studies in the view of the school equip the student with the skills and knowledge needed to pursue doctoral studies at the school. The precondition for the recognition of European degrees is that the degree is a university degree combination earned in accordance with the Bologna Process principles (3+2 years).

Policy  on  the  recognition  of  master’s  degrees  from  Finnish  universities  of  applied sciences:

Applicants with a prior degree earned a broad and corresponding to a relevant Finnish master’s degree from a university of applied sciences are treated equally to those with master’s degree from a Finnish university of applied sciences.

 Language requirements

● IELTS (Academic): 6.5, and 5.5 for Writing;

  • iBT (Internet-based Test): 92, and 22 for the Writing section or
  • PDT (Paper-Delivered Test) Reading 22, Listening 22, and Writing 24

● C1 Advanced: A, B or C
● C2 Proficiency: A, B, C or Level C1
● Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE A): 62, and 54 for writing;

An  English  language  test  is  not  required  in  doctoral  admissions  of  applicants  who  have:
● earned a degree taught in Finnish, Swedish or English in a higher education institution in Finland.
● earned a degree in an English-medium programme at a higher education institution in an EU/EEA country. The language of the degree must be stated unambiguously in the degree certificate or its appendix, or in the transcript of records or other official document issued by the awarding higher education institution.
● earned an English-medium higher education degree requiring a physical on-site presence at  a  higher  education  institution  in Australia,  Ireland,  Canada,  New  Zealand, the  United Kingdom, or the United States.
● been  educated  in  English  in  an  EU/EEA  country  or in  Australia,  Ireland,  Canada,  New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States.

A minimum of one half of the degree must be completed in a country and higher education institution that meets the requirements for exempting the student from taking an English test.

 A GRE or GMAT score

A GRE or GMAT score from a test taken within the past 5 years and no later than January 23, 2020.

 More information GMAT

Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT®)

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT®) is a standardized, computer-aided test that is used around the world as an assessment criterion in student admissions and by employers. It is owned by Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

The test is in Standard American English and measures basic verbal, mathematical and analytical writing skills. It has been developed specifically to meet the needs of student admissions in business schools. The test particularly helps in the assessment of individuals who are applying for advanced business studies. Individuals who take the test typically already have a university degree.

The GMAT® in School of Business doctoral admissions

The School of Business receives the applicants’ Official GMAT® Score Reports directly from the test owner's database. No paper copy is needed.

The GMAT® test must have been taken within the past 5 years, before the end of the application deadline.

The GMAT® Program Code for the School of Business is C1N-9F-82 ("Aalto University School of Business Doctoral Program"). Please make sure that you give the correct code as otherwise we do not get your scores. If you have taken the test earlier, order an Additional Score Report to be sent to the School of Business (see

You also need the Site ID number of the test center when you register. The Site ID number of LAN Group is 54814.

Website and email:

It is recommendable to familiarize oneself with the structure and contents of the test in advance, especially if you do not have previous experience of similar tests. Test-preparation software for the GMAT® can be downloaded for free on the website

 More information on GRE

The GRE general test

The GRE revised General Test (Graduate Record Examinations, later referred to as the GRE test) measures the level of verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing skills that can be expected from a doctoral student. The test owner is Educational Testing Service (ETS),

The test should be completed within the past five years, by the end of the application deadline.

After the test you can choose up to 4 universities where your score results are sent. NOTE: If you do not choose Aalto Unversity School of Business as one of these universities, the Doctoral Programme will not see your test score in the database. You will have access to your scores on your My GRE Account about one month from the test.

The doctoral program staff will see your test score in the ETS database once the official results are ready.

Enrollment and preparing for test

When enrolling, you are asked our university code which is 7364 ("Aalto University").

If you have taken the test already earlier, and not ordered it to Aalto University, you have to ask it to be re-sent to Aalto University. Otherwise we cannot find your test in the database.

 Other required enclosures

The application must be made on an electronic application form. The following enclosures are required; enclosures 1-5 must be available by the closing of the application time:

  1. Copies of academic degrees earned and a certified transcript of courses taken (with English translations
  2. A student copy of a GMAT or GRE score, from a test taken within the past 5 years and no later than January 23, 2020. If the applicant’s score can be found in the test owner’s database before the closing of the application time, no student copy is required. Successful applicants typically have a GMAT score well above 600.
  3. CV
  4. A statement of purpose describing your motivation for PhD studies and career objectives in English, not exceeding 1000 words
  5. One selected academic work: Either a copy of your Master’s thesis, or another independent research output that you consider best representative of your work (In English or other language agreed with the School of Business admissions)
  6. Two (2) letters of recommendation which the referee must send directly by email to

Admissions into the programme are subject to requirements of the Finnish Universities Act (558/2009) and may be conditional on complementary studies. Aalto University School of Business reserves the right to request translations or originals of application documents, and decide on the number of accepted candidates based on both academic evaluation of candidates, available funding and supervisory capacity.

During the same term a person may accept only one study position leading to a degree in Finland (Finnish Universities Act 558/2009).

