rakenteinen kirjaaminen
Degree programme

Doctoral Programme in Medicine and Life Sciences

rakenteinen kirjaaminen

High-quality research for your health

The Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology invests in high-quality research. The aim is to produce excellent, innovative, internationally known and impressive research data and new innovations that can be used in health care and society more broadly. The Faculty focuses on multidisciplinary research training in medicine, translational medicine, clinical medicine, molecular biology, biomedicine, biotechnology, bioinformatics, cell biology and systems biology. The Programme offers high-quality doctoral education and produces competitive research specialists and experts.

Health care structures are changing and, regardless of the way health care and its funding are organised, high-quality scientific research and doctoral training is needed to assure patient care, which requires medical expertise, developing novel diagnostic and therapeutic tools, and their evidence-based application. The objective of the Doctoral Programme in Medicine and Life Sciences is to develop innovative, high-quality and internationally renowned doctoral education and research to be applied in health care.

The Programme offers the following degree options: Doctor of Medical Science (MD), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Doctor of Health Sciences (DHSc). An intermediate degree of Licentiate of Philosophy (PhL) or Licentiate of Health Sciences is also an option.

Graduates from the Programme have smoothly transitioned to working life. The training also includes study modules on general professional skills, such as written and oral communication skills, and project management, problem solving and teamwork skills.

Degree earned

Doctor of Health Sciences
Doctor of Medical Science
Filosofian tohtori


Postgraduate degree

Planned duration

4 years

Extent of studies

240 ECTS




Kauppi Campus

Study objectives

The objective of sciectific doctoral education is that the student

  1. becomes well-versed in his/her own field of research and its social significance;
  2. gains knowledge and skills needed to apply scientific research methods independently and critically and to produce new scientific knowledge within his/her field of research;
  3. becomes conversant with the development, basic problems and research methods of his/her own field of research;
  4. gains such knowledge of the general theory of science and of other disciplines relating to his/her own field of research as enables him/her to follow developments in them;
  5. achieves sufficient communication and language skills as well as other abilities that are necessary in order to function in the working life in broad and demanding expert and development positions and in international corporation.

(Section 21 of the Government Decree on University Degrees 1039/2013).

Study contents

Doctoral Programme in Medicine and Life Sciences focuses on multidisciplinary research training in medicine, translational medicine, clinical medicine, molecular biology, biomedicine, biotechnology, bioinformatics, cell biology and systems biology. The programme offers high quality doctoral level education and produces competitive research specialists and experts, who, after completing doctoral studies, are able to meet the needs of working life.

A student can complete one of the following degrees in the Doctoral Programme of Medicine and Life Science in the scientific fields available at the faculty: Doctor of Philosophy, Doctor of Health Sciences or Doctor of Medicine. As an intermediate degree students may choose from: Licentiate of Philosophy and Licentiate of Health Sciences.


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 of Medicine and Life Sciences 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

All three doctoral degrees (240 ECTS) offered at MED consist of the following parts:

  • Doctoral courses approved by the student's lead supervisor, 30 ECTS
  • Doctoral dissertation and its public defence, 210 ECTS
Carefully read through the admissions requirements before applying. For additional questions on applying, application documents and application process, please contact met.doc.tau@tuni.fi.

Doctoral Programme in Medicine and Life Sciences
Continuous doctoral admission, spring 2019
January - June 2019

Eligibility criteria

Doctor of Philosophy
For doctoral studies leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree, the faculty may admit applicants who have

  1. earned a Master's degree in Finland
  2. earned a Master's degree or a corresponding degree in a country other than Finland
  3. demonstrated their knowledge in some other way.

Doctor of Medical Science
For doctoral studies leading to the Doctor of Medical Science degree, the faculty may admit applicants who hold the Finnish degree of Licentiate in Medicine or a corresponding degree from an institution of higher education abroad.

Doctor of Health Sciences
For doctoral studies leading to the Doctor of Health Sciences degree, the faculty may admit applicatns who hold the Finnish degree of Master of Health Sciences or a corresponding degree from an institution of higher education abroad.

Licentiate of Philosophy
According to section 23 of the Government Decree on University Degrees (794/2004), a doctoral student may apply for the licentiate degree after he/she has completed the postgraduate studies required for a licentiate degree as determined by the University. An integral part of the licentiate degree is the licentiate thesis, through which the student must demonstrate that he/she is well-versed in his/her own research field and can apply research methods independently and critically.

Students take the same number of doctoral courses for the licentiate degree and the doctoral degree.

