Degree programme

Doctoral Programme in Communication, Media and Theatre


Doctoral Programme in Communication, Media and Theatre in a nutshell

The Doctoral Programme in Communication, Media and Theatre trains highly qualified experts and researchers in mass communication and journalism, music research, speech communication, theatre and drama research, and theatre work. These fields are connected by the research of reality and the construction of performances of said reality, the public nature of these professions and the concrete dimension of skills, social aspects, and understanding communications from the perspective of meaning: as images, words, and stories.

The Programme is unique in Finland, because in addition to the extensive in-depth knowledge of the various disciplines, the education strives for a dialogue between the disciplines within the Programme. An essential aim of the doctoral training is to combine theoretical ambitions and practical research in new, creative ways. The aim of this doctoral programme is to train scientific and professional experts with in-depth theoretical and methodological skills within their field of study, who are able to work in demanding academic research and teaching positions and other expert tasks in society, including public and private organisations, higher education administration, and cultural, arts and science administration.

Degree earned

Filosofian tohtori
Yhteiskuntatieteiden tohtori


Postgraduate degree

Planned duration

4 years

Extent of studies

240 ECTS




Central Campus

Study objectives

The goal of the scientific and artistic doctoral education offered by the Doctoral Programme in Communication, Media and Theatre is that after completing their studies, the doctoral students have gained a broad-based understanding of the research approaches to communications, media and theatre, as well as their relationships with the different and changing practices of communication and performance.

During the doctoral studies, the students become thoroughly familiar with their field of research and its development, basic problems, research methods and importance to society. In addition, they gain the ability to apply the methods of scientific or artistic research independently and critically and create new information via scientific or artistic activity. An additional goal of artistic doctoral education is that the students gain the ability to develop new kinds of methods or operating models of artistic creation independently.

During studies that lead to the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences and Doctor of Philosophy, the doctoral students familiarise themselves in depth in their own field of research and its social significance, and learn to apply the methods of scientific research independently and critically and utilise their competence in research groups and networks. The students gain an understanding of the research of communications and media that enables them to act as experts in the field both in the University and outside it. They are capable of independent and creative thinking in their own field of research, are able to disseminate research information and have the skills to act in the international scientific community. In addition, the students have familiarised themselves with the methods of acquiring information and research ethics, the latest research in their own field of research, Finnish and international discussions, as well as the teaching and supervision practices in the field.

During the studies leading to a degree of Doctor of Arts (Theatre and Drama), the doctoral students gain an in-depth understanding of the artistic work of an actor carried out in different kinds of operating environments, an aspect of this work, or university level education in it. This understanding can be gained via methods arising from different kinds of artistic practices and artistic activity, as well as approaches with social, theoretical or philosophical emphasis that open them up.

During doctoral studies, the students become thoroughly familiar with their field of research, develop the methods of artistic research independently and critically and apply their competence in working groups. The students gain knowledge of the artistic work of an actor or its pedagogy that enables them to act as experts in the field, both in different professions in the theatre arts, educational institutions providing instruction in them, as well as more extensively in tasks in society. They are able to think independently and critically in their field of research, disseminate information born out of artistic research and act in the international communities in the field. In addition, the students will familiarise themselves with current methods for acquiring information, research ethics, the most recent studies in their chosen discipline, national and international phenomena involving the development in the discipline, and current teaching and supervision practices.

You can read the doctoral programme's entire curriculum on the Curricula Guide.

    Study contents

    The Doctoral Programme in Communication, Media and Theatre trains specialists, experts and researchers in mass communication and journalism, music studies, speech communication, theatre and drama research as well as theatre work. The fields are connected by the research of reality and constructing performances of said reality, a social aspect, the public nature of the professions and a concrete dimension of skill.

    The goal of the education is to link theoretical ambition and practice-based research with each other in new ways and to strive for creating dialogues between the different subjects at the Faculty. The postgraduate education is implemented in interaction with basic research and research activities. After completing the doctoral studies, the students can act as an expert with the ability to reform practices in their own field both in the University and elsewhere in working life.

