Eligibility and selection criteria

As a rule, the postgraduate degree completed in the School of Chemical Engineering (CHEM) 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 CHEM, students must:

The knowledge base and skills required for doctoral studies shall be demonstrated by a master’s degree or by a degree earned abroad that qualifies them 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 student with an adequate knowledge base for doctoral studies in the CHEM.

An applicant with an applicable polytechnic master's degree from Finland is assessed by the School for his/her potential to complete doctoral studies successfully in the Aalto University. Granting the right to study requires the School to determine the applicant’s need for supplementary studies. The extent of supplementary studies may not, however, exceed 60 ECTS. If the extent of necessary supplementary studies exceeds this maximum, the applicant will be advised to first pursue a master's degree before applying for a right to pursue a doctoral one. 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.

Students holding a master’s degree earned abroad are eligible for doctoral studies at the School of Chemical Engineering provided their master’s degree qualifies them for equivalent doctoral studies in the country where the degree was earned.


The following is required for an applicant to be approved for doctoral studies

General requirements for the all applicants at Aalto CHEM

Students who fail to meet these criteria but are otherwise suitable for doctoral studies may improve their grades by taking courses, or the School may set prerequisites for doctoral studies. In addition to courses taken at the School of Chemical Engineering, the School may, based on the proposal of the supervising professor of research field, accept the courses taken at other universities.

Selection criteria for academic evaluation

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. Admission criteria may be departed from on the grounds of the supervising professor’s written statement.

In addition to the above mentioned criteria also the resources of Department to supervise and fund doctoral students will be noticed. A minimum of one year funding is required to start the doctoral research project. However there are no exact admission quotas.

Language requirements

Students applying for a Doctoral degree

Successful applicants must have an excellent command of Finnish, Swedish or English.

All international students applying for doctoral studies must demonstrate their proficiency in English. Applicants are required to attach an official language test report to their application.

Recognised language tests and minimum score requirements

The following groups are exempted from the language test requirement:

Applicants who have completed a higher education degree

Applicants who

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

Research fields, professors and funding of doctoral studies

Before submitting the application, each applicant must contact a professor in charge of their intended research field to 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.

Supervising professors for the research fields of the doctoral programme are listed here.

In order to prepare for the discussion with the professor, it is beneficiary to prepare a CV (along with a list of possible publications) and a preliminary research plan. 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.

In addition to the research plan, a study plan, a funding plan and a supervision plan will be discussed with the professor. See more about these documents below. When the applicant signs the application he/she commits to study according to it and when the supervising professor signs the application he/she commits to be the supervising professor of the student. More information about the rights and responsibilities of the student and the supervising professor here.

Doctoral candidates can avail of various alternatives to finance their studies and research work. Funding can be discussed with the supervising professor. For employment by research projects: see open positions at Aalto University http://www.aalto.fi/en/about/careers/jobs/. More information under Financing and promoting your research.

Application instructions

Please note: From 1 August 2016 onwards students may accept only one study place leading to a higher education degree in Finland during one academic term (Universities Act 558/2009).*

*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. Even if the student postpones the commencement of studies or gives up her/his right to study, the student cannot accept another study place leading to a higher education degree starting the same academic term.

The School of Chemical Engineering has two annual application cycles for doctoral degree studies. The autumn season deadline for applications is

Applicant must submit the electronic application and all required attachments within the dead line.

Link to the electronic application form for doctoral degree studies will open next time on 1st September. Only complete applications will be processed.

Although special conditions are in place for the time being, Aalto University is gradually reopening the Otaniemi campus, according to safety guidelines. The new policies enter into force on Thursday 14 May, more information from https://www.aalto.fi/en/aalto-university/information-on-coronavirus (if the link doesn't work, you can copy the URL and paste it into your web browser). The policies may be revised if the pandemic situation or official recommendations by the authorities change. 

Our staff is still working remotely and with limited resources. For that reason, be prepared that the processing of applications and granting the right to study might be delayed.

Application periods

Please note that a study right can be applied for only in March and in September. Please see the exact deadlines below. Applications submitted in March will be evaluated in the meeting in late April and applications submitted in September will be evaluated in the October meeting. Final decision will be made in early May, or early November, if all documents have been submitted in time. After decision has been made, student must accept the study place at the application platform (eAge), otherwise we cannot proceed with the study right registration.

Autumn term 2020

DeadlineCommittee meetingDean grants study rights

21 September

late October


Spring term 2021

DeadlineCommittee meetingDean grants study rights


Late April

31 May

Application How-to-do-it

Before applying, please check the basic requirements for eligibility to doctoral studies from the beginning of this page. Contact Aalto CHEM professor responsible for your field of research at early stage of application process. Funding should be discussed and planned with the supervising professor or thesis advisor. For employment by research projects: see and apply for the open positions at Aalto University http://www.aalto.fi/en/about/careers/jobs/

Log in to electronic application system. Fill-in Aalto University's application form for doctoral studies. If you are applying from outside of Aalto University, register as user for this apply form system. All the attachments must be submitted as pdf-files.

