Theoretical studies


The extent of studies: 40 ECTS

The 40 credit degree structure and the amount of theoretical studies took effect on 1 August 2012 (Aalto University Academic Affairs Committee’s decision on 12 June 2012). Doctoral degree consists of theoretical studies and dissertation work. The content of the theoretical studies is designed to support the student's own research field as well as possible. The personal study plan is tailored together with the supervising professor.

Theoretical studies consist of following modules

Research field 20-35 ECTS

Scientific practices and principles 5-20 ECTS

The studies may contain a substantially wider variety of forms of study than is possible in the Master's degree. In addition to conventional courses, the study plan can include individual studies:

Courses organised by the departments of the School of Science during the academic year 2017-2018

More information about courses organized by the departments is available at MyCourses and at department web pages.

What courses are accepted for doctoral degree?

  • Courses acceptable for doctoral degree are advanced level courses (doctoral level courses and master level courses). The level of the course is usually written in the course description in MyCourses (Course overview tab, Level of the course).

    • Courses acceptable for doctoral studies are denoted with the letter P/L in the study register. In the newest courses the level of the course is denoted by an E in the course code (as in PHYS-E1234; meaning the course is a Master's level course) or an L in the course code (PHYS-L1234; meaning that the course is intended for doctoral students).

    • Please note that in the newest courses, letters A and C in the course code (as in PHYS-A1234 or in PHYS-C1234) refer to bachelor level courses which are not acceptable for the doctoral degree.

  • Study attainments from another university (e.g. JOO-studies) can be included in doctoral degree, provided that courses are not included in previous bachelor's or master's degrees (please see more information from Aalto University General Guideline on Credit Transfer). These courses must be included in the confirmed study plan, and they are registered based on an official transcript of records.
  • Language studies are not accepted into the doctoral degree.

Good to know

  • The objective is that students have completed their theoretical studies before the public defence.

  • After theoretical studies have been completed, theoretical studies need to be confirmed at the Doctoral Programme Committee.

  • If theoretical studies are completed within one year and six months from the date of admission to doctoral studies, a scholarship of 500 euros can be awarded.

  • A scholarship of 500 euros can be awarded from the first refereed (i.e. peer-reviewed) article included in the doctoral dissertation published in an international publication forum. The student must be one of the main authors in the publication.

  • You can get more information about the new courses by joining our email list on course information. Join the email list here.

Transferring from 60 credit to 40 credit degree structure

The transition time for following the 60 credit degree structure has ended on 31 December 2015. Now all doctoral students have to apply for the change of degree structure. Students will complete the studies according to the 40 credits degree structure. In practise the form 302 confirmation of theoretical studies have to be filled out again. The supervising professor and the Doctoral Programme Committee do not have to confirm the theoretical studies if the studies have already been confirmed according to the 60 credits structure. If there are different courses to be included in the degree, the studies will have to be confirmed again in the Doctoral Programme Committee. See confirmation of theoretical studies .

Registration of courses

Courses mentioned below are registered in the Doctoral Programme;

Courses taken at another university

Courses and study attainments from another university (e.g. JOO-studies) must be included in the confirmed study plan, and they are registered based on an official transcript of records after the study plan has been confirmed.

Individual study attainments

Study attainments that are under the name "Postgraduate studies" are registered with code research field-LZ (e.g. SCI019Z-LZ).

A study attainment certificate (fillable pdf form), signed by the supervising professor is always required to register study attainments (the scanned form is sent by email). The certificate can also be free-form: it needs to include the student’s name and student number, the name and date of the attainment and the amount of credits.

The doctoral programme's recommendations for credits given for individual study attainments (pdf)