    Each postgraduate student must draw up a written study and supervision plan together with his or her supervisors. The plan must specify the name of the main supervisor and the duties and responsibilities of the supervisors and the student. The plan must include the postgraduate student's preliminary schedule as well as the supervision practices applied. The purpose of supervision is to support and train the student in independent scientific or artistic work and to develop the student's professional skills and career prospectives. In addition, the plan must include a personal study plan that describes how the postgraduate student intends to fulfil his or her degree requirements.

    The doctoral programme offers the following doctoral degrees:

    • Licentiate of Philosophy and the Doctor of Philosophy in the following disciplines: Cultural Studies, Music Studies, Speech Communication, Theatre and Drama Research
    • Licentiate of Social Sciences and the Doctor of Social Sciences in the following disciplines: Journalism, Media Education, and Media Studies
    • Licentiate of Art and the Doctor of Arts: Theatre and Drama (acting)


    Tuition fees

    There are no tuition fees for doctoral programmes. Thus, the university does not have a scholarship system for international doctoral students.

    The faculty may have some salaried positions for doctoral students available alongside with the application round for the doctoral study right. These positions must be applied for separately and are announced on the Vacancies page.

    Doctoral students are not eligible to the same student benefits as Bachelor and Master students. Thus living expenses, including lunches and travelling, are higher.

    After the right to study has been granted, the Finnish Immigration Service expects all new students from non-EU/EEA countries to apply for a residence permit. At that stage, the students must be able to show to the Finnish Immigration Service that they have a minimum of c. 6 800 euros for the first year of studies or a scholarship to support themselves during the studies. Also a health insurance is needed.

    Structure of studies

    Degree structure of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and Doctor of Social Sciences (240 ECTS)

    As an optional intermediate step towards the doctoral degree, it is possible to complete a Licentiate of Philosophy or a Licentaite of Sociel Sciences degree.

    Research-related Doctoral Studies 60 ECTS consist of the following:

    • DPCMTJ1 Research seminar 10 ECTS
    • DPCMTJ2 Theoretical and methodological studies 10 ECTS
    • DPCMTJ3 Studies promoting internationalisation and networking 10 ECTS
    • DPCMTJ4 Studies promoting knowledge of the student's own discipline and research area 30 ECTS, including studies at least 2 ECTS worth of studies in research ethics

    Doctoral Dissertation 180 ECTS

    The dissertation must be a study based on independent research, which is examined publicly in a public defence. A previously published monograph cannot be accepted as a dissertation. It must contain new scientific knowledge and demonstrate critical thinking, a profound knowledge of the field and its methods, and the ability to apply these methods.

    The following can be approved as a dissertation: a uniform study (monograph) or a research compilation  formed by scientific publications or article manuscripts approved for publication that cover a range of interlinked issues as well as a summary prepared based on them (article-based dissertation). The summary must present the goals, methods and findings of the study. The publications may include co-authored publications. The doctoral candidate must have a significant role in any co-authored publications. The author of the dissertation must provide the faculty with a written account of his/her role in the research and possible co-authored publications. The account must be presented in conjunction with submitting the dissertation for pre-examination.

    An article-based dissertation must consist of a sufficient number of high-level publications that have been peer-reviewed by means of the referee procedure. A sufficient number is 3–5 articles, depending on the scope and level of the publication. In unclear situations, the Dean will decide upon the sufficient number after consulting the person responsible for the doctoral programme.

    Licentiate Degree

    To be awarded a licentiate degree (150 ECTS credits), a student must complete the following:

    • Research-related Doctoral Studies 60 ECTS
    • A licentiate thesis 90 ECTS

    You can read more about the degree structure and content of the studies on the Curricula Guide.

    Carefully read through the admissions requirements before applying. For additional questions on applying, application documents and application process, please email: itc.doc.tau(a)tuni.fi. Questions on research plans and prospective supervisors should be addressed to Research Manager Sanna Kivimäki (sanna.k.kivimaki@tuni.fi).  

    Doctoral Programme in Communication, Media and Theatre
    Doctoral Admission April 2019
    1 - 30 April 2019

    Eligibility criteria

    General eligibility for scientific doctoral studies is stipulated in the University Act (2009/558, Paragraph 37). The faculty can admit to licentiate and doctoral programmes an applicant who has completed

    • a relevant Master's degree awarded by a university,
    • a relevant Master's degree awarded by a university of applied sciences, or
    • a relevant applicable study programme abroad which in the awarding country gives eligibility for the corresponding level of higher education
    • whom the university otherwise deems to possess sufficient knowledge and skills for doctoral education in the field of studies in question.