An admitted applicant has to accept (or reject) the offered study place within four weeks of the date of the admission letter and enroll as an attending doctoral student. It is possible to enroll as a non-attending student in your first year of study only on grounds referred to in the Universities Act (Yliopistolaki 558/2009, Section 39), i.e.

  • military service referred to in the Conscription Act (Asevelvollisuuslaki 1438/2007), the Non-Military Service Act (Siviilipalveluslaki 1446/2007) or the Act on Voluntary Military Service for Women (Laki naisten vapaaehtoisesta asepalveluksesta 194/1995). Military service in other countries than Finland is not an acceptable reason for enrolment as a non-attending student;
  • maternity, paternity or parental leave; or
  • unability to start studies due to personal illness or injury.

Deadline for 2020 applications 

Applications with appendices must be submitted by January 23, 2020 by 12:01 o’clock (Finnish time, GMT +2) at the latest. The GMAT or GRE test must be taken before the application deadline.

In case of a conditional application, i.e. in cases where the applicant has not yet completed a master’s degree,

i) Expected completion of all course work, including possible thesis: no later than August 30, 2020

ii) Expected graduation date: no later than November 27, 2020

Students accepted to the programme must present evidence that they have fulfilled the criteria i) and ii) by the dates listed above.

Please note that it is not possible to apply conditionally on the GMAT or GRE test - the test has to be taken before the closing of the application period.

Faculty advising doctoral applicants for admission process 2020

You may want to talk to the faculty in your preferred major before submitting an application. Please find below a list of the professors who are in charge of doctoral studies in their respective majors and whom you can contact:

AccountingProfessor Lasse Niemi
Business lawProfessor Tomi Viitala

Organizational communication

Assistant Professor Kirsi Eräranta

Professor Matti Liski


Assistant Professor Arne Kroeger

FinanceDirector Mikko Leppämäki
Information Systems Science

Professor Matti Rossi

Professor Virpi Tuunainen

International BusinessProfessor Carl Fey
LogisticsProfessor Markku Kuula
Management ScienceProfessor Timo Kuosmanen

Professor Henrikki Tikkanen

Organization and Management

Professor Nina Granqvist

Doctoral Programme's admission services,

Questions regarding funding system should be addressed to: 


To ensure you a possibility to fully concentrate on the coursework and dissertation we offer funding for new doctoral candidates who commit themselves to full-time studies and show satisfactory progress during their first year of studies. The funding arrangements are made after the admission decisions. The funding offer of the Aalto University School of Business is valid during 2 years from admittance to the Doctoral Programme, with a fixed running time of 2 years starting from admittance . Please see more information on funding arrangements here.

Application process

Applications will be evaluated by academic departments based on previous academic performance, research potential, motivation, performance in standardized tests and references. Candidates must be available for a potential interview. The Dean decides on admissions based on departmental assessments.

If an application is based on a Master’s degree with a future graduation date, potential acceptance will be conditional on graduation no later than November 27, 2020 and all coursework, including thesis, must be completed no later than August 30, 2020.

If an applicant submits an application to more than one major, each of them must be an independent document with complete appendices, and the applicant must indicate their order of preference.

For further information, please contact the faculty of your desired major.

The application form with detailed instructions, including the contacts of the majors can be found below.

Only complete applications will be processed.

  1. Create/acquire all required appendices
  2. Take the GRE test or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT®)
  3. You may discuss with the faculty advising doctoral applicants about your intended research interest or research topic and a possibility to find a supervisor

  4. Fill out the electronic application form 2020 and submit it with the required appendices. The form opens on November 5, 2019. 

Application form 2020

 The application form is electronic and will open on November 5, 2019.

Register to the application system, download and fill out the electronic application form. Instructions are below.

It is possible to save the unfinished application and continue and submit it later - but please make sure to submit it by the deadline January 23, 2020 at 12:01 o'clock (2 pm) Finnish time. After submission and this date your application is final.

Scan and save all enclosures, except for official GMAT/GRE test reports and referee letters, to the electronic application. The office of the doctoral programme obtains the official GMAT and GRE reports from the test organizer's database. Referees send their  recommendations directly to the office of the doctoral programme.

To avoid a last minute rush on the lines, it is recommendable to submit your application before the deadline date. It is also recommendable to have the required enclosures at hand when you start drafting the application.

If your master's degree is not completed by the end of the application deadline, the degree certificate can be sent to the office of the Doctoral Programme by 27 November, 2020 at the latest, however soonest possible. In that case your application is conditional.

Applicant’s guide to the online application system 

The Apply system normally functions best with the Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browsers. If you use some other browser, and headlines on the form seem to overlap, you can try to diminish the view to 75%.

Application form 2020

(please note that the Application form is only active from 5 November, 2019 8:00 through 23 January, 2020 at 12:01 o'clock (Finnish time).

 Registration as a user

When applying to the University, start by creating a user account for the system.

