General instructions and criteria

Eligibility of applicants

Admission criteria

Application instructions

Application periods

Before submitting the application

Application form and it appendices

Required language proficiency

Other information

Granting the right to pursue doctoral studies

Full-time and part-time studies

Language of a degree of a doctoral candidate

These instructions are based on the admission criteria to the Doctoral Programme in Science for year 2020.

Eligibility of applicants

The general eligibility criteria for higher education are defined in section 37 of the Universities Act (558/2009), and in Aalto University Admissions Criteria for year 2020. Eligible applicants for studies leading to an academic licentiate or doctoral degree in the Doctoral Programme in Science:

Policy on the recognition of degrees awarded outside Finland

Applicants 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, a degree earned abroad is recognized at Aalto University provided that it includes at least four years of studies, including a thesis similar to the master’s thesis, and that such studies in the view of the school equip the applicant with the skills and knowledge needed to pursue doctoral studies at the School of Science. 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).

If the applicant’s degree or education differs from the description above, but makes the applicant eligible for doctoral studies in the country that awarded the degree or gave the education, the applicant must provide a document confirming his/her eligibility for doctoral studies in the country where the education was given.

The potential for successful doctoral studies of applicants with an applicable Finnish master ’s degree awarded by a university of applied sciences will be assessed by the school case by case. If the school deems the applicant with a master's degree in an applicable 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. If the extent of necessary supplementary studies exceeds this maximum, the applicant will be advised to first pursue the master's degree in the university before applying for a right to pursue doctoral studies. When assessing the applicants’ potential for doctoral studies, the School shall take into account that the extent of the master’s degree awarded by a university of applied sciences is 60-90 ECTS, whereas the extent of a university master’s degree is 120 ECTS.

International applicants with a degree corresponding to a Finnish master’s degree awarded by a university of applied sciences are subject to the same rules as those with a Finnish degree.

Admission criteria

The professor (i.e. supervising professor) who is in charge of the research field the applicant is applying to is responsible for the academic evaluation of the applicant. The Doctoral Programme Committee will also evaluate the applicant. The doctoral programme may ask the department to evaluate the applicant.

The departments have defined whether an evaluation statement from the department is needed regarding all applicants to that department or only when the doctoral programme considers it relevant.  Departments can make changes in the definition only when the admission criteria are confirmed, and the doctoral programme should be informed about the changes in writing.

The following is required for an applicant:

Grade criteria

Other selection criteria

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 set prerequisites for entry. The School of Science may accept equivalent attainments completed in other schools as prerequisites on the grounds of the supervising professor’s written statement.

The above-mentioned admission criteria may be departed from on the grounds of the supervising professor’s well-founded written statement.

Application periods

Full-time doctoral studies

Applicants applying for full-time doctoral studies can apply to the Doctoral Programme in Science once a month (except for July).  Deadlines for applications.

Part-time doctoral studies

Applicants applying study right for part-time doctoral studies in Doctoral Programme in Science can apply only twice a year, in March and in September.

March: The application time for part-time doctoral studies is 2.-23.3.2020. The decisions on study rights are made 7.5.2020, which is also the date when the study right starts.

September: The application time for part-time doctoral studies is 1.-21.9.2020. The decisions on study rights are made 13.11.2019, which is also the date when the study right starts.

Please note:

From 1 August 2016 onwards the accepted applicants 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 degrees awarded by universities of applied sciences.

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 accepted applicant postpones the commencement of studies or gives up her/his right to study, s/he cannot accept another study place leading to a higher education degree starting the same academic term.

Before submitting the application

Before submitting the application, each applicant must contact a supervising professor who is responsible in 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. The most talented doctoral candidates may receive funding from their department or they may fund their studies through projects or grants. The funding should be primarily discussed with the supervising professor. More information on financing your studies.

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

Application form and its appendices

Only complete applications will be processed. Incomplete applications will be rejected, if the application is not supplemented in the given time limit.

