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Granting the right to pursue doctoral studies

The admission is based on the applicant's individual merits as presented in the application form and the required documents. The applications are processed and the decisions are met case by case. When granting the right to pursue doctoral studies, the School of Electrical Engineering confirms the supervising professor and the research field for the doctoral candidate. Each applicant is informed of the admission decision. Successful applicants will be granted the right to study towards the Doctor of Science (Technology) degree, as their primary right to study. The right to study towards the Licentiate of Science (Technology) degree will be registered if the doctoral candidate wishes to complete this degree before the Doctor of Science (Technology) degree. Duration of study right to doctoral degree is not limited but the target time for doctoral degree is four years in full-time studies.

Application periods

Application periods to the Doctoral Programme in Electrical Engineering is twice a year: in March and in September.

  • March 1 - 29, 2019
    • (decisions in May)
  • September 2019
    • (decisions in October)

Eligibility for Aalto Doctoral Programme in Electrical Engineering

As a rule, the postgraduate degree completed in the School of Electrical Engineering is the Doctor of Science (Technology) degree, but the Licentiate of Science (Technology) degree is also possible.

To be eligible for doctoral studies at the School of Electrical Engineering, applicants must:

  • hold a master’s degree in technology, architecture or landscape architecture granted by a Finnish university
  • hold a master’s degree granted by a Finnish university providing them with the knowledge base required for the research field applied for OR
  • hold an applicable degree earned abroad providing them with eligibility for corresponding university studies in the country where the degree was earned, and with the knowledge base required by the research field applied for in the School of Electrical Engineering.

The knowledge and skills required for the doctorate degree are demonstrated by completing a master's degree (university) or by a degree earned abroad that qualifies the applicant for equivalent doctoral studies in the country where the degree was earned.

In principle, an acceptable master’s degree has been carried out in accordance with the principles of the Bologna Process (3+2 years). A degree earned abroad in a country that does not follow the Bologna Process must include a minimum of 4 years of studies and a master’s thesis, and be deemed by the School as providing the candidate with an adequate knowledge base to doctoral studies at the School of Electrical Engineering.

 Applying with a degree from a polytechnic university

The potential of applicants with an applicable Finnish polytechnic master’s degree for successful doctoral studies is assessed case by case. Granting the right to study requires the School to determine the applicant’s need for supplementary studies. If the School deems the applicant with a polytechnic master's degree in an applicable technical field as having potential for completing the doctoral degree, the applicant will be assigned a sufficient amount of supplementary studies to allow him or her to start the doctoral studies.The extent of supplementary studies may not, however, exceed 60 ECTS.

International applicants with a previous technical degree corresponding to a Finnish polytechnic degree are subject to the same rules as those with a Finnish polytechnic degree.

If the extent of necessary supplementary studies exceeds this maximum, the applicant will be advised to first pursue the master's degree before applying for a right to pursue a doctoral degree.

Selection criteria and requirements

The professor (i.e. supervising professor) who is responsible for the research field to which the applicant is applying to, is responsible for the academic evaluation of the applicant. The Doctoral Programme Committee evaluates the application and all application documents and makes the proposal for admission.

Requirements for an applicant

  • Adequate knowledge in the research field applied for (gained through studies in the Master’s degree or equivalent).
  • Sufficient basic knowledge that supports the dissertation work and the writing of the dissertation.
  • An excellent command of Finnish, Swedish or English

When necessary, the School may set prerequisites for admission to the doctoral programme that may be gained, for instance, by taking master-level courses.

Required grades in previous master´s degree (on the scale of 1 to 5)

  • The master’s thesis has been completed with the minimum grade of  3/5.
  • The master’s degree that is the basis of doctoral studies has been completed with an average grade of 3.00/5 or higher.
  • Those with a master’s degree earned in accordance with the degree regulations of 1995 or at an earlier time must have completed the courses towards their major with GPA of at least 3.00/5.
  • If the degree is completed outside Finland, the GPA of the degree must be no lower than the grade point average of the approved grades.