  • Choose the language on the upper part of the screen.
  • Register as a user: Create a local user account.
  • Give an e-mail address that is exclusively in your personal use.
  • The learning services of the Doctoral Programme may contact the applicants by email during and after the selection process. It is very important that you give an email address that is valid through the entire selection process. If your contact information changes after submitting your application, please inform us soonest possible to 
  • Do not write anything else on the fields except what is asked. The information you give will be printed on the letter of acceptance exactly the way you write it on the registration form.
  • Please make sure that you write nothing but your address on the address field. Give your name using capital initials, as Firstname Lastname. Do not use CAPS LOCK or any other than Latin letters (for example do not use русский or中国).
 Aalto University's internal users

If you have an Aalto University WebLogin account, log in and enter your contact information in the User details view of the application system (System > User details).  Otherwise your contact information will not show on your application form. You can move on to “Filling in the application form”.

  • After completing the registration form, a confirmation e-mail is sent to the e-mail address you indicated in it. Activate the user account which the system offers to you by clicking the link in the message. The e-mail address you have given on the registration form will become your user name. 
 Filling in the application form
  • Log in into Applicant’s guide to the online application system. Fill in the online application form and follow the instructions to submit it.
  • Follow the instructions on the application form. By clicking the  symbol you will get more information about a specific question.
  • Your session will expire in 120 minutes if you don’t keep it active. Unsaved data will be lost.
  • You can save your application form if it is incomplete, so it is possible to return to modify the application before submitting it.
  • After you have completed the application form, click the Save button.
 Adding appendices

Adding appendices to the application:

  • Scan the appendices, each to a different file, and save them to your computer
  • Go to the application form and fill it in
  • Click the title of the tab in which you intend to save appendix (see picture below)
  • You will see a green cross and a link “Add file”. Click the link.
  • Browse the intended file and save it
  • Repeat the same with the other appendices
  • When you are ready to submit the application form, click the Submit button on the Case details page. The application must be submitted in the system before the application deadline.
  • After you have submitted your application, you can save and print a copy of the application for yourself. Download the application as a pdf file (see picture below) and print it. You can only print the form after it has been submitted!
  • In some internet browsers you must first save the downloaded pdf file to your computer (right click pdf icon -> Save as) and open it there before printing.
 If your contact information changes during the process

If your contact information changes during the application period or the selection process, you are responsible for updating it in the online application system. Log into the application system and select User details from the navigation tree on the left. You must confirm the changes with your password. Please note that if you change your e-mail address, your username will remain the same (i.e. the e-mail address you used in your original registration).

Please make sure to keep your contact information updated during the whole process, also after the end of the application period. Center for the Doctoral Programme sends email updates to the address you have given on the registration form. An official letter of the results of the student selection is sent to the address that is available in the user details.

 Questions about the application procedure, required appendices and delivering the application?

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

 How often is the application process organized?

We organize the application process once a year.

 Is it the same process for all?

Anyone who is interested in doctoral studies at the Aalto University School of Business participates in the same application process. You may have financing of your own, another doctoral degree, you may be a citizen in Finland, Scandinavia or some other country. If you have already some scientific qualifications like relevant  publications, they can be considered in the admission process.

 When do I start my studies if I am admitted to the programme?

You will start your doctoral studies at the beginning of September.  However, if you so wish, you are entitled to start studying immediately after you are admitted. If that is the case please contact  for an earlier start.

 Where can I find the application form?

A link to the application with instructions is on this website, see above. The form is electronic. The applicant scans and saves all appendices to the form, except a GMAT or GRE report and referees' recommendation letters. No paper appendices are required.

 Can I apply without a GMAT or GRE?

A GMAT or GRE General Test is a necessary part of your application and we require the test from all applicants. The School of Business receives the official test results direct from the test organizer’s database, so please do not order printed score reports to be sent to School of Business.

 How many recommendation letters are necessary?

Two. They should be sent direct to the office of the Doctoral Programme. They can be printed on paper or sent by email. In both cases they should come direct from the referee to the doctoral program. However, if you completed your master's degree at Aalto University School of Business and your pro gradu supervisor is a member of the School's faculty, recommendation letters many not be necessary but it is best to ask about this from the department.

 Do you have a tuition fee?

There is no tuition fee in the School of Business Doctoral Programme and usually most of the literature can be obtained through the University library. The students have to cover their living expenses.

 How and when should I take measures to arrange my funding?

The funding arrangements are made when the admission process is over and we will contact the admitted students about the procedure.

 What is the admission rate to the doctoral programme?

In the last application procedure we received applications from 83 applicants and out of them, 27 were admitted. The rate varies from year to year so the previous years’ rates may not be relevant this time.

 What is "selected academic work"?

“Selected academic work” which figures on the list of appendices should be chosen by the applicant. It can be a master’s thesis, if you graduated recently or have not graduated yet, or a research report or publication or some other piece of scientific work which you consider relevant in the application process.

 Should I have my certificates translated in English?

All material which you want to be considered in the application process should be in a language understood by the persons evaluation applications. Generally it means English or Finnish. If your documents are in some other language, you can contact your applied major’s professor.