Data on a screen
Degree programme

Doctoral Programme in Information and Systems

Data on a screen

Reach the top in data sciences

Information processing has become a core activity for the running of organisations, society at large, and global development. Operations and events generate tremendous amounts of raw data, which is needed to provide information for different purposes through data analysis. Information processing, software and information systems are a crucial part of the running of contemporary society. Their development, however, is still highly challenging. Data analysis and information processing are founded in mathematics and statistics and their research. The aim of Doctoral Programme in Information and Systems is to provide training that prepares students for working as researchers and experts in these areas.

The major subject available are Computer Science, Mathematics and Statistics. To be awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree, a student must complete research-related doctoral studies 40 ECTS and a doctoral dissertation 200 ECTS. Highly educated experts are in demand in the areas of this doctoral programme. The employment outlook is good for people holding doctorates in this field. Come explore exciting new opportunities with our research teams!

Degree earned

Filosofian tohtori


Postgraduate degree

Planned duration

4 years

Extent of studies

240 ECTS




Central Campus

Study objectives

The general objectives of scientific postgraduate education are that the student

  1. Becomes thoroughly acquainted with her/his own field of research and its social significance
  2. Gains the knowledge and skills needed to apply scientific research methods independently and critically and to produce new scientific knowledge within her/his field of research
  3. Becomes acquainted with the development, basic problems and research methods of her/his field of research
  4. Gains such knowledge of the general theory of science and of other disciplines relating to her/his own field of research as enables her/him to follow developments in them
  5. Achieves sufficient communication and language skills and other abilities to work as an expert or a developer in demanding jobs and in international cooperation.

The doctoral programme in Information and Systems provides training that prepares students for working as researchers and experts in

  • data analysis, data mining and statistical modelling, such as information theory, stochastic methods, machine learning, learning algorithms and computer-intensive methods
  • mathematics and mathematical methods of data processing, including number theory, algebra, algebraic geometry, logics and finite model theory, algorithms and formal languages
  • software, databases and data systems, including conceptual modelling, database design, data search, data systems design and utilisation in organisations, delivery chain and product information management, mass tailoring, software development, formal methods of software and information system development, and information systems in healthcare and industry

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

Study contents

The major subjects of the Doctoral Programme in Information and Systems are mathematics, statistics and computer science.

To be awarded a doctorate, a doctoral student must:

  1. complete the required doctoral studies,
  2. demonstrate independent and critical thinking in the field of research, and
  3. 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, and a doctoral degree should be completed in five years.

Tuition fees

There are no tuition fees for doctoral programmes at TUNI. Thus TUNI 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 TUNI 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  (240 ECTS)

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

Research-related Doctoral Studies 40 ECTS consist of the following:

  • Research Ethics 
  • Courses expanding on the Master's degree
  • Studies in the field of the dissertation
  • Research seminar in major subject

Doctoral Dissertation 200 ECTS

A doctoral dissertation is an independent scientific thesis which must be defended in public.

A dissertation can be a unified study (a monograph) or an integrated entity of scientific publications or manuscripts approved for publication paired with a summary article (an article-based dissertation). The objectives, methods and results of the study must be presented in the summary article. Publications may include co-authored publications. If the publications include co-authored articles, the doctoral student must generally be responsible for significant contributions in them. The doctoral student must also submit to the Faculty a written account of his/her contribution to the publications. This account must be submitted when the manuscript is submitted for preliminary examination. The dissertation itself must also include an account of the author's contribution to co-authored publications.

An article-based dissertation must consist of an adequate number of high-quality publications which have been peer-reviewed.

All the requirements concerning the doctoral dissertation apply not only to a monograph but also to an article-based dissertation.

Licentiate Degree

To be awarded a licentiate degree (130 ECTS credits), a student must complete the following:

  • Research-related Doctoral Studies 40 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) Questions on research plans and prospective supervisors should be addressed to University Researcher Poika Isokoski (

Doctoral Programme in Information and Systems
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

The applicant must submit evidence of good command of English for academic purposes. There are two ways of indicating English language proficiency: language tests and previous studies.

Language tests

We accept the following tests (minimum scores listed) as proof of good command of English:

  • TOEFL, Test of English as a Foreign Language: 90/Internet-based, 575/paper-based (NB: scores from "TOEFL ITP / institutional testing programme" are not accepted.)
  • IELTS (Academic), International English Language Testing System: 6.5 with no individual score below 5.5
  • PTE (Academic), Pearson’s Test of Academic English: 62
  • Cambridge Advanced English or Cambridge English Proficiency test: C1 Advanced (CAE): C2 Proficiency (CPE): Level C1

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 old University of Tampere is 9871, which is still in use until further notice.

Please note that the language test score must be valid during the application period. Language test results are valid for two years.

Previous studies

It is possible to be exempted from submitting a language test score if you completed your secondary education and/or have taken a higher education degree in English in Finland or an other EU/EEA country, Switzerland, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, or the United States. You must have resided in the country while studying. Please note that degrees completed in English in countries other than the ones listed above will not be accepted.

It is advisable to include in the application also other certificates of language tests taken, if any, especially tests taken in Finnish, Swedish, German or French.


The doctoral programme can take approximately 16 new doctoral students based on the application rounds for 2019.

Admission procedure

The aim of doctoral selection is to find 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 Bachelor and Master degree studies and the research topic for the doctoral programme and the main subject applied for.
  • The availability of sufficient expert supervision.
  • 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.

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.


How to apply

Application periods and how to apply

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

The call for applications for the Doctoral Programme in Information and Systems is organised twice per year, in April and in October. 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 A link to the application form is available during the application period.

Responsible supervisor and co-supervisor(s)

Prior to applying for admission, the applicant must contact the professor of the main subject s/he is applying for, or a possible supervisor of studies, in order to draft the research plan as well as the study and supervisory plan. To find a prospective supervisor, please contact the head of the doctoral programme Associate Professor Poika Isokoski (poika.isokoski(a)

Application and required enclosures

  • a study and supervisory plan signed by the applicant and the supervisor(s)
  • a research plan that outlines the research topic and its foundations. Instructions on how to draft a research plan below.
  • CV with full employment history. Please give the contact information of two referees in the CV, if the Master degree was not taken at Tampere University
  • submitting a financing plan is recommended, either as part of your research plan or as a separate document
  • copy of the passport ID page, if the student hasn’t previously studied at Tampere University

In addition, applicants who have not graduated from the Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences or its predecessors must enclose the following documents:

  • photocopies of Bachelor’s and Master’s degree certificates and their authorised translations in English, and transcripts of records (i.e. courses taken, grades and credits received) and their authorised translations in English. A syllabus of the Master studies must be submitted too (see below). If you have completed your Master's degree in a Finnish university after 1995, a photocopy of your Master's degree certificate and transcript of records are enough. Please consult Enclosures below for more information.
  • 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
  • international applicants must provide a reputable account of his or her language proficiency (see Language skill requirements)

Research plan

The research plan should be at most 6 pages long (minimum font size 12 points, 2.5 cm margins all around). It should include the following:

  • A clear description of the aims, research questions and importance of the planned study
  • Background and central state of the art references
  • Description of research methods and materials (i.e. data) to be collected
  • Expected results and their contribution in respect to earlier research
  • Time schedule and 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.
  • Publication and dissemination plan (e.g. planned conference and journal publications, software releases etc.)


You must be able to prove your educational background by means of officially authenticated copies of your documents. 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.

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

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 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, Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences,

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 University of Tampere. The confirmation must reach Tampere University by 11 July, 2019 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 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.