Doctoral Programme of Education and Society
Our changing world requires multidisciplinary specialists in education and learning
The aim of postgraduate studies is to provide doctoral students with the abilities they need in order to work in the academia (as a researcher or a teacher) or in other expert tasks in society. As a doctoral student, you will become well versed in the field of your own research and gain an extensive general view of education. The purpose of doctoral education is to adopt scientific thinking, learn sound scientific practices and master the diverse skills of a researcher. A doctoral degree also qualifies you to supervise students and lead research groups.
Extent of studies
Goals of postgraduate education
In line with the Government Decree on University Degrees (794/2004), the purpose of the postgraduate education is for the students to become well-versed in their own field of research: its development, basic problems, research methods and social significance. In addition, they must acquire competences in the field of research enabling independent and critical engagement with scientific methods and creation of new knowledge.
The purpose of the Doctor of Philosophy (Education) and Doctor of Philosophy degrees, and the Licentiate degree is to ensure that the students become well-versed in their own field of research and its social significance and gain the knowledge and skills needed to apply scientific research methods, working in research groups and networks. The students must acquire such knowledge of educational sciences that enables understanding research findings in the field, following national and international scientific developments and engaging as experts in changing environments. The students must also demonstrate independent and critical thinking in the field of research in question, skill in data collection, analysis and dissemination of research findings as well as the capacity to operate within global scientific communities. In addition, the students must develop a strong grasp of research ethics and the societal responsibility of research, and of practices of teaching and supervision.
The curriculum builds on the following principles:
a) the connection between doctoral studies and the focus areas of educational research at the Faculty of Education and Culture,
b) community formation among incoming doctoral students, other doctoral students and all supervisors,
c) distributed support along with focused supervision,
d) flexibility and choice.
The annual cohort of new doctoral students form a group and are encouraged to interact in a reciprocally supportive way to facilitate knowledge construction and collegial relations beyond one’s own research group and dissertation topic.
Finnish universities are publicly financed through the Ministry of Education, but they have autonomy in their internal affairs. Finnish universities do not collect tuition fees from doctoral students, so the cost of studying is relatively low but on the other hand, the university does not provide scholarships for students. Student Unions charge small membership fees from graduate students. For postgraduate students, membership in the Student Union is optional.
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 1 000€/month for the first year of studies or a scholarship to support themselves during the studies. Also a health insurance is needed.
The structure of studies can be found in the curriculum.
Research Focus Areas of the Faculty of Education
The research focus of the Faculty of Education is on educational knowledge, activities and institutions that shape personal growth, learning and competency development during childhood, youth and adulthood.
Educational knowledge refers to interpretations regarding personal growth, learning and competency development that justify and serve as the basis for educational activity, and the ways in which these can be influenced. The Faculty of Education analyses existing educational knowledge and its processes of formation, the content of educational knowledge, and the didactic and pedagogic practices of learning in a changing sociocultural context and produces new educational knowledge.
Educational activities are studied within the structures and practices of policies, educational and learning environments, and civic and working life. The Faculty’s research is further profiled by the child, youth and adult educational institutions that have been created to implement education in society.
Research focusing on the main areas is conducted both at regional, national and international levels. Systematic integration of approaches within the School and with the university’s other fields of research creates a distinctive educational research profile for the University of Tampere.
The Faculty of Education also conducts speech technique and vocology research. The practical speech and voice training traditions is combined with multidisciplinary research and thus serves the needs of professions within the field of education and beyond.
Four focus areas of research
The Faculty of Education’s research profile is defined according to its educational orientation by the following four focus areas:
1) Increasingly international learning and operating environments
The increasing internationalisation of education and the labour market and the transnational mobility of people result in new kinds of learning and operating environments, which overreach geographical but also political, social and cultural borders. Research on learning and operational environments carried out with a subject-didactic perspective is a part of this focus area.
Research focuses on intercultural interaction and questions of learning in different multicultural contexts. The research examines formal and informal learning as well as the pedagogic and social challenges brought on by internationalisation.
