Degree programme

Doctoral Programme in Philosophy



The aim of the Doctoral Programme in Philosophy is to thoroughly familiarise students with philosophy, in particular with the subject of their independent dissertation, which also gives them experience in conducting research in their field.

At Tampere University, the current fields of expertise in philosophy include research of human reason (including knowledge, mind and language), social philosophy, metaphysics (including social ontology), and history of philosophy from early modern and modern philosophy to 20th century traditions.

Creating national and international networks and making use of them in research practices is an important part of doctoral education. The Doctoral Programme in Philosophy – which has close national and international connections – ensures that its graduates are equipped with sufficient general working life skills and for working in co-operation with other disciplines as well as are capable of conducting high-quality research in philosophy and providing instruction on the basis of their research.

Graduates from this programme are employed in research, teaching, public relations and the publishing sector, and as experts required to conceive broad contexts (e.g. as specialists in science administration).

Degree earned

Filosofian tohtori


Postgraduate degree

Planned duration

4 years

Extent of studies

240 ECTS




Central Campus

Study objectives

The Government Decree on University Degrees (794/2004) regulates lower and higher academic degrees as well as scientific and artistic postgraduate degrees.

According to Section 21 of the Decree, the aim of postgraduate education is that the student:

  • becomes well-versed in his/her own field of research and its social significance and 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;
  • becomes conversant with the development, basic problems and research methods of his/her own field of research;
  • 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.

The aim of postgraduate studies is to provide doctoral researchers with the capabilities to successfully serve society in the role of a researcher, teacher or other type of expert.

A doctoral researcher must become well-versed his/her special field but also obtain a broad view of health sciences in general. The purpose of doctoral education is to adopt scientific thinking, internalise good scientific practices and master the diverse skills of a researcher.

Study contents

In the Doctoral Programme in Philosophy, the doctoral degree can be completed in the field of Philosophy.

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. 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

The Doctoral Programme in Philosophy (240 ECTS)

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

The doctoral programme in Philosophy consists of three modules as follows:

  1. Joint doctoral studies 20–30 ECTS
  2. Broad and profound knowledge of the student’s own discipline and research subject 30–40 ECTS
  3. 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.


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 School 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.

Research focus

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.doc.tau(a) Questions on research plans and prospective supervisors should be addressed to Professor in Charge of the Doctoral Programme Jani Hakkarainen (

Doctoral Programme in Philosophy
Doctoral Admission April 2019
1 - 30 April 2019

Eligibility criteria

Section 37 of the Finnish University Act (2009/558) defines eligibility for studies leading to a scientific or artistic postgraduate degree as follows:

An eligible person must have one of the following:

  1. an applicable higher university degree
  2. an applicable higher university of applied sciences degree or
  3. an applicable education completed abroad which in the awarding country gives eligibility for corresponding higher education.

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.

The Universities Act stipulates that a University may require a postgraduate student to complete supplementary courses to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to complete a postgraduate degree in the arts or sciences.

Language skill requirements

The Doctoral Programmes at the Faculty of Social Sciences follow mainly the general language requirements for academic English that have been set for international degree programmes at Tampere University. Thus, 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

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.

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

Previous studies

If you have one of the following, you do not need to submit a language test score:

A Master’s degree in completed in English language from a University in a EU/ EEA country, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom or the United States.


On the application rounds of 2019, the overall intake into Doctoral Programme in Philosophy is approximately 2-4 new students per academic year.

Admission procedure

The Scientific Postgraduate Committee 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 the research question, the realism and clarity of the research plan
  • The suitability of the research topic for the Doctoral Programme
  • The practical or theoretical relevance of the research in its own field
  • The realistic feasibility of the study plan
  • The applicant’s academic success at undergraduate and graduate level
  • The applicant’s methodological and theoretical abilities
  • The applicant’s language proficiency
  • The availability of competent supervision resources within the Faculty

The Scientific Postgraduate Committee may also assess the applicant’s level of suitability and motivation by interviewing him/her. 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.

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 Professor responsible for the Doctoral Programme / Doctoral 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 (Opintopolku).

The following documents must be attached to the online application in

  • Application form for the right to study signed by the Professor responsible for the Doctoral Programme and the Supervisor/s
  • Research plan (maximum 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 the University of Tampere (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 the University of Tampere.
  • 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)

Research plan

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 Professor in charge of the Doctoral Programme or Field of Study (and the follow-up group, if one has established) must recommend that the plan be considered by the Scientific Postgraduate Committee. The research plan should cover the entire dissertation/thesis.

1. Executive Summary (max. 1 page, no references)

2. Title of the study

In both Finnish and English

3. Background of the study

Includes a short overview that describes the topic of the study

4. Aims of the study

The aims should be confined and presented clearly (e.g. overall/detailed objectives)

5. Subjects and methods

The study material formation and justification of its size

Description of methods used for collection of data and data analyzing

6. Reporting of the study

Type of dissertation (a monograph or an article-based dissertation)

Division of sub-studies and description of study issues

7. Timetable of the study

A timetable presenting the different phases of the study

8. Ethical issues

Description of ethical aspects of the study and an estimate whether there is need for a statement by an ethical board

9. References

The list of references must be encompassing and versatile


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.

How to apply

The call for applications for the doctoral programme in philosophy 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 (local 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 . Please see more information at What is studyinfo?. Please note that after submitting your application you may receive requests for enclosures. A link to the application form is available during the application period.

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. Applicants are notified of the selection results by post.

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 University of Tampere, 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 degree programme, you must fill in and deliver the confirmation form you receive from Tampere University. 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 Registrar's 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.