Doctoral Programme in Philosophy

Degree: Doctor of Philosophy

Duration: 4 years

Extent: 240 ECTS

When to apply: April / October

Start date: Aug 1 / Jan 1

Tuition fee: none

Programme web page

The programme aims to thoroughly familiarise students with philosophy, in particular with the subject of their independent dissertation, which will also give them experience in conducting research in their field.

At the University of Tampere, the current fields of expertise are

  • research of human reason (including knowledge, mind and language)
  • social philosophy
  • metaphysics (including social ontology)
  • history of philosophy from early modern and modern philosophy till twentieth century traditions

The research aims to encourage interaction between various approaches (analytic, continental, pragmatistic). 

Creating national and international networks and making use of them in research practices is an important part of the postdoctoral education in philosophy. The doctoral programme has close national and international connections.

The programme ensures that its graduates are equipped with sufficient general working life skills and that they can work 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).



General eligibility and assessment criteria

Programme-specific requirements and assessment criteria

The prerequisite for admission to postgraduate studies is a Master’s degree completed in Finland, or a corresponding degree (M.A., M.Sc.) completed at a foreign institution of higher education.

The major subject included in the applicant’s Master’s degree or equivalent should be the same as the prospective major subject of the Doctor’s degree including a thesis or, alternatively, the applicant should have completed corresponding advanced studies in that particular subject.

The professor of the prospective major subject decides on the correspondence of the applicant’s former studies.

The applicant’s capacity and suitability for doctoral studies are assessed by using the following criteria:

  • Scientific quality and relevance of the research plan and the preliminary study plan. Feasibility of the research plan
  • Suitability of the previous studies and the research topic from the point of view of the doctoral programme
  • Availability of supervisors and their expertise on the topic
  • The applicant’s knowledge and skills; the grade of the Master’s thesis and the language skills needed to complete the Doctoral degree
  • The potential and motivation of the applicant.

The resources that the Faculty of Social Sciences has for organising the doctoral education and supervision are also taken into account. The Faculty may limit the number of students due to a lack of resources and staff; thus, all applicants cannot be accepted.

Language requirements

For students planning to study in English, the following scores are required:

  • TOEFL, Test of English as a Foreign Language - Minimum score: 90/Internet-based, 575/paper-based; When filling out the TOEFL Registration Form, please give the University of Tampere Institution Code: 9871.
  • IELTS Academic, International English Language Testing System - Minimum score: 6.5 with no individual score below 5.5;  electronic test results only from the organiser, paper copies of the test score from the test organiser or the applicant. Electronic test scores are accepted only when they are made available to the University of Tampere (UTA) online by the test organiser. Please indicate on the IELTS registration form that the University of Tampere (UTA) is able to verify the score electronically. The testing centre will then make your IELTS score available to UTA. It usually takes at least 13 days for the results to be published after you have taken the IELTS test.
  • PTE, Academic English Language Proficiency test by Pearson - Minimum score: 62; online test result sent from the PTE score report website.

Applicants who have done their Master's studies and obtained their Master's degree in English in one of the following countries are exempt from the language test: Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. 

Also the students who have taken their Master's studies at the University of Tampere are exempt from the language test. It is advisable to also attach other certificates of any further language tests to the application, especially of language tests in Finnish, Swedish, German or French.

Admission to the programme

Before preparing and submitting the application, the applicant should contact the professor in charge of the prospective major subject in order to find out whether the applicant’s research topic fits into the research profile of the Faculty.

Applicants for doctoral degree are required to  complete an electronic application form.

Please see the instructions for applying for the doctoral study right in the electronic application system. We strongly recommend to avoid last minute submission of the application.

The applicant can state his or her wish for the supervisor in the application form.

The applicant must provide detailed information on the following points:

  • Certified copies of university diplomas and other information on academic background. Certificates related to academic and educational background, an official transcript of the university records as well as an official English translation of the Master’s degree certificate. The curriculum of the prior studies is to be attached to the application.
  • A full copy of the Master’s thesis in English, or upon agreement in some other language, in which case an English abstract is required.
  • A research proposal for the licentiate thesis or the doctoral dissertation (please see the instructions on writing the research plan above).
  • Certificates of language skills (please see below).
  • Preliminary study plan (please see the curricula of the doctoral programmes).

The research plan should include the following information:

  • The goals of the research
  • A short review of previous research and its connection to the topic of the research plan
  • Theoretical and methodological premises / key concepts
  • Research questions and possible hypotheses
  • Research methods, data and ethical questions
  • Realisation: timetable, funding plan, possible research group and research co-operation
  • The intended type of the dissertation (a monograph, a dissertation based on articles in scientific journals) and its language
  • A list of references.

The recommended length of the research plan is five to eight (5–8) pages (Times New Roman 12p).

When assessing the research plan, the suitability of the topic for the research profile of the discipline is taken into consideration, as well as the resources within the discipline.

The right to study is granted for a Doctor’s degree, but it is also possible to complete the corresponding Licentiate’s degree only.


Contact Information

Questions on applying:
Head of Study Affairs
+358 40 190 9844

Professor in charge:
Professor Arto Laitinen
+358 50 318 7018