2) Educational policies, cultures and structures
Research in this focus area examines the discourses, operators and institutions of education, as well as their interaction. The research focuses on the level of operation from the local to the global, and the research subjects could include the following:
- the local adaption of transnational educational policies
- institutional practices within education
- national level decision-making or
- globally outlined discourses of educational policies.
Research is carried out from the perspectives of education policy and sociology as well as comparative educational research in the context of different countries. The research covers the entire field of education from early childhood education to adult education.
3) Expertise, work and learning
The research focuses on professional learning and the psychological, social and cultural and historical perspectives of vocational learning and multi-professionalism, the development of expertise and global networking. The research examines individual, collective and organisational change processes related to lifelong learning and professional growth in different cultural, historical, social and societal contexts. Furthermore, the research is interested in the changing field of civic activity.
The central themes are the changing meanings of equality, participation and agency as well as the questions of well-being in the context of civic activity and working life. The connections between education, the economy and politics as well as culture and nature are subjected to critical examination in the research in this focus area.
4) Curricula research
The research in this focus area examines teaching and curriculum cultures as well as their changes as a part of the operations of communities. The curricula are understood, based on the curriculum studies tradition, as target-oriented, dynamic processes, which contain historical, cultural and political layers. In addition to this, curricula research is a way of understanding the daily life of education: what is taught and how. It can also be used to examine the development work of education and the operators that regulate it. The curricula research targeted at basic and upper secondary education is also a part of this focus area.
The importance of the research is based on the guiding role that curricula have in educational policy and increasingly also in the education of higher education institutions. At the same time, curricula reflect the political and cultural change trends in society at the different levels of the educational institution.
Carefully read through the admissions requirements before applying. For additional questions on applying, application documents and application process, please email: edu.doc.tau(a)tuni.fi.
Doctoral Programme of Education and Society
Doctoral Admission April 2021
The requirements for entering postgraduate studies leading to a postgraduate degree are as follows:
- applicable higher university degree or
- education of equivalent level as a higher university degree or
- degree equivalent to a higher university degree from a non-Finnish institute of higher education.
All applicants must submit evidence on a good command of English for academic purposes. There are two ways of indicating English language proficiency: language tests and previous studies.The minimum English language test result requirements
*The previous CAE and CPE have been renamed as C1 Advanced and C2 ProficiencyExemptions to the language requirements
It is possible to be exempted from submitting a language test score if you have completed a higher education degree in English in certain countries. If you apply without a valid language test result, carefully examine the exemptions that your studies fulfil the requirements.
Based on the spring and autumn application rounds, a maximum of 20 new postgraduate students are admitted into the Faculty of Education and Culture in the academic year 2020-2021: a maximum of 12 in the spring and a maximum of 12 in the autumn.
Prerequisites and admission criteria
The Faculty of Education and Culture grants the right to study for two doctoral degrees, a Doctor of Philosophy (Education) degree or a Doctor of Philosophy degree, by application.
A Master’s degree in Education is the prerequisite to apply for the right to study for a Doctor of Philosophy (Education) degree. A degree in a field other than education is the prerequisite to apply for the right to study for a Doctor of Philosophy degree. Those who study for a Doctor of Philosophy degree are also required to have 20 credits of advanced studies in education, which can also be completed as part of the doctoral degree.
Applicants to the doctoral programme are admitted on the basis of the following criteria:
- Quality of the application
- Availability of supervision resources in the faculty
- Plan for funding the doctoral studies
Explanations of the admission criteria
The application to the programme comprises the following documents:
1. A research plan and a statement of purpose (including a one-page CV and funding plan)
2. One or two letters of reference (optional)
A research plan of high quality demonstrates scientific novelty and significance, clarity of the research questions and objectives, coherence of the research problem and the selected methods of research and analysis, knowledge of relevant scientific/theoretical literature, quality and relevance of research data (for empirical studies) and a concrete implementation and/or publication plan.
A statement of purpose of high quality conveys evidence of aptitude and motivation to pursue a specific area of specialisation within educational sciences, clearly formulated future career goals, the applicant’s readiness to engage within the specific area of specialisation, time-management prospects, and sufficient convergence between the applicant’s research interests and current research in the faculty.
