University of Oulu, 2019

Requirements and process for admission

Requirements for admission

Each doctoral student must have a principal supervisor who commits to the supervision of the student’s doctoral training. Each student is responsible for finding and contacting an appropriate principal supervisor affiliated with a research unit of the University of Oulu. Without a supervisor and his/her signed commitment letter, the study rights will not be granted. The applicant and the principal supervisor must ensure that the research site has all needed resources (supervision and other resources) for applicant’s doctoral training.

The applicant has completed a relevant Master of Science degree, or an equivalent degree giving eligibility for corresponding university studies in the country that issued the degree.
The Doctoral Training Committee evaluates the validity of the previous degree for doctoral training, taking into account the major skills required. If the applicant plans to undertake doctoral studies in any other field, he/she may be required to follow bridging studies considered necessary to start in the chosen major subject (see below). 

The above-mentioned degree must have been completed with good grades (at least 60% of maximum grade, or 3/5, in both taught studies and the Master’s thesis)
In exceptional cases where the applicant's grades obtained for the Master's degree (or equivalent) do not meet the requirements for admission to UniOGS, it may be possible to compensate for the insufficient grades. The conditions and procedure for compensating insufficient grades acquired for the previous degree can be found here.

If the applicant has a Master's degree in a relevant field from a University of Applied Sciences, either from Finland or abroad, the prerequisites for admission and the capabilities for successful doctoral training will be examined case-by-case, dependent upon the applicant and the major subject. In this case, the applicant's grades must be excellent (at least 80 % of the maximum score for both the taught studies and the thesis).

Depending on the applicant’s academic background and experience, the granting the doctoral study rights may also require complementary university-level studies, or “bridging studies”, up to a maximum of 60 ECTS credits, which must be completed with good grades (at least 60% of the maximum score). The Doctoral Training Committee approves the applicant’s study plan for the bridging studies, which are proposed by the principal supervisor and the doctoral degree programme director. If the latter are the same person, the doctoral degree programme director will be substituted by another expert appointed by the chairperson of the Doctoral Training Committee. If more than 60 credits of bridging studies are deemed to be necessary in order to undertake the doctoral training, the applicant will be directed to apply for study rights to complete an appropriate Master's degree at the university-level before applying for the doctoral study rights from the graduate school.

An applicant with a Bachelor’s degree may be admitted to the Graduate School to undertake doctoral studies, if the applicant has at least a Bachelor of Medicine or Dentistry, is a student of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Oulu, and is doing research in a research group (only applicable for applicants aiming to pursue a degree of Doctor of Medical Science, or of Dental Science).

Language skills

All applicants must possess sufficient language skills sufficient to follow doctoral studies. The teaching languages ​​at the University of Oulu are Finnish and English. All applicants, who have not completed a secondary or higher education degree in the Finnish language, must demonstrate that they possess sufficient English and/or Finnish language skills with one of the following options:

  • Bachelor or Master degree taught in English;
  • 20 ECTS credits of studies conducted in English in a higher education institution in Finland;
  • Certificate of English language proficiency by Finnish NBE (skill levels 5 in reading, writing, listening & speaking);
  • IELTS score (minimum 6.5, with a minimum of 5.5 in each section; Academic module only);
  • Pearson Test of English (minimum 62, with minimum of 52 in writing section; PTE Academic only);
  • Cambridge ESOL's Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE), or of Advanced English (CAE) (grades A, B or C);
  • TOEFL PBT 580 (with a minimum of 4.5 in the Test of Written English, TWE);
  • TOEFL iBT 92 (with a minimum of 20 in Writing section);
  • TOEFL rPDT (Revised Paper-delivered Test) with a minimum score of 20 in the reading section, a minimum score of 20 in the listening section, a minimum score of 22 in the writing section;
  • Statements of skills from the proposed principal supervisor and one independent scientist (anglophone or equivalent language skills) at Oulu University, based on interview.

Please read the following sections very carefully

Submission of applications for admission to UniOGS

All candidates applying for admission to the Graduate School must fill in and submit the application form and provide all the requested support documents before the close of the call.

Applications for admission to the University of Oulu Graduate School [UniOGS] are filled in and submitted online, through the centralized admissions system of the Finnish National Board of Education, Studyinfo.

Applications are submitted during two separate four-month call periods each year:

•                         Call 1: 1 January - 30 April, and

•                         Call 2: 1 July - 31 October.

New applications cannot be submitted outside of the two four-month call periods.

New applications submitted during the call periods will be processed at each of the monthly meetings of the Doctoral Training Committees, from January – May (Call 1; 5 meetings) and from August – November (Call 2; 4 meetings).

Applications submitted during each call period, but for which the DTC request further information, will also be processed in the June (Call 1) and December (Call 2) DTC meetings, respectively.

In order to be processed at one of the monthly Doctoral Training Committee meetings, new applications and revised applications must be submitted at least 14 days before the date of the meeting.

Applications that have not been accepted before the next call period opens (or if the applicant has not accepted the study place within 10 days following a positive decision by the Dean to grant the study rights) will be removed from the admissions system and the applicant will need to submit a complete new application in order to be considered again for admission to the graduate school.

Granting, acceptance and the start of the doctoral study rights

Depending upon the date of submission of the application by the applicant, it may take one – two months before the decision to grant the study rights is made by the Dean of the graduate school.

The applicant must confirm his/her acceptance of the study rights in the online Admissions system within 10 days after the decision to grant the study rights has been received (instructions for this will be provided with the decision).

The doctoral study rights will start when the applicant has confirmed their acceptance in the online Admissions system.

Following the acceptance of the doctoral study rights by the applicant

Students who are admitted to the graduate school will receive further information about the next steps to be taken from the graduate school at that time, using the contact information provided in the application form.

Foreign students are responsible for making their own arrangements to obtain visas, work permits etc. Links to further information on how to proceed with these formalities can be found on the UniOGS web pages.

In the event that a candidate is granted doctoral study rights and is admitted to UniOGS, the study rights may be revoked (withdrawn) if the student:

  1. Has a work contract with the University of Oulu that is dependent upon a trial period and the latter has not been completed successfully. The graduate school must be informed of the successful completion of the trial period within one month after the official end of the trial period.
  2. Fails to present to the graduate school, within 6 months after the granting of the study rights, the authentic original copies of diplomas and other documents referring to previous degrees obtained from institutions other than the University of Oulu, and demonstrating that the academic and language skills requirements for admission to the graduate school have been met.
  3. Fails to complete, within one year after the granting of the study rights, any “bridging studies” that may have been required as a condition for admission to the doctoral degree programme.


Last updated: 9.1.2020