The same criteria is applied to applicants with a foreign degree or degree from another Finnish university.

Other selection criteria (academic evaluation)

  • Previous study success in master level studies
  • The content of the university degrees completed
  • Research potential, previous research experience:
    • work experience in research
    • conference papers
    • articles, etc.
  • The relevance of the research topic: the orientation of research to the institution's priority areas
  • Research plan: the theoretical and practical novelty value of the subject;
  • Feasibility of the research plan (quality, realism, design, etc.)
  • Time use and resourcing for postgraduate studies:
    • feasibility of the study plan, time available for postgraduate studies over the next 4 years
  • The university's resources in the research area
  • Other arguments presented by the applicant

If these conditions are not met, but the applicant is otherwise suitable for doctoral studies, the applicant may raise his/her grades or the school may set prerequisites for entry.

In addition to courses taken at the Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering, the School may, on the proposal of the supervising professor, recognize corresponding courses taken at other universities.

Check also application times and instructions below.

Language requirements

Successful applicants must have an excellent command of Finnish, Swedish or English. All guest students and international students applying for master's or doctoral studies offered in English must demonstrate their proficiency in English. Applicants are required to attach an official language test report to their application.

The following groups are exempted from the language test requirement

Applicants who have completed a higher education degree

  • taught in Finnish, Swedish or English in a higher education institution in Finland.
  • in an English-medium programme at a higher education institution in an EU/EEA country, provided that all parts of the degree were completed in English.
  • 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.
  • an English-medium higher education degree requiring a physical on-site presence at a higher education institution in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand.

Only the above-mentioned groups are exempted from the language test requirement, for all other applicants the official English language test result is an obligatory application document and applications without the adequate test result will not be accepted.

The accepted language tests and their minimum scores

The minimum requirements are very strict. If your score does not fulfill the minimum requirements, you are not eligible to apply and your application cannot be accepted.

  • IELTS (Academic only): 6.5, and 5.5 for Writing;
  • TOEFL:
    • iBT (Internet-based Test): 92, and 22 for the Writing section or
    • PBT (Paper-based Test): 580, and 4.0 for the Writing section or
    • PDT (Paper-Delivered Test) Reading 22, Listening 22, and Writing 24
    • Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE): A,B or C
    • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): A,B,C or Level C1
    • Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE A): 62, and 54 for writing;

No other English proficiency tests are accepted.

 Language test validity

The language test result has to be valid during the application period, i.e. the test result has to be valid at least on the first day of the application period. Please note that the TOEFL, IELTS and PTE A language test reports are valid for two years, starting from the test date. Note also that the ETS does not send TOEFL test results after they have expired.

CAE and CPE do not have any restriction for their validity.

IELTS-, TOEFL- and PTE test results are valid for two years. Thus the oldest acceptable test date during the March 2019 application period is March X , 2017.

Registration for a language proficiency test

Please make sure that you register for the language test well in advance. There might not be test dates available or they may be fully booked. You need to take the test early enough in order for the result to reach Aalto University in time. Please check from the testing center how long it takes for the test result to arrive at Aalto University. To find out more about the test dates and test centres, please visit the website of the test organizer:

 Submitting the language test scores

Applicants who take the TOEFL test need to ask for the official score report to be sent directly to Aalto University as soon as the score is available. Please make sure to use Aalto University's institutional reporting code 7364. Only the official score report submitted by ETS is accepted. The Admission Services have the possibility to verify scores which have been reported with Aalto University's institutional code 7364 in an online verification system provided by the testing authorities. The scores can be accessed in approximately 1-2 weeks after the delivery order has been made.

Applicants who take the IELTS need to enclose a copy of the score report with the application documents. Because IELTS certificates can be electronically verified by Aalto University, applicants may send plain copies of their IELTS certificates. If you receive your IELTS score after submitting your application to Aalto University, you can send a scanned copy of your result by e-mail (doctoral-elec@aalto.fi). Please mention the programme to which you are applying as well as your full name and application ID number in the email.