Prior research experience is considered a strength.
The plan for funding the doctoral studies will be assessed on the basis of its realism and concreteness. A good plan is as realistic and detailed as possible, listing the type of funding aimed at (e.g. existing projects, personal grants from foundations, scholarships, study leaves or other leaves of absence) and for which period of the studies. A good plan also includes the forthcoming deadline(s) for seeking external funding that the applicant aims at meeting if s/he is granted the study right.
Availability of resources in the faculty is assessed on the basis of the following:
1) The endorsement of the application by a minimum of two prospective supervisors. The applicant is required to contact only the prospective first supervisor. The latter in turn will indicate to the Planning Group for Doctoral Education the name(s) of possible prospective supervisors.
2) The number of supervisees the prospective first supervisor has already under his/her responsibility. Having an endorsement from a supervisor who already has a large number of supervisees as first supervisor is considered a potential risk.
3) A possible already realised integration in research projects or research groups at the faculty is considered a strength.
The application documents are meant to bring up front, for the selection and comparison between applications, the applicant’s promise, motivation, and ability to pursue the studies actively and successfully in the programme and to contribute to our faculty and university community. The expectation is that doctoral students are at least to some extent active from the very beginning, especially in the first-year mandatory courses.
Each application is academically assessed against the admission criteria and compared with the other applications. In addition to academic achievements, professional experience, community service and other relevant activities of the applicant are also noted in the selection process. The Planning Group for Doctoral Education may also decide to assess the applicant’s level of suitability and motivation by interviewing him/her. Assessments of individual applicants are not made public
Application periods and how to apply
The application period is during 1 – 30 April 2021. Please note! The application period ends on 30 April at 15:00 Finnish time.
Application and required enclosures
Applications are submitted through an electronic application system at studyinfo.fi. A link to the application form is available during the application period.
An application document for a right to study leading to a PhD or PhD (Education) degree must include the following application documents:
- electronically submitted application form
- copies of the Bachelor's and Master's degree certificates (or corresponding certificates) and the transcript of records of the studies included in the degree
- research plan and statement of purpose (including a condensed CV of maximum one page as an appendix)
- 1-2 reference letters (optional, see below)
- English language proficiency test results
- Copy of your passport's ID page or EU/EEA/Switzerland identity card, and possible residence permit to Finland, if the applicant is not a Finnish citizen
Please see more detailed instructions on how to apply on the page How to apply for doctoral programmes at Tampere University.
Officially certified educational documents
In addition to uploading electronic copies of your educational documents to your application, you must submit officially authenticated copies of your educational documents, if you have not completed your previous degrees in a Finnish university. If the documents are not in English, Finnish or Swedish, both the authenticated copies of the documents in their original language and an officially confirmed, complete and precise translation into one of the languages mentioned above are required.
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. Please send your educational documents to Tampere University Admissions Office.
Guidelines for preparing the application
Research plan and the statement of purpose
This document as a whole provides convincing arguments that the applicant is likely to succeed in the programme and to contribute to the faculty and university community. The research plan will be assessed also for the quality of academic writing and the proficiency in academic English or Finnish. In addition to this, the applicant must fulfil the language proficiency requirements.
The research plan must be written using the following format when applicable:
- A title
- An introduction to the societal relevance of the plan
- A discussion of the most relevant academic literature
- Key research questions stemming from the literature discussion
- Methodological framework, data collection and ethics
- Scientific contribution to the area of specialisation
- References (not included in the total word count of 2500 words, but not exceeding two pages, see instructions below)
The research plan does not represent a final commitment to a specific topic as the applicants who will be accepted in the programme will be asked to discuss and possibly revise the plan with the appointed supervisors.
The research plan must be written in English or Finnish, depending on the main language in which the applicant intends to write the dissertation.
