Guide for prospective doctoral students

N.B.: The up-to-date application guidelines can be found on the University of Jyväskylä page https://www.jyu.fi/en/apply/doctoral-studiesThis page (below) contains additional information which applies to Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Make sure you read carefully both the application guidelines and the instructions of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The application periods for doctoral studies are in March (1–29 March 2019) and in August (1–30 August 2019). The application period ends at 3:00 p.m. (GMT+2) on the last application date. The March application period is for programmes starting on 1 August. The August application period is for programmes starting on 1 January.

The application period of August 2019 will start on 1 August 2019 and end on 30 August 2019 at 3:00 p.m. (GMT+2).

Doctoral studies at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

The society needs new scientific knowledge as well as academic experts. Doctoral education prepares the doctoral student to be an expert in the chosen field and provides the doctoral student with analytic thinking, problem-solving, communication and information technology skills.

Doctoral studies are much more than the dissertation. Doctoral studies are the candidate’s own project, during which his or her knowledge, skills and the readiness to apply those skills are developed in different operational environments.

Doctoral studies in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences stress the ability to conduct research independently, the ability to complete and report an extensive research project, and the ability to present and defend the research in a public examination.

A person who wishes to pursue doctoral studies (that may in special cases also include licentiate studies) must apply for admission. The application is directed at the faculty that organises the doctoral training for the subject. List of subjects offering doctoral studies at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences can be found on the Postgraduate Degrees page. More information on the personnel and the research of different departments can be found here:

Admission for doctoral studies in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences gives the student the direct right to complete a doctor’s degree. 


Please read carefully both the application guidelines: https://www.jyu.fi/en/apply/doctoral-studies

Admission criteria for doctoral studies

Please read carefully both the application guidelines: https://www.jyu.fi/en/apply/doctoral-studies

NB: The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences does not make a conditional admission decisions (before the completion of the applicant’s master’s degree). The student cannot be accepted before the completion of his or her master’s degree.

At the admission stage, students selected for a doctoral programme are expected to commit to the completion of the degree. An applicant’s commitment is assessed in accordance with his/her possibilities to (1) participate in education organised by the University, (2) complete the degree in the target time (four years when studying full time) and (3) integrate with research communities. The assessment pays attention to the full or part time nature of studies, the need and possibilities for remote studies, other study rights to pursue a doctoral or master’s degree and the possibilities to network within the University, in Finland and internationally.

In addition to the general eligibility requirements mentioned above, the Doctoral School at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences requires that the applicant

  • plans the postgraduate studies so that she or he can complete the degree in four years;
  • conducts research that is compatible with the research strategies of the faculty and the department;
  • plans the postgraduate studies so that they are compatible with his or her career goals;
  • agrees to keep his or her supervisors up-to-date about the progress of the dissertation research and the overall postgraduate studies; and
  • agrees to obey the principles laid out in the supervision document.

Special conditions for the admission of doctoral students

  • A precondition for granting doctoral and licentiate study rights is that the dissertation for the postgraduate degree will be supervised at the University of Jyväskylä in accordance with its Degree Regulations.
  • A prerequisite for admitting a doctoral student from another university or another faculty of the University of Jyväskylä is that the universities or faculties have agreed in writing that the research material included in the dissertation is to be transferred to be part of the dissertation completed at the University of Jyväskylä or in another faculty of the University of Jyväskylä.
  • An applicant with a postgraduate degree cannot be granted the right to pursue another licentiate or doctoral degree with similar content. For an applicant with a doctoral degree, the faculty evaluates the similarity of the content of the degrees and requests a statement from the Graduate School Steering Board before admission.
  • The University will not process dissertation manuscripts which have not been granted permission for public examination or which have been rejected in another university or faculty of the University of Jyväskylä, unless there are justified grounds to do so.

Application procedure

Contact the main representative of the subject

Prospective students must contact the main representative of the subject at the department organising the doctoral training. During the application process, the research and postgraduate study plans are discussed. At the same time, the applicant’s previous studies and grades are assessed. 

Application to doctoral training takes place at Studyinfo.fi. More information on the application form can be found on the University of Jyväskylä page https://www.jyu.fi/en/apply/doctoral-studies

Funding plan can be based on the information found on the Doctoral dissertation funding page.  

