General admission criteria
The Finnish University law outlines eligibility (The Finnish University law 24.7.2009/558: 37 §)
School of Engineering policy on doctoral student admission in 2018 (Academic Committee for Engineering 29.5.2017)
To be eligible to pursue doctoral degrees, students must:
- hold an applicable master’s degree;
- hold an applicable higher polytechnic degree; or
- hold a master’s degree earned abroad that qualifies them for equivalent doctoral studies in the country where the degree was earned.
In the studies referred to in the aforementioned article of the University law, it is also possible for a university to select a student for doctoral studies with sufficient knowledge and readiness as deemed by the university.
University may require a student selected for postgraduate studies to take courses as a prerequisite for gaining sufficient basic knowledge for doctoral studies.
Admission requirements for doctoral students
To be eligible for doctoral studies at the School of Engineering, students must:
- hold a master’s degree in technology granted by a Finnish university
- hold a master’s degree granted by a Finnish university providing them with the knowledge base required for the postgraduate research field applied for
- hold a degree granted by a university abroad corresponding to the Finnish Master of Science in technology, architecture or landscape architecture and providing them with the knowledge base required for the postgraduate 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 Engineering
The knowledge base and skills required for doctoral studies shall be demonstrated by a master’s degree. As a rule, to be eligible for doctoral studies at the School of Engineering, the student should hold a university granted master’s degree which corresponds to the Master of Science in technology, architecture or landscape architecture granted by the Aalto University School of Engineering. The degree should provide the student with the knowledge base required for the postgraduate research field applied for.
Students holding a master’s degree earned abroad are eligible for doctoral studies at the School of Engineering provided their master’s degree qualifies them for equivalent doctoral studies in the country where the degree was earned. Such degree combinations earned in Europe are recognized in accordance with the principles of the Bologna Process (3+2 years). Degrees earned in non-European countries must include a minimum of 4 years of studies and a master’s thesis, and be deemed by the School as providing the student with an adequate knowledge base for doctoral studies in the School of Engineering.
The potential of applicants with an applicable Finnish polytechnic master’s degree for successful doctoral studies is assessed by the School 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 cr. 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. When assessing the applicants’ potential for doctoral studies, the School shall acknowledge that the extent of the polytechnic master’s degree in the field of technology is 60 cr, which corresponds to studies of one year’s duration, whereas the extent of a university master’s degree is 120 cr, which corresponds to studies of two years’ duration. The extent of polytechnic master’s degrees in fields other than technology is 60 cr or 90 cr.
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.
It is also possible to complete doctoral studies in a field or school other than the one in which the master’s degree was obtained. Persons wishing to pursue doctoral studies in another field on account of job experience gained in that field, or interest in it, can discuss the necessary prerequisites for entry as a doctoral student with a professor in that field of research.
To be approved for doctoral studies, an applicant must have adequate knowledge in his or her confirmed research field, gained through, for example, courses in the advanced module within the Master’s studies, or the equivalent. The completion of courses that support thesis work requires adequate prerequisite knowledge also. When necessary, the School will set prerequisites for admission into the doctoral programme. Students may gain the prerequisite knowledge, for instance, by earning the credits for them by taking exams related to master-level courses.
Successful candidates for doctoral studies must have earned the master’s degree with an average grade of 3.0/5 and completed the master’s thesis with the grade of 3/5 (Aalto University uses the grading scale 1-5, 5=highest). Those with a master’s degree earned in accordance with the degree regulations of 1995 or at an earlier time when the bachelor's and master's degree were not pursued separately, are required to have completed the courses towards their major, which form the basis of eligibility for doctoral studies, with an average grade of at least 3.0/5. The same requirements apply to degrees earned elsewhere in Finland or abroad. Students who fail to meet these minimum grade criteria but are otherwise suitable for doctoral studies may improve their grades by taking courses, or the School may set prerequisites for doctoral studies.
Aalto University’s definition of policy regarding the selection of doctoral students
Aalto University’s Academic Affairs Committee confirmed the general admission criteria for Aalto University education in a meeting held on 4 April, 2017.