Doctoral Programme in Health Sciences
Become a doctor in the field of health sciences of your choice
The aim of doctoral studies is to enable to work successfully in both academic (researcher, teacher) and other expert positions in society. The doctoral student becomes deeply acquainted with his or her special field, but also acquires a broader view of in health sciences more generally. The aim of doctoral studies is to adopt scientific thinking and internalize good scientific practice, as well as to master the diverse skills of a researcher. The doctoral degree also makes it possible to supervise students and lead research groups.
The Doctoral Programme in Health Sciences offers doctoral degrees in health sciences or philosophy within the various fields of health sciences. An intermediate licentiate degree is also an option. A person with a master's degree, graduate degree, or a corresponding degree in health sciences may be admitted to the Doctoral Programme.
The doctoral degree in health sciences can be taken in the following fields: biostatistics, epidemiology, gerontology, nursing science, public health, social psychiatry, social and health policy, health care management, health services research, health economics, occupational health, Global Health and Development, and health sociology. Most doctoral students write their dissertations in research groups within their field of study, which is mainly defined based on the field of study of the supervisor.
With a doctoral degree, a person is able to conduct research independently and apply the ability to use scientific research methods independently and critically, and to create new health science knowledge and knowledge applications. (S)he is able to participate in a discussion about the social impact of his discipline and the importance of her/his research.
Extent of studies
After completing the doctoral programme, students
- can conduct scientific research independently
- have profound understanding of their field of research and know the current debates and discussions in this field
- evaluate, develop, and continuously renew their competence and the discipline and participate in academic debates in their fields
- have a wide grasp of the approaches in their field of study and are able to apply and modify the theories and research methods of a specific discipline
- can discuss the social impact of their field and the significance of their own research
- know their own field to such an extent that, based on ethical values, they can understand, follow, and advance research and scientific development in it, as well as act as specialists in a variety of different and changing environments
- are aware of the ethical issues in research and good research practice, principles of philosophy of science and follow it in their work, know regulation and requirements concerning privacy and data protection
- can construct and evaluate scientific arguments and participate in academic debates in their fields independently, critically, constructively and share research results both orally and in writing
- understand the demands of professional research and know how to act as an active member in the international scientific community
In the Doctoral Programme in Health Sciences, the doctoral degree can be completed in one of the following fields of study:
- Global Health and Development
- Health Economics
- Health Care Management
- Health Services Research
- Health Sociology
- Nursing Science
- Occupational Health
- Public Health
- Social Psychiatry
- Social and Health Policy
In the Doctoral Programme in Health Sciences the student can complete the degrees of Doctor of Health Sciences or Doctor of Philosophy in the disciplines of the Faculty. The prerequisite for the Doctoral Programme in Health Sciences is a Master’s Degree or equivalent. The Doctor of Health Sciences degree requires a previous educational background on Master’s level in the field of health sciences.
To be awarded a doctorate, a doctoral student must,
- complete the required doctoral studies,
- demonstrate independent and critical thinking in the field of research, and
- write a doctoral dissertation and defend it in public.
Each doctoral student must draw up a personal study and supervisory plan together with his/her supervisors. The plan must specify intended doctoral coursework, course schedule and other modes of study, and the schedule and publication plan for the dissertation.
Studies and supervision in doctoral programmes are intended to last for four years.
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 1 000€/month for the first year of studies or a scholarship to support themselves during the studies. Also a health insurance is needed.
Doctoral Programme in Health Sciences (240 ECTS)
As an optional intermediate step towards the doctoral degree, it is possible to complete a Licentiate of Philosophy degree.
The doctoral programme consists of three modules as follows:
- General academic competences 20-30 ECTS
- Orientation studies
- General research skills
- Research methods
- Discipline- and field-specific studies 30-40 ECTS
- Field-specific doctoral studies
- Seminar (own field)
- Doctoral Dissertation 180 ECTS
A doctoral dissertation is an independent scientific thesis which must be defended in public.
You can read more about the degree structure and content of the studies on the Curricula Guide.
Doctoral dissertation is an independent scientific study, which focuses on a topic approved by the faculty and supervisors. Completing a dissertation requires approximately three years of full-time work, which amounts to 180 ECTS.
A doctoral dissertation is a coherent written piece of work that contains new scientific information and is based on independent research conducted by the doctoral candidate. A dissertation may take the form of a monograph written by the doctoral candidate or a compilation of articles that explore the same set of problems and are accompanied by a summary (article-based dissertation). A dissertation may also include co-authored publications, provided that the doctoral candidate’s independent contribution to these publications can be demonstrated.
The Faculty of Social Sciences brings together in a new way research focusing on society and health. This research will help to solve welfare challenges in modern societies. The Faculty’s internationally high-level, multidisciplinary knowledge ranges from understanding the long processes of cultural change to topical questions concerning the structure of society, institutions and everyday life.