Additional information on the postgraduate study plan (doctoral study plan)

The application must always contain a postgraduate study plan (doctoral study plan) with a scheduled plan of the dissertation work including a schedule for the completion of additional postgraduate courses and other assignments involved in professional qualification.

The doctoral student and either the main representative of the relevant subject or the (prospective) supervisor discuss the content of the required courses and study methods included in the study plan. Personal postgraduate study plans are based on the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences' teaching plan (syllabus).  Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences course programme and other key units of the University of Jyväskylä offering courses and training for doctoral student can be found on the Postgraduate course programme page. The content and extent of the postgraduate studies is planned with the supervisor-in-charge.

The postgraduate study plan is created using this form.

The postgraduate study plan must follow the postgraduate course programme.

The dean accepts the preliminary postgraduate study plan during the application procedure. If the application is accepted, the doctoral student must expand their study plan with his or her supervisor(s) within six months from the granting of the study right. Further amendments can be done later as necessary. The doctoral student registers changes agreed upon with the supervisor(s) in the postgraduate study plan. Changes made in the postgraduate study plan during postgraduate studies are approved by the supervisor-in-charge. 

Additional information on the research plan

A prospective doctoral student must submit a research plan (3–4 pages) as an attachment to the application. The plan should include at least

  1. the subject topic and a working title;
  2. the research question(s);
  3. the research methods and theoretical starting points;
  4. the data and sources;
  5. the tentative structure of the thesis;
  6. the current stage of the research (if applicable);
  7. a plan for funding; and
  8. a proposed schedule.

Developing a research plan is the first step to be taken in planning doctoral studies. A more detailed research plan is usually written after the application has been accepted. 


After the expiration of the application period, the Faculty will seek recommendation for the application from the department. The department has a steering group, a research board or their equivalent, which assesses the applications in accordance with their own requirements. The groups are:

  • Department of History and Ethnology: department's steering board
  • Department of Language and Communication Studies: department's research steering group
  • Department of Music, Art and Culture Studies: department's research board
  • Centre for Applied Language Studies: team of supervisors
  • Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy: the board of the doctoral programme of the department of social sciences and philosophy.

The Faculty sends the applications to the head of the department and to the contact person of the relevant group.

The group may invite the applicant for a meeting to answer questions regarding the application. The group may also discuss the applicants with, for example, the main representatives of the relevant subjects or the head of the department.

The group records the endorsements into a statement. The chairperson or the secretary of the group will submit the statement to the faculty.

If the application is not endorsed, the justification is recorded as a part of the statement.

If the application is endorsed, a proposal for the appointment of the supervisor-in-charge and at least one additional supervisor and the follow-up group for the applicant is included in the statement.

  • The person selected as the supervisor-in-charge should be an employee of the University of Jyväskylä and should hold a doctorate and have sufficient academic merits.
  • One or two additional supervisors are also nominated. The supervisors must have completed a doctoral degree or studies qualifying for a doctoral degree. In compliance with the general principles of the University of Jyväskylä Graduate School for Doctoral Studies, at least one of the supervisors must have the title of professor, university lecturer, university researcher, or adjunct professor at the University of Jyväskylä. The criteria for the choice of supervisors include the supervisor’s expertise on the subject and the division of supervision duties within the department. The supervisors may not serve as examiners of the future dissertation.

The dean either accepts or rejects the application based on the recommendations of the above-mentioned instances. At the same time, the dean will also accept or reject the preliminary postgraduate study plan attached to the application. The head of student and academic affairs acts as an official advisor for the decision.

The faculty will inform all applicants about the decision. If the applicant is not satisfied with the decision, an appeal on the decision can be made for the university appeal committee within 14 days of the decision’s announcement.

In addition, the faculty will

  • send enrolment instructions to selected applicants;
  • send information on the admission decisions to the supervisors and the head of department, who transmits information in accordance with the practice of the department concerned; and
  • if requested, send the research plan to supervisors

In accordance with Section 38 of the Universities Act (558/2009), applicants may accept only one student place in a degree programme that begins in the term of acceptance. To monitor the regulation, information on the acceptance of a study place is registered in the Studyinfo.fi service.

The faculty adds the accepted applicants on the faculty list for doctoral students and the supervisor(s) on the relevant mailing lists, if needed.

Instructions for the new doctoral student can be found on the Faculty's Guide for Doctoral Students page.

More information

Contact Coordinator Heli Niskanen, email doct-hum-soc(at)jyu.fi