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PhD in Finland 2024: Scope, Universities & Scholarships

Updated on 02 April, 2024

Neha Uppal

Neha Uppal

Sr. Content editor

Universities in Finland are renowned not just for their world-class education but also for their generous educational policies that make the education affordable for students regardless of their nationality. Did you know you can pursue your PhD in Finland for free? Not only this, the students also get stipends to cover their living costs. Known for its prowess in research and development (R&D) globally, the country offers PhD programs in various domains that allow you to work with the leading academics in your field and engage in groundbreaking research. 

In this article, we have formulated an ultimate guide to pursuing a PhD in Finland, including the scope of PhD, specializations offered, admission requirements, top universities, career prospects, and much more.

Scope of PhD in Finland

  • Finland offers a unique and enriching experience for students pursuing higher education, particularly a doctorate degree. The Finnish education system is known for its high-quality education, top universities in Finland for PhD, innovative teaching methods, and research-oriented approach. Doctoral studies in Finland are structured to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of their field of study, including theoretical and practical knowledge.
  • Students are encouraged to take ownership of their research projects, develop critical thinking skills, and contribute to the academic community. Doctoral studies in Finland usually take four years to complete, and students during the program are expected to deliver a doctoral thesis based on their research.
  • Studying for a PhD degree gives access to the finest research facilities and equipment. Finnish universities in Finland for PhD are well-funded and equipped with modern technology, providing students with the resources to conduct their research effectively. The multicultural environment and welcoming community also make it an ideal place for international students.
  • Another interesting aspect of pursuing the PhD from Finland is that there is no tuition cost involved. 

Specializations Offered in PhD in Finland

There is a wide range of specializations in various fields of study PhD in Finland. Some of the popular disciplines include:


Pursuing a PhD in Engineering in Finland will allow you to work with some of the leading engineers in the world. Universities in Finland for PhD offer specializations in fields such as Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering.


A PhD in Business in Finland will provide you with the opportunity to work with leading academics in the field. Finnish universities offer specializations in fields such as Marketing, Management, and Finance.

Computer Science

Finland is home to the leading computer science programs in the world. Pursuing a PhD in Computer Science in Finland allows you to work with experts in the field and contribute to groundbreaking research.


Universities in Finland for PhD offer specializations in fields such as Educational Psychology, Educational Leadership, and Curriculum Studies. Pursuing a PhD in Education in Finland offers you the prospect of working with top academics in the field and contributing to the education system's development.

Social Sciences

Finland has the top Social Science programs in the world. Getting a PhD in Social Sciences in Finland allows you to collaborate with specialists in the field and conduct unexplored research.

Natural Sciences

PhD programs in Finland in Natural Sciences focus on chemistry, physics, and mathematics research. Students in these programs undertake independent research, attend seminars and workshops, and publish their research in academic journals.

Top 5 Universities in Finland for PhD

Finland has several top-ranked universities offering PhD programs. Here are the top 5 universities in Finland for PhD based on the QS World University Rankings, their specializations, and the average tuition fees for a PhD.


QS World University Rankings 2023*


University of Helsinki



PhD in Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Health and Medicine, Humanities

Aalto University


PhD in Technology and Engineering, Business and Management, Arts and Design 

University of Oulu


PhD in Natural Sciences

Tampere University


PhD in Arts and Humanities

University of Turku


PhD in Social Sciences, Humanities, Health and Medicine, Natural Sciences 

Source: *topuniversities.com, **university official website

PhD in Finland for International Students: Admission Requirements for 2023 

The admission requirements for a PhD in Finland vary depending on the university and the field of study.

General Requirements for PhD in Finland:

  • A master's degree or equivalent in a related field of study
  • Proof of English language proficiency (TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent)
  • Letters of recommendation from academic referees
  • A statement of purpose outlining your academic goals and research interests

Documents for PhD in Finland Application

  • Application form (hardcopy or softcopy as per the requirement of the university/ college)
  • Transcripts of records
  • Upper secondary-level educational documents
  • Degree certificates/ officially certified copies awarded by the main university
  • Score reports of IELTS/ TOEFL/ PTE/ Cambridge Proficiency
  • Score reports of SAT/ GRE/ GMAT
  • CV/Resume
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Essay
  • Other documents such as portfolio/ sample work, etc.
  • Proof of finances
  • Medical tests

The application process for PhD programs in Finland involves the following steps:

  1. Find the universities and PhD programs in Finland you are interested in.
  2. Check the admission requirements and application deadlines for each program.
  3. Prepare your application materials, including transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a research proposal.
  4. Submit your application materials online or by mail.
  5. Wait for the university to inform you of their decision.