    Recognition of the studies and eligibility for doctoral studies is approved by the professor of the main subject or a teacher authorised by the professor.

    Language skill requirements

    English language proficiency

    • Graduates of Finnish universities do not need a language test score.
    • Applicants who have taken their secondary school education, or studied for and obtained their Bachelor or Master degree in English in one of the following countries (and in the following countries only) are exempt from submitting a language test: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
    • Applicants who are not in either of the two groups above and who plan to study in English must submit an international language test score. IELTS Academic score of 6.5, PTE Academic score 62, or a TOEFL score of 575 (paper version) or 90 (iBT version), are the minimum scores. A plain photocopy of the test score is enough regarding IELTS scores. The PTE and TOEFL scores must arrive from the testing organisation. The TOEFL reporting number of the University of Tampere is 9871.


    The doctoral programme can take approximately 10 new doctoral students based on the application rounds for 2019.

    Admission procedure

      The aim of doctoral selection is to reach talented, motivated and committed doctoral students. The ability and aptitude of applicants is assessed on the following principles:

      • The scientific quality and relevance of the research and study and supervisory plan, and the feasibility of their implementation.
      • The appropriateness of the Master degree studies and the research topic for the doctoral programme and the main subject applied for.
      • The applicant's skills and knowledge, the language proficiency necessary to complete the doctoral programme and the grade of the previous degree can be considered.
      • The level of promise and motivation demonstrated by the applicant.


      How to apply

      Application periods and how to apply

      The call for applications for the Doctoral Programme in Communication, Media and Theatre is organised twice per year, in April and in October.

      The application period for doctoral studies commencing in the autumn of 2019 will be during 1-30 April 2019. The application period ends at 15.00 (Finnish time).

      Specific application deadlines will be confirmed each year.

      The right to study doctoral studies is applied for using electronic application form. The discipline must be mentioned in the form.

      A doctoral student may earn his/her degree in one of the following disciplines:

      humanistic fields

      • Cultural Studies
      • Music Research
      • Speech Communication
      • Theatre and Drama Research

      sociological fields

      • Journalism
      • Media Education
      • Media Studies

      artistic field

      • Theatre Work (acting)

      Electronic application form

      Applications are submitted through an electronic application system at studyinfo.fi. Please see more information at What is studyinfo?. A link to the application form is available during the application period.

      Application and required enclosures

      The application must include the following documents

      • a research plan that outlines the research topic and its foundations. Please see below the instructions on how to draft a research plan.
      • a study and supervisory plan, we recommend using the study and supervisory plan form
      • CV with full employment history
      • photocopies of the Master’s degree certificate (or corresponding degree certificate) and their authorised translations in English, and transcripts of records (i.e. courses taken, grades and credits received) and their authorised translations in English.
      • copy of the passport ID page, if the student hasn’t previously studied at the University of Tampere.
      • photocopies of other possible certificates of higher education studies
      • information on no more than two (2) referees can be included (not necessary)

      If the Master's degree (or corresponding degree) has not been completed in Finland, the following enclosures must be enclosed in addition to the documents mentioned above

      • a reliable account that the applicant’s previous degree grants eligibility for doctoral studies in the country where that previous degree was completed
      • copy of the Master's thesis in the original language (if applicable) and a synopsis in English. A summary written in English must be enclosed if the thesis is written in some other language than English.
      • international applicants must provide a reliable account of his or her language proficiency.

      In addition to the standard document requirements, educational documents issued in certain countries have more specific requirements for submission. Please go through the requirements carefully and check the country- specific requirements for your degree awarding country before applying.

      Unless your former institution issues diplomas and academic records in English, Finnish, or Swedish, the documents must include the authorised, complete and exact translations into one of these languages.

      If selected, you will have to present your original educational documents upon arrival at the University of Tampere in order to be able to register at the university.


      Prior to applying for admission, the applicant must contact the professor-in-charge of the doctoral programme who will help in finding a suitable supervisor for the topic.