Application form

Electronic application form ( 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 send it.

Required appendices (scanned in pdf form):

1.Curriculum vitae (CV)

2.Preliminary study plan, 40 ECTS of theoretical studies

3.Supervision plan

4. Research plan. Applicant can also make a free-form research plan; note that it has to be signed by the applicant and the supervising professor! Research plan includes:

The study plan, research plan and supervision plan needs to be approved by the applicant and the supervising professor. By signing these documents, the professor responsible for the research field confirms to be the supervising professor of the applicant.

In addition, from all applicants to the research field of Industrial Engineering and Management:

Applicants with a master´s degree or education earned at another institution than Aalto University (or the preceding universities of Aalto University) shall also provide the following documents:

1.Master’s degree certificate and official transcript:

2.Abstract of Master´s thesis in English

3.Proof of proficiency in Finnish, Swedish or English

4.Copy of the holder page of your passport

5.A document confirming eligibility for doctoral studies, if needed (please see Eligibility for doctoral studies) with an official translation, if the original document is not in Finnish, Swedish or English.

Required language proficiency

A successful applicant must have an excellent command of Finnish, Swedish, or English. All international applicants applying for doctoral studies must demonstrate their proficiency in English. Applicants are required to include an official language test report to their application.

Accepted language tests in English and their minimum score requirements are (Aalto University Admissions Criteria 2020):

An English language test is not required in doctoral admissions of applicants who have  (Aalto University Admissions Criteria 2020):

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 applicant from taking an English test.

In addition, an English language test is not required in doctoral admissions of applicants to Doctoral Programme in Science who:

Submission of English test result

Only official reports of the language test are acceptable as proof of proficiency.

Granting the right to pursue doctoral studies

The Doctoral Programme Committee of the School of Science will recommend the applicants to the Dean of the School of Science based on the recommendations of the supervising professors and when needed, from the departments. The Dean approves or rejects the applicants. All applicants are informed of the decision in writing. A successful applicant will be granted the right to pursue the degree Doctor of Science (Technology). All doctoral students will also have the right to pursue the degree Licentiate of Science (Technology). All students are defined as either full-time or part-time students.

The study right starts on the day when the Dean admits the applicant to the doctoral programme, but the study place is not established until the applicant has accepted the study right offered. The applicant will have 4 weeks time to accept the study place.

 All doctoral candidates are defined and registered as either full-time or part-time students. Also the language of the degree is registered. All new doctoral candidates are registered as attending in the student register.

Full-time and part-time studies

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

Full-time doctoral students

Full-time doctoral students plan their studies with the aim of completing a doctoral degree within four years of the admission to the doctoral programme. The studies can include a licentiate degree with a target completion time of two years, and this time is included in the four-year target period of a doctoral degree. Full-time doctoral students need to have funding allocated to doctoral studies (e.g. project funding, personal grant or funding from employer). Those working outside Aalto University who wish to be full-time doctoral students must provide a document of the employers' approval for full-time doctoral studies (80 % of their working hours can be dedicated to doctoral studies).

Part-time doctoral students

Part-time doctoral students are those who do not meet the above-mentioned requirements for full-time doctoral students. Their studies are planned in such a way that the time spent on doctoral studies is eight years or less. A part-time doctoral student typically has a main occupation outside the School of Science which does not include scientific research for doctoral dissertation.

Applicants of part-time doctoral studies should discuss:

Language of degree of a doctoral candidate

The applicant will define in his/her application in which language he/she will pursue his/her degree (language of degree). The possible languages are Finnish, Swedish or English. If the doctoral candidate wants to write his/her doctoral dissertation (the compiling part of a compilation dissertation or a monograph) in Finnish or in Swedish, the language of degree of the doctoral candidate will be Finnish or Swedish. If the doctoral dissertation is written in English, doctoral candidate can choose English as a language of degree. 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 changes. A freely formulated application with reasons for why the language of degree should be changed shall be submitted to the doctoral programme at the latest 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.