Application form

Detailed instructions for the application form:

Appendices for the application

  1. Curriculum vitae (CV)
    Max. two (2) pages, in English. Including the detailed information of scientific activity (publications, submitted publications, conference presentations (talks and posters) and patents). For more information of academic CV, please refer to the curriculum vitae instructions and template for Finnish research organisations.
  2. Research plan with funding plan
    Written by applicant under supervision of professor. In English, total of two pages. Please see more below *. 
  3. Study plan for theoretical studies - link for electronic form
    Only fill in the electronic form, do not attach it to the application form. Read instructions for the content of study plan (40 cr.). All applicants are strongly recommended to include course CHEM-L1000 Toolkit for Doctoral Studies (5 cr) starting each autumn term. Browse for suitable doctoral level courses in WebOodi, and from Doctoral level courses at Aalto CHEM page. Note the abbreviation L/P for doctoral level courses provided by Aalto University.
  4. Form for supervision plan
    Paper version with all signatures, include as a scanned pdf to your application. Read carefully the guidelines approved by the Aalto University academic affairs committee which give detailed information of the duties and responsibilities between the supervising professor and the doctoral candidate. At the School of Chemical Engineering, doctoral candidate has 1-3 thesis advisor(s). Supervising professor can be one of thesis advisors.
  5. Applicant's motivation letter
    In English, one page. Include as an attachment to the application form (not only as text in to the application form motivation question). 
  6. Applicant's  description of previous research work, such as Master's thesis.
    Please describe your research experience in your own words. One page, in English. 
  7. Letter from Aalto CHEM supervising professor.
    Professor will submit the letter directly to the Doctoral Programme Committee. With this letter professor has a chance to highlight the special skills and potential of applicant. Confidential letter, which applicant can see only by requesting that from the officer in charge of evaluation process.
  8. Any other supporting documents, such as letter of recommendation.
    Letter must include the explanation how the applicant has become known to the person giving the letter. Max. 2 letters.
  9. Official English abstract of Master's thesis.
  10. Copy of the holder page of your passport or ID-card.

    Applicants with a Master's degree earned at another university than Aalto University (or Helsinki University of Technology) shall also provide:

  11. Certified copies of degree diplomas and transcript of completed courses, together with a translation of these if the original documents are not in Finnish, Swedish or English. Transcripts of study records for B.Sc. and M.Sc. degree in English, Finnish or Swedish.
  12. Proof of proficiency in Finnish, Swedish or English if the applicant is not a native speaker of or educated in any of them. Please check the English language requirements (above).

*Detailed instructions for the research plan:

If you need more advice of applying and appendices, see the contact information.

Aalto CHEM's funding for doctoral students

Each year Dean of CHEM grants a few doctoral students with full funded doctoral position for 1-4 years. These positions must be applied in autumn. More information under Financing and promoting your research.

If you are already Aalto CHEM doctoral student and applying for school's funding, please fill in the application and attach appendices 1, 2, 5, 6, (7, from supervising professor), (8, optional).

The evaluation of these applicants for funded positions:

Applicants are primarily assessed on the basis of their potential to successfully complete the programme of study as well as the feasibility of the proposed research. Evaluation of new applicants for funded positions is based on the application documents, with special consideration of the following:

1. Study success, study time, applicant’s academic achievements and research publications

2. Maturity, including motivation and background

3. Research plan

4. Recommendation letters and other relevant information of applicant’s potential and skills.

Greater emphasis is placed on items 1 and 2.

Other information

Full-time and part-time studies

All doctoral students are defined as either full-time or part-time students. Students may not change their study mode by themselves, but it can be changed by application if necessary.

Full-time doctoral student

Students are entered into the register either as full-time or part-time doctoral students. Students may change their status only by application 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 students' 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 students must be able to spend 80 % of their working hours to doctoral studies.

Doctoral student 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 students 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 students must provide a document of the employers' approval for full-time doctoral studies (80 % of their working hours are dedicated to doctoral studies).

Part-time doctoral student

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

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

Applicants of part-time doctoral studies should discuss

Language of degree of a doctoral student

The doctoral student 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 student 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 student 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 student’s own school together with the degree certificate application.

This guideline will take effect starting from 1.1.2016. Doctoral students who have been chosen to the doctoral programme before 1.1.2016 may submit a freely formulated application to get the language of degree assigned with the same principles as new students.

Finnish or Swedish as a language of degree

A doctoral student 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 student 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 student can choose English as a language of degree.

If the doctoral student’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.

Granting the right to pursue doctoral studies

The Doctoral Programme Committee makes a proposal to the Dean of the School of Chemical Engineering about selecting the doctoral students. Selection process takes approximately 5 weeks.

The Dean of the School grants the doctoral study rights for the doctoral students. All applicants receive written information of the decision to the email address they have provided during the application process. After the study right is granted, attendance is registered as soon as student has confirmed the study right at eAge platform.

All new students are registered as attending in the student register. During the first study year the student can enroll as a non-attending student based only on official documents of maternity or parental leave, national military or non-military service.