The statement of purpose describes succinctly
- The applicant’s aptitude and motivation to pursue a specific area of specialisation within educational sciences and the applicant’s future career goals
- What makes the applicant ready to engage with this area of specialisation
- The applicant’s preliminary study plan and research plan in the selected area of specialisation
- How the applicant’s research interests converge with current research in the faculty and why the Faculty of Education and Culture and Tampere University are an appropriate intellectual context for the applicant
- The statement of purpose must include the name of at least one potential supervisor from the faculty who has preliminarily agreed to serve as supervisor (see the programme’s list of supervisors). Finding a supervisor whose current research closely relates to and complements the applicant’s research plan is critical for successful doctoral studies. For this reason, applicants are advised to contact as soon as possible prior to the application deadline a prospective supervisor whose area of expertise is close to the applicants’ research interests and selected area of specialisation. Please note! The applicant must contact the prospective supervisor a minimum of a month before the application deadline.
- A condensed CV of maximum one page as an appendix, focused on the applicant’s academic achievements and any relevant professional or practical experience, including academic writing and publications.
- A condensed funding plan of maximum one page as an appendix, listing how the applicant plans to obtain funding to be able to focus on the doctoral studies, and the research and writing for the doctoral dissertation.
One or two letters of reference (optional) are written by academics and/or experienced professionals who have supervised the applicant in an academic, employment, or community service context. The letter should preferably have an institutional or professional letterhead and must include:
- the name of the applicant to the doctoral programme
- contact information (name, professional email address and position) of the referee
- full contact information (name, address, email and possibly webpage) of the current of prior organisation in which the referee has supervised the applicant
- a brief description of the background information on the context and the capacity in which the referee has supervised the applicantan
- assessment of the quality of the applicant’s work under the referee’s supervision, with a particular emphasis on the applicant’s ability to work both independently and collaboratively
- the referee’s view on the applicant’s suitability to pursue doctoral studies in our programme.
The letters serve as support materials for assessing the applicant’s potential, abilities, and suitability to study in our programme. To be considered, the letters must be submitted by the application deadline to the email address edu.doc.tau [at] tuni.fi. Prospective supervisors may contact the referees.
The maximum length for the research plan and statement of purpose combined in one single document is 2500 words EXCLUDING references, the appendix with CV and the appendix with the funding plan.
For writing the research plan and statement of purpose applicants can refer to the current curriculum of the Doctoral Programme of Education and Society:
Please note! The application will be not evaluated if
- it exceeds the maximum length,
- it does not explicitly relate to the research in the faculty and it does not name a potential supervisor,
- the application does not follow the format given in the guidelines
Approval process and publication of results
At the Faculty of Education and Culture, all the applications written according to the given guidelines and submitted by the end of the application period will be assessed.
- Prospective supervisors are asked to assess the applications for which they have preliminarily agreed to serve as supervisors. If a prospective supervisor so wishes, he or she can appoint as a replacement a qualified external evaluator for this task.
- In addition to this, each faculty member serving in the Planning Group for Doctoral Education assesses all the applications.
- On the basis of these assessments the Planning Group makes a proposal to the Dean for the applicants who should be selected.
- The Dean decides on the selection of the new students.
The rule of one study place in an institute of higher education also applies to applications for studies leading to a licentiate degree or doctorate.
The final publication date of the results is 18 June 2021.
The applicants are notified of the results with a message to the e-mail address listed in the application. Admitted applicants are also notified via mail. Applicants who are dissatisfied with the admission results may request rectification in writing by 9 July 2021 at the latest. The request, together with the reasons, shall be addressed to: Tampere University, Faculty of Education and Culture, tau [at] tuni.fi ().
Registering as a postgraduate student
Once an applicant has been granted the right to postgraduate studies, he/she must confirm the acceptance of the study place on 9 July 2021 at the latest, and register as a university student in the manner specified in the acceptance letter.
Only those who register as present may complete studies at the university. The student must register as present or absent annually in accordance with the general registration practices of Tampere University. Students who fail to do so will lose their right to study.
In the event that a student is expunged from the university’s student register due to failing to complete the annual registration, the student in question must reapply for a right to study in writing.
Membership of the Student Union is voluntary for postgraduate students.