Degree programme

Doctoral Programme in Interactive Technology


Where humans meet technology

The Doctoral Programme in Interactive Technology prepares the students for demanding research and product development tasks related to the interaction between humans and technology. The nature of the field is strongly multidisciplinary, and it requires the management of several research methods and perspectives. It is closely related to computer, information, technical-natural and human sciences. The essential objectives of the programme include the innovation, research and development of new interaction and user interface technologies in ways which allow them to fit natural human behaviour as well as possible and to support multimodal and multisensory operations in technological environments. Doctors in the field have good employment opportunities because of the ever increasing, developing, and renewing technologies and ways of utilisation.

The range of research methods in the field is extensive, and the field can be approached from many kinds of scientific backgrounds. A researcher who has earned the doctoral degree is able to specify and define scientific research questions and choose the methods suitable for those questions, is aware of the background literature and theories in his/her own speciality as well as the common research questions and methods in the field. In the field of interactive technology, research and product development are intertwined, and most of the doctors completing the programme will be employed by companies and other organisations outside the university.

Degree earned

Filosofian tohtori


Postgraduate degree

Planned duration

4 years

Extent of studies

240 ECTS




Central Campus

Study objectives

According to the Government Decree on University Degrees (794/2004, amended 1039/2013, §21) the 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.

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

Study contents

The doctoral programme in interactive technology prepares students for work as a researcher in demanding R&D positions in the field of human-technology interaction. Interactive technology is a decidedly multidisciplinary field that focuses on research and development in human-technology interaction, and presumes proficiency in the perspectives and research methods of the information, technology and human sciences. One of its key objectives is to innovate, research and develop new UI technologies so that they support natural human behaviour and enable versatile and fulfilling experiences to the best possible extent. Employment prospects for PhDs are good because the possibilities enabled by the technology and the ways in which they are used are constantly evolving and increasing.

The range of research methods is wide and studies can be undertaken with different qualifications. Holders of PhDs are well versed in the theories and methods of their own research traditions and the most common methods and considerations in the field. They can select the methods that are the best suited to their research questions.

R&D is closely related in interactive technology. The majority of doctoral graduates will work in companies and organisations outside the university.

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  (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

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 ofinterlinked 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 (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 Professor Veikko Surakka (

Doctoral Programme in Interactive Technology
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 6 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 Interactive Technology 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 interactive technology must be mentioned in the form.

Electronic application form

Applications are submitted through an electronic application system at 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 Tampere University 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 .

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 sub-projects, 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 full time 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,

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 enrolment 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.