PhD in Finland for International Students 2024: Scholarship, Online, Requirements, Salary

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phd in finland

Finland ranks #1 for its higher education according to the World Economic Forum. The North European country attracts students worldwide with its top-notch universities, cutting-edge research, and stunning natural beauty. So if you have made up your mind to pursue your research, this blog will be your one-stop guide to pursuing your PhD in Finland in 2024. We will look at the country’s top universities, best PhD programs, scholarships, entry requirements and application process. So, lace up your boots, prepare for an intellectual expedition, and let’s unravel the secrets of securing your dream PhD in Finland!

Types of PhDNational Doctoral Programmes (funded, multi-institutional) 
Standard Research PhD (tailor-made)
Tuition feesFree for all international students (including non-EU)
FundingNational Doctoral Programmes generally cover salary and research costs 
Standard Research PhD – depends on specific projects and supervisors 
Scholarships and grants available from national agencies and universities
Academic YearSeptember to June
Entry requirementsMaster’s degree (or equivalent) from a recognized institution 
Excellent academic record 
Research proposal and CV for Standard Research PhD
Duration4-5 years
Research areasScience, Technology, Social sciences, Humanities)

Also Read: Study in Finland for Indian Students 

Why Pursue a PhD in Finland in 2024?

Finland is one of the most popular choices for international students to pursue a PhD. The #1 reason is that Finnish universities don’t charge a dime for tertiary education from any of its learners, international or otherwise. Its capital is also one of the safest cities in the world, with its breathtaking natural beauty and high living standards for students. 

The majority of Finnish people speak English and the universities also offer numerous programs in the English language. Moreover, international students can extend their visas post studies to search for work. Let’s go ahead and explore the country’s top institutes offering research opportunities

Top Universities Offering PhD in Finland

Finland has 13 universities and 22 universities for applied sciences (UAS). The former offers PhD in Finland supporting academic research and providing higher study opportunities based on the same. The latter, however, carries out applied R&D in activities that promote a specific industry. Given below is the list of top institutes offering research

UniversityQS World Rankings 2024Specialization
Aalto University=109PhD in Technology and Engineering, Business and Management, Arts and Design 
University of Helsinki115PhD in Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, Health and Medicine, Humanities
University of Oulu=313PhD in Natural Sciences
University of Turku=315PhD in Social Sciences, Humanities, Health and Medicine, Natural Sciences 
Tampere University=436PhD in Arts and Humanities

Also Read: Study In Finland At The University of Helsinki

PhD in Finland: Program Structure

There are 2 types of PhD in Finland that students can enrol for a standard research PhD and a national doctorate program. In the national doctorate program, each discipline has an associated doctoral program across all the Finnish universities. These doctorates are generally fully funded. 

A standard research PhD, however, has a structure similar to a normal doctorate. You put a research proposal before a committee and pursue it independently by funding it yourself. 

The duration of a PhD in Finland is 4 years, with the academic year starting on 1 August and lasting until 31 July every year. Students usually have 2 semesters in autumn and spring, but they might have a third semester in the summer as well, depending on the course they are pursuing their doctorate in.

Tuition Fees and Funding

While the Bachelor and Masters programs might charge tuition fees from international (non-EU) students, PhD in Finland is currently tuition-free for all. But there are living expenses of EUR 700-1,250/month that students have to bear (varies for every Finnish city). There’s also a student union fee ranging from EUR 80-100 that doctoral candidates must pay to their institute. 

Also Read: Masters Programs in Finland

Scholarships for PhD in Finland

Even though PhD in Finland is completely free, there are some scholarships you can avail of as an international student to reduce your living costs there. Some of them are as follows with their eligibility and benefits:

Finnish National Agency for Education (EDUFI) Fellowships Open to PhD students from all nationalitiesEUR 1,900/month for 3-12 months
Fulbright GrantsFor US studentsEUR 1,000-1900/month for 9 months

Entry Requirements

To be eligible to pursue a PhD in Finland, students need to fulfil the following criteria. These are some general entry requirements that doctoral candidates must meet. For more program-specific information, you must check the university’s official website.

  1. A Masters degree (or equivalent) from a recognised institute.
  2. Language Proficiency tests: English (IELTS, TOEFL) or Finnish (YKI).

PhD in Finland without IELTS

Students can also pursue a PhD in Finland without IELTS through the following mediums:

  1. Previous degrees obtained from English-medium institutions.
  2. Standardized tests like TOEFL or PTE.
  3. Research publications or presentations in English.
  4. An interview in English by the university admissions committee.

Documents Required

Doctoral candidates need to have the following documents translated into Finnish and submitted during the application process for their PhD:

Also Read: Finland Student Visa

Application Process

Unlike other countries that advertise research projects, students must apply to a graduate school for a PhD in Finland. These schools offer multiple doctoral programs to students, who can choose a field of study to conduct their research. You should contact the university directly in advance to find out more about the programs they offer. After that, fill out the application form and submit it to the chosen institute along with the documents mentioned above.

Future Scope

Universities also fund students as doctoral candidates under a contract during their PhD in Finland. They receive a salary with social security benefits like other members of staff. In return, doctoral students assist the university by teaching undergraduates, demonstrating within labs or doing administrative work. Other roles and responsibilities are specified in the student’s contract and vary for each institute.


Q1. I am interested in a specific research area, but unsure which university in Finland offers the best program. What resources can I use to find the right fit?

Ans. You can find your perfect PhD program through these resources:
University websites
National research databases (TUTKAS) – lists ongoing research projects across the country.
Academic networks and societies

Q2. I am concerned about the language barrier. Is English sufficient for completing a PhD in Finland?

Ans. Although Finnish is the official language, the country offers most PhD programs in English, especially in science and technology fields. Universities often offer intensive Finnish language courses for international students who wish to learn the language during their studies. However, some humanities and social science programs require Finnish proficiency due to the nature of their research.

Q3. Can I work part-time while pursuing a PhD in Finland?

Ans. Yes, international students in Finland can legally work part-time (up to 25 hours per week) during their studies. This is a great way to gain practical experience, supplement your income, and blend into Finnish society. Universities often have student job boards or career centres that can assist you in finding suitable part-time work opportunities.

Related Reads:

Study in Finland for Indian StudentsFinland Student Visa Permits, Fees, Process & More
Top Courses to Study in Finland 2024Study In Finland At The University of Helsinki
Why Finland’s Education System is the Best in the World? All You Need to Know About Part-Time Jobs in Finland for International Students

We hope that you got a complete understanding of pursuing a PhD in Finland as an international student in this blog. Stay tuned to Leverage Edu to explore more courses and destinations to study abroad. Thank you for reading!

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