The faculty issues more specific admissions criteria and selects the students to be admitted.

Admission procedure

The Scientific Post-Graduate Committee assesses the ability and commitment of doctoral students on the basis of the following principles:

  • The innovativeness of the research topic, the realism and clarity of the research plan, and the feasibility of their implementation
  • The suitability of the research topic in the doctoral programme
  • The scientific and practical relevance of the research topic
  • The student's success at undergraduate and graduate level
  • The student's methodological and theoretical abilities
  • The student's international competence and the language proficiency necessary to complete the doctoral programme
  • The availability of competent supervision

If the committee considers it necessary, it may assess the level of promise and motivation demonstrated by the applicant by interviewing him/her.

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

How to apply

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

Each postgraduate student must choose a field of study for their dissertation or licentiate thesis and find a supervisor (a professor or docent) from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology. Together with the supervisor, the student should also propose members for the dissertation follow-up group.

After finding a Supervisor, the applicant must

  • Gain approval from the Supervisor (or Supervisors) for a research plan, a tentative study plan, and for the actual application form for a right to study.
  • Ask the Professor (or person in charge) of the field of study in question to sign the application form.
  • Submit the application form and its enclosures to the Scientific Postgraduate Committee for assessment via the electronic application system (Studyinfo.fi).

The following documents must be attached to the online application in Stufyinfo.fi

  • Application form for the right to study, signed by the Professor (or the person in charge) of the field of study and the Supervisor/s
  • Research plan
  • Postgraduate study planinstructions
  • List of publications
  • Statements from the Ethics Committee and/or the Laboratory Animal Committee or an explanation why such a statement is not necessary
  • Copies of degree certificates or transcripts of previous academic work. The applicant must also present the original certificates at the Faculty. This enclosure is not necessary if the degree was completed in a Finnish university.
  • A copy of the applicant's passport ID page. This is not required if the applicant has previously studied at Tampere University.
  • Follow-up group members agreements (2-3 expert members who hold a doctoral degree)

Research plan

A research plan of 3 to 5 pages must be enclosed to the application for completing a scientific postgraduate degree and registrating the doctoral dissertation/licentiate thesis. The research plan must have the acceptance of the main supervisor and the follow-up group. The research plan should cover the entire dissertation/thesis project. If the subject of the dissertation/thesis or the mode of completion (e.g. from an article-based dissertation with articles published separately to a monograph) changes substantially, a new research plan should be submitted for approval to the Scientific Postgraduate Committee of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology.

1. Title of the study

2. Background of the study 

A short summary of the background of the study with relevant references.

3. Aims of the study 
The aims should be defined and presented clearly (e.g. overall and detailed objectives). Different components of the sub-aims should be connected to each other.

4. Subjects and methods 
A general, relevant description of the methods, study design, animals, patient data and statistics. Remember to consider the following points:

  • Choice of methods and their justification
  • Description of methods: explain the principle instead of technical details
  • Description and justification for the use of animals
  • Number of patients/study subjects and selection criteria
  • Data sources (e.g. measurements, case histories, registers) and method of data collection (prospective, retrospective)
  • Variables used in analysis: response variable, independent variables, confounding variables
  • Sample size and sample size rationale, preferably statistical power analysis and expected number of response events or expected distribution of response magnitude and the magnitude of the significant difference in biological/clinical/public health terms
  • Description of statistical operations (methods, randomization, validity, sample sizes etc.)
  • Qualitative research designs described according to the respective methodological principles

5. Implementation of the study 
Type of dissertation (monograph or article-based dissertation)
Division into sub-studies and a description of problem formulation/content

6. Timetable of the study 
A timetable of the different phases of the study and a publication plan

7. Ethical considerations 
Does the study require a permission from the Ethics Committee or from the Laboratory Animal Committee?

8. References 
Most important/essential references of the study field. The list of references must cover the references used in detail.


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 languags 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 doctoral programme processes applications regularly every month apart from July. Applicants are notified of the decision by the end of the month. If the application or its enclosures are imcomplete, the processing of the application may be deferred to the following month. 

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, Registry (Kirjaamo), 33014 Tampere University, Finland.

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 doctoral programme, you must accept the study place electronically through the link in your email notification. If you cannot accept the study place electronically, you must fill in and deliver the confirmation form to Tampere University by email or by post.

The confirmation must reach Tampere University by the 15th of the following month at 15.00 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 doctoral 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. If the previous studies have been completed in Finnish university, Tampere University is able to confirm the degree electronically.

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.