      Instructions for writing a research plan

      A good research plan (roughly six pages) should include the following information: topic, background, objectives, methods, data and execution. It should also demonstrate that the author is familiar with his/her topic and related research.

      The research plan should be at most 6 pages long (minimum font size 12 points, 2.5 cm margins all around). In addition, enclose references and a cover sheet stating your name and the title of your study with your research plan. Please use page numbers.

      The research plan should include the following:

      1. A clear description of the aims, research questions and importance of the planned study

      In the introduction, introduce readers to the topic, state your reasons for selecting that topic and specify the objectives of the study. Present your topic and state clearly why it is important to study it. Good reasons include a lack of previous research, social significance, practical need, etc. Please bear in mind that an idea is not the same as a topic; to formulate your topic, you must define your subject area, select an approach, familiarise yourself with previous research and place your study in that context. What is already known about the topic?

      Formulate your research problem and related research questions in as much detail as possible. What are you actually studying? Formulate your research questions in such a way that you can answer them.

      2. Background and central state of the art references

      Introduce the key theoretical premises and main concepts of your study.

      3. Description of research methods and materials (i.e. data) to be collected

      Tell readers how you will answer your research questions. If your study is empirical, your research plan should specify your research data and methods. You can describe them in more detail later, but try to be as specific as possible. How will you access or produce your data? How will you acquire your research subjects? How will you analyse your data?

      Consider possible ethical matters. If you are not sure whether your study has any ethical considerations, refer to the guidelines of the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity, available online at http://www.tenk.fi/en .

      4. Expected results and their contribution in respect to earlier research

      Outline what new information your study will produce. How and where can this information be used?

      5. Time schedule, resources and financing plan

      Draw up a schedule describing when and how you will conduct your study and when you plan to publish your findings (e.g. planned conference and journal publications, software releases etc.). If you want, you can enclose a preliminary disposition with your research plan. What are the necessary resources including access to required technology, laboratories, funding plan, description of research environment and group, name of the supervisor, description of the needed or planned collaboration during the research. If your dissertation research is a part of a bigger whole, for example a part of a consortium or an academy project, find out the way in which you are dependent of the output of the other subprojects, include a risk analysis in the plan in case the consortium is not able to produce, for example, an application essential for your thesis.

      Draw up a short description on how you are going to finance your studies. Are you going to study fulltime or part time? Name the prospective sources of funding.


      Interviews may also be used to aid the selection procedure; the interview assesses the applicant's abilities and suitability. Assessments of individual doctoral students are not made public.

      The Faculty may restrict the number of its doctoral student intake based on insufficient supervision resources.

      Admission results and appeals

      The selection results are announced before the beginning of the following term. The selections made in spring 2019 are announced by 14 June, 2019.

      An applicant who is dissatisfied with the student selection may submit a written request for reconsideration. Such requests must be submitted within 14 days of the declared announcement date. The request, together with the reasons, shall be addressed to: Tampere University, Faculty of Information Technology and Communication, tau@tuni.fi.

      One study place per term provision

      A person accepted at a Finnish university or a polytechnic may accept only one study place in a degree programme leading to a higher education degree during one academic term.

      Confirmation of the right to enrol

      To maintain your right to enrol in the degree programme, you must fill in and deliver the confirmation form you receive from the Tampere University. The confirmation must reach the Tampere University by 11 July 2019 at 3 pm Finnish time, at the latest. If your confirmation has not arrived by the date indicated above, you will lose your right to enrol in the degree programme.


      New doctoral students must enrol at the Registrar's Office. More detailed instructions on enrollment are enclosed with the letter of acceptance. Before enrolling, a new doctoral student must present at the Faculty office the original certificates and transcript for the degrees and studies he/she has referred to in his/her application and their authorised translations in English, if the originals are in another language.

      Doctoral students are required to re-enrol at the beginning of each academic year according to instructions given by the University. Only students enrolled as 'present' may pursue studies at the University.

      Doctoral students who fail to enrol either as 'present' or 'absent' within the given deadline will lose their right to study and their right to use the computer services provided by the University. Should students later wish to continue their studies, they must make a written request to the Faculty requesting re-admission.