The establishment of this new, broad Faculty – one with wide-ranging knowledge – helps to meet many of the core challenges that our changing society will face in coming decades. In the field of studying society and health, the Faculty produces timely and critical research that has independent value in answering social problems. While acknowledging that strong academic disciplines are the cornerstone of research, the Faculty’s new strengths are concentrated in areas of multidisciplinary focus that extend beyond traditional boundaries. The new Faculty’s strong research themes cover a wide range of fields.
The Focal Points of Research at the Faculty of Social Sciences
- Social cognition and interaction
- Gender and body
- Migration, multiculturalism
- Childhood, youth and family research
- Ageing and the health and functional ability of the elderly
- Working life, well-being at work and occupational health
- Welfare services
- Causes of cancer, reducing the causes and effects of the disease
- Cultures of politics and governance
- Science, technology and innovations
- Violence, conflicts and peaceful change
- Social theory
- Social history
Carefully read through the admissions requirements before applying. For additional questions on applying, application documents and application process, please email: soc.doctoralstudies.tau(a)tuni.fi. Questions on research plans and prospective supervisors should be addressed to Person in Charge of the Doctoral Programme: Docent Kirsi Lumme-Sandt (kirsi.lumme-sandt [at] tuni.fi).
Questions on research plans and prospective supervisors:
- Biostatistics: Professor Jaakko Nevalainen, jaakko.nevalainen [at] tuni.fi
- Epidemiology: Professor Anssi Auvinen, anssi.auvinen [at] tuni.fi
- Gerontology: Professor Anu Siren, anu.siren [at] tuni.fi
- Global Health and Development: Professor Meri Koivusalo, meri.koivusalo [at] tuni.fi
- Health Care Management: Professor Juho Saari, juho.saari [at] tuni.fi and Research Director Lauri Kokkinen, lauri.kokkinen [at] tuni.fi
- Health Economics: University Lecturer Neill Booth, neill.booth [at] tuni.fi
- Health Services Research: Professor Ilmo Keskimäki, ilmo.keskimaki [at] tuni.fi
- Health Sociology: Professor Piia Jallinoja, piia.jallinoja [at] tuni.fi
- Nursing Science: Professor Eija Paavilainen, eija.paavilainen [at] tuni.fi
- Occupational Health: (not available at the moment)
- Public Health: Professor Pilvikki Absetz, pilvikki.absetz [at] tuni.fi
- Social Psychiatry: Professor Sami Pirkola, sami.pirkola [at] tuni.fi
- Social and Health Policy: Professor Juho Saari, juho.saari [at] tuni.fi and Research Director Lauri Kokkinen, lauri.kokkinen [at] tuni.fi
Doctoral Programme in Health Sciences
Doctoral Admission April 2022
General eligibility for scientific doctoral studies is stipulated in the University Act (2009/558, Paragraph 37). The university can admit to a doctoral programme an applicant who has completed
- an applicable master’s degree;
- an applicable master’s degree at a university of applied sciences; or
- an applicable foreign degree, which in the awarding country makes you eligible to pursue an equivalent university degree
The scope of a foreign degree must be equivalent to a Finnish degree (generally 180 + 120 ECTS, or approx. 3 + 2 years) that confers eligibility for admission to a doctoral programme. Foreign degrees must include a thesis-type final project.
Tampere University may require a person admitted to a doctoral programme to complete a set of courses to further expand his or her knowledge and skills. The maximum scope of these supplementary studies is 60 credits.
The eligibility of applicants whose applicable master’s degree was conferred by a Finnish or foreign university of applied sciences will be determined by doctoral programme staff on a case-by-case basis. This decision will be based on an assessment of the applicants’ ability to successfully complete a doctoral degree.
Moreover, the Faculty of Social Sciences requires that applicants who have completed a higher university of applied sciences degree or a Master’s degree of less than 120 ECTS abroad demonstrate the following: Familiarity with the key theoretical concepts of the field, foundations for scientific theory and research ethics, and mastery of the research methods at a level that is necessary for successfully completing a dissertation. This proficiency must be demonstrated by providing an account of completed studies related to the above-mentioned areas. The account must indicate the content and scope of the studies. Furthermore, the application must contain a summary and the final grade of the applicant’s thesis for the higher university of applied sciences degree.
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
|Test name||Minimum test result|
|TOEFL iBT / TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition||92 overall, with no section below 20|
|IELTS (academic) / IELTS Indicator||6.5 overall, with no section below 5.5|
|PTE (academic)||62 overall, with no section below 54|
|Finnish National Certificate of Language Proficiency (English)||Proficiency level 5|
*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.
On the application rounds of 2022, the overall intake into doctoral programmes in the field of medicine and health sciences at the Faculty of Social Sciences is approximately 30 new students per academic year. The programmes are: the Doctoral Programme in Health Sciences and Doctoral Programme in Medicine.