Applicants who take the PTE A test can deliver their score to Aalto University once they have signed in to the PTE account on the test organizer's website. The scores can be sent to an unlimited number of institutions free of charge. The test organizer will send an email to confirm that the scores have been sent. Note that according to PTE, it takes up to 48 hours for scores to be sent to institutions. For more information on how to deliver PTE results, please see the test organizer's website.

If the CAE or CPE exam was taken in 2005 or later, the results can be verified electronically. For the verification, the candidate's ID number (e.g. ABC123456) and secret number (e.g. 1234) are required. You must include these two codes with a copy of your language certificate in your application package. Older test results cannot be verified electronically. If the CAE or CPE test was taken before 2005, you will need to include an officially certified copy of the certificate with your application.

Before submitting the application

  • The applicant should contact a professor in charge of their intended research field of doctoral studies and the supervision of the studies. Applicants are urged to ensure that their expertise and research interests are commensurate with the research group (and those of the supervising professor of their studies) that they apply to.
  • In order to prepare for the discussion, it is beneficiary to prepare a CV (along with a list of possible publications) and a preliminary research plan for the intended doctoral studies.
  • Also a study plan, a funding plan and a supervision plan should be discussed with the professor.
  • At this point the applicant’s eligibility and prerequisites for doctoral studies will be checked by the professor.
  • Also the possible prerequisites for entry will be discussed. If needed, the professor may set prerequisites for admission into the doctoral programme.
  • The professor also assesses the applicant's aptitude for doctoral studies, the suitability of the thesis topic for the research field,
  • and comments on the adequacy of the supervising resources and prepares a statement for the doctoral programme committee.

See more about these documents below.

More information about the rights and responsibilities of the doctoral candidates and the supervising professor here.

When signing the research proposal and other documents of the applicant, the professor commits him/herself to supervising the dissertation.

Research fields and professors for doctoral studies

See the list of supervising professors for the research fields and research field descriptions.

Application instructions

 The one study place per term provision

You can only accept one study place leading to a higher education degree in Finland in education that begins in the same academic term. This rule also applies to Licentiate and Doctoral degrees awarded by Finnish universities. Exceptions to the provision are transfer student applications, the Åland University of Applied Sciences, the Police University College of Finland and studies at foreign higher education institutions.

Higher education degrees include bachelor's, master's, licentiate and doctoral degrees awarded by universities as well as polytechnic degrees.

The academic terms run from 1 August to 31 December and 1 January to 31 July. The acceptance of a study place is binding and cannot be canceled.

Application is submitted online by using the Studyinfo.fi service. Incomplete applications will be rejected. Applicant can supplement the application during the application period and if the application is still incomplete supplement is requested.

Please read the instructions carefully before filling in the online application form. After reading the instructions and having all the documents ready, register to the online application system, fill in the application, attach all the required documents and submit it. You can update the application online during the application period.

Application and documents

ALL applicants are required to provide the following application documents

Applicants with a master’s degree in technology, architecture or landscape architecture earned at Aalto University are required to provide ONLY the following application materials:

  • Application form 
  • Curriculum vitae (CV) which includes a list of publications and proof of other scientific activity
  • Preliminary study plan for 40 ECTS courses to be completed (Study plan must be signed by the applicant and the supervising professor).
  • Preliminary research proposal and schedule for its completion. The proposal must include the signatures of the applicant and the professor in charge of the research field applied for (supervising professor). Example.
    • research proposal includes:
      • the schedule of the research
      • implementation of the scientific plan
      • possibilities for funding the research work
      • the professor in charge of the field of research is committed to supervise the thesis (signature)
  • Preliminary funding plan (if funding plan is not a part of research plan)
  • Supervision plan (must be signed by the applicant and the supervising professor)
  • copy of passport or an other official identification that indicates the citizenship of the applicant
  • Master’s degree certificate and official transcripts of records and their translations, if the originals are not in Finnish, Swedish or English