The application deadline varies depending on the university and the field of study PhD in Finland.

Scholarships for PhD in Finland

There are various scholarships available for PhD in Finland for Indian students and international students pursuing a PhD in Finland. Scholarships offer financial assistance to students and can help cover tuition fees, living expenses, and research costs. Here are the top scholarships for PhD in Finland:

CIMO Fellowships

The CIMO Fellowships are awarded by the Finnish National Agency for Education to pursue a doctoral degree in Finland. The scholarship covers the living expenses and provides a monthly allowance of €900 to €1200.

 To be eligible for the CIMO Fellowships, students must submit a complete CV, a motivation letter, and a short research plan (between 2 and 5 pages). They will also have to send out two printed and signed copies of the application form with the required attachments.

University of Helsinki Doctoral Program Scholarships

The University of Helsinki offers several doctoral program scholarships to both domestic and PhD in Finland for Indian students and international students. As part of the national Finland Scholarship program, the University of Helsinki awards Finland Scholarships that cover 100% of tuition fee and also includes a €5000 relocation grant. Students must have an acceptance letter from the University of Helsinki to apply.

EDUFI Fellowships

The EDUFI Fellowships are awarded by the Finnish National Agency for Education to pursue doctoral studies or research in Finland. The scholarship covers living expenses, travel costs, and insurance and provides a monthly allowance of €19,00 per month. To be eligible for the EDUFI Fellowships, students must have a Master’s degree, be proficient in English, and have a research proposal that aligns with the research interests of a Finnish university.

Aalto University School of Business Doctoral Scholarships

The Aalto University School of Business offers several doctoral scholarships to highly qualified international students. The scholarship is awarded as a tuition fee waiver. PhD in Finland for Indian students must have a research proposal and an acceptance letter from the Aalto University School of Business to apply.

Career Prospects After Completing PhD in Finland

Completing a PhD in Finland can open up various career opportunities, both in academia and industry. Here are the top career prospects for PhD graduates in Finland:

Career Prospect

Job Description


Average Salary


Research Scientist

Research scientists conduct research in their field of expertise, publish research papers, and teach students. 



Postdoctoral researcher

Postdoctoral researchers conduct research under the supervision of a principal investigator, publish research papers, and mentor graduate students. 


Data Scientist

Data scientists analyze complex data, build predictive models, and develop algorithms. 



IT Consultant

IT Consultants provide expert advice to organizations in the technology field.


Source: Payscale


Pursuing a PhD in Finland can be a rewarding experience academically and professionally. The country’s high-quality education system, supportive academic environment, and ample research opportunities make it an ideal destination for international students seeking to advance their education and career prospects. If you are considering a PhD in Finland, explore the universities in Finland for PhD requirements, scholarships, and funding opportunities available. With the right preparation and research, you can unlatch the doors to a successful academic and professional future in the ‘Land of a Thousand Lakes.’

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Indian students apply for PhD programs in Finland?

Yes, Indian students can apply for PhD programs in Finland. However, they must meet the same academic and language proficiency requirements as other international students.

Which universities in Finland offer PhD programs?

Many universities in Finland offer PhD programs across various fields, including the University of Helsinki, Aalto University, University of Turku, and Tampere University, among others.

Is it difficult to secure funding for a PhD in Finland?

While funding opportunities for PhD students in Finland can be competitive, many scholarships and grants are available to help support international students pursuing a PhD in Finland. It is important to research and apply for funding opportunities early to increase your chances.

Neha Uppal

Sr. Content editor

Neha Uppal is a passionate content creator and editor. She carries 7.5+ years of experience working with leading edutech companies where she worked as a Faculty, Community Manager, and Content Marketeer. At upGrad, she is helping out people keep informed about the scopes and opportunities of studying abroad via informational articles/blogs.

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