The Steering group for doctoral education assesses the ability and commitment of the applicants according to the following principles:
- The scientific quality of the research plan: the suitability of the methods and materials to solve the research question and the realism of the research plan
- The clarity of the research questions
- The practical or theoretical relevance of the research in its field
- The suitability of the research topic for the Doctoral Programme
- The realistic feasibility of the study plan
- The applicant’s academic success at undergraduate and graduate level
- The applicant’s methodological and theoretical abilities
- Tha applicant's motivation
- The applicant’s language proficiency
- The availability of competent supervision resources within the Faculty
The Steering group for doctoral education may also assess the applicant’s level of suitability and motivation by interviewing him/her. Evaluation statements concerning individual applicants are not public.
At the application stage, applicants will be required to deliver certified copies of their degree certificate and related appendices to the University. Country-specific requirements may apply.
The Faculty may restrict the number of its doctoral student intake based on insufficient supervision resources.
A person who wishes to apply to Doctoral Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences must contact a potential Supervisor at least a month prior to the application deadline. The Supervisor can be a Professor or a Docent (Adjunct Professor) who works for the Faculty. The applicant should ask this person to act as a Supervisor and together they should reach an agreement upon the research topic, research methods, possibilities of carrying out the research and other similar aspects related to the research task. The applicant must have at least a Main Supervisor by the end of the application period.
After finding a Supervisor, the applicant must
- Gain support for the study right application from the Main Supervisor (or from all Supervisors, if they are already known).
- Ask the Head of the Doctoral Programme / Professor in the Field of Study in question to sign the application form.
- Submit the application form and its enclosures to the Steering group for doctoral education for assessment via the electronic application system (Opintopolku).
The following documents must be attached to the online application in Studyinfo.fi
- Application form for the right to study signed by the Head of the Doctoral Programme / Professor in the Field of Study and the Supervisor/s
- Research plan (max. 6 pages including references)
- A tentative postgraduate study plan
- Motivation letter (grounds for applying, 1 page)
- Language Certificate (detailed instructions below)
- Applicant’s CV and a possible list of publications
- Copies of Degree Certificates, if the degree has not been completed at Tampere University (if the degree has been completed outside of Finland, an official translation is required) and a Transcript of Records.
- A copy of the applicant’s ID (passport or another official identification document containing a photo) This is not required if the applicant has previously studied at Tampere University.
- Applicants who have completed their previous Academic Degree outside of Finland must also submit a Transcript of Records, which shows the grade of their Master’s Thesis or the general grades of the degree.
- Approval forms from Members of the Follow-up Group (note: establishing a Follow-up Group is voluntary)
Please see more instructions on how to apply on the page How to apply for doctoral programmes at Tampere University.
A research plan must be enclosed to the application (maximum length 6 pages including references, font Times New Roman or equivalent, font size 11, spacing 1.5). The Main Supervisor and the Head of the Doctoral Programme or Professor in the Field of Study (and the follow-up group, if one has established) must recommend that the plan be considered by the Steering Group for Doctoral Education. The research plan should cover the entire dissertation/thesis.
1. Summary (max. 1 page, no references)
2. Title of the study
In both Finnish and English
3. Background of the study
A short overview that describes the topic of the study and clarifies its position in the field
4. Aims of the study
The aims should be confined and presented clearly (e.g. overall/detailed objectives)
5. Materials and methods
Choice of research material and grounds for it
Description of research methods
6. Reporting of the study
Type of dissertation (a monograph or an article-based dissertation)
Description of articles and plan for publication
7. Timetable of the study
A timetable presenting the different phases of the study and a funding plan for the research, if any
8. Ethical issues
Description of ethical aspects of the study and an estimate whether there is need for a statement by an ethical board
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.
The call for applications for the Doctoral Programme is organised twice per year, in April and in October.
The application period for doctoral studies commencing in the autumn of 2022 will be during 1 - 29 April 2022. The application period ends at 15.00 (Finnish time).
Specific application deadlines will be confirmed each year. Under exceptional conditions, applications for doctoral studies can be processed outside the two admission rounds.
Applications are submitted through an electronic application system at studyinfo.fi. A link to the application form is available during the application period.
The selection results are announced before the beginning of the following term. The selections made in spring 2022 are announced by 23 June 2022. Applicants are notified of the selection results by e-mail.
An applicant who is dissatisfied with the student selection may submit a written request for reconsideration to the Faculty Council. 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, 33014 University of Tampere, Finland by post or tau [at] tuni.fi by email.
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.
Acceptance of study place
To maintain your right to enrol in the degree programme, please accept the study place through the link you have received by email from Studyinfo.fi. The confirmation must reach the Tampere University by 8 July 2022 at 3 pm local 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 Student Affairs Office. More detailed instructions on enrolment are enclosed with the letter of acceptance.
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.