Applicants with a Master´s degree earned at another institution than Aalto University shall also provide the following documents:

  • and bachelor’s degree certificate and official transcripts of records and their translations if the originals are not in Finnish, Swedish or English
  • an English abstract of the master's thesis
  • proof of language skills, see ”Language requirements” for more specific information on the requirements
  • statement of a professor in charge of the research field applied for confirming the applicant's aptitude for doctoral studies


Original degree certificates are requested after admission

After admission, you are asked to present your original degree certificate or a *certified copy of them and final transcript upon enrolment, so remember to take them with you. More information will be found from your Letter of Admission.

 Certified copy *

A certified copy is a copy of the original that is certified as an authentic copy by the signatures of two independent people, also including their names in block capitals, phone number and the date. Signatories must be over 18 years old and cannot be close relatives of the person concerned. The signatories must be shown the original certificate and the copy side by side. With their signatures they certify that the copy is an unaltered facsimile of the original.

Funding of doctoral studies

Doctoral candidates can avail of various alternatives to finance their studies and research work.

Funding will be discussed with the supervising professor. Aalto ELEC doctoral school cannot not be the primary funding plan, positions are based on competitive selection.

More information on funding.

Full-time and part-time studies

All doctoral candidates are defined as either full-time or part-time doctoral candidates. This information is entered into the register too. Candidates may apply change of their status only if there has been changes in the study activity and study plan and research plan has been updated to follow the current situation.

Full-time doctoral candidate's personal study and research plans are drawn up so as to complete the doctorate within four years from granting the right to pursue doctoral studies. Full-time doctoral candidates must be able to spend 80 % of their working hours to doctoral studies.

Doctoral candidate applying a full-time status need to have a funding allocated to doctoral studies (e.g. project funding, personal grant or funding from employer). Typical full-time doctoral candidates are those who work at the department either with personal grant or receive funding from research project or those who work at a research institute or an enterprise. Those working outside Aalto University who wish to be full-time doctoral candidates must provide a document of the employers' approval for full-time doctoral studies (80 % of their working hours are dedicated to doctoral studies).

If the above criteria are not met, the mode of study is part-time. The study plan of a part-time doctoral candidate is drawn up to serve doctoral studies that will last longer than four years but no more than eight years.

A part-time doctoral candidate typically has a main occupation outside the School of Electrical Engineering which does not include scientific research for doctoral dissertation.

Language of degree of a doctoral candidate

The doctoral candidate will define in his/her application for doctoral studies in which language he/she will pursue his/her degree (language of degree). The possible languages are Finnish, Swedish (not in the School of Business) or English. If the doctoral candidate wants to write his/her doctoral dissertation (the compiling part of a compilation dissertation or a monograph) or his/her licentiate thesis in Finnish or Swedish, the language of degree of the doctoral candidate will be Finnish or Swedish. The language of degree is approved by the doctoral programme committee.

The language of degree can on reasonable grounds be changed later on, if e.g. the language of the doctoral dissertation or licentiate thesis changes. A freely formulated, signed application with reasons for why the language of degree should be changed, shall be submitted to the doctoral programme of the candidate’s own school together with the degree certificate application.

Finnish or Swedish as a language of degree

A doctoral candidate whose language of degree is Finnish or Swedish will get the degree certificate in Finnish or Swedish along with a translation in English. If the doctoral candidate writes his/her thesis in Finnish or Swedish, the language of the degree will always be Finnish or Swedish despite the earlier choice of language.

English as a language of degree

If the doctoral dissertation or licentiate thesis is written in English, doctoral candidate can choose English as a language of degree.

If the doctoral candidate’s language of degree is English, he/she will get the degree certificate in English and in Finnish or Swedish. The language of degree will be mentioned in the diploma supplement, and in the degree certificate that two degree certificates have been given.