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General HICT Call FAQ

Application process

The HICT Summer call 2022 includes a number of doctoral student positions in specific research projects by several HICT professors and researchers. If you wish to be considered as a potential new doctoral student in HICT, please read the instructions and FAQ below and fill in an online application form. You can apply directly to one or multiple research projects. All the supervisors you indicate on your application form will be informed of your interest, and others also have access to your application documents.

How are the applications submitted?

Applications need to be submitted through the online electronic application system of Aalto University. Applications sent through any other means will not be processed.

What are the compulsory attachments?

All materials should be submitted in English in a PDF format. Note: files should be 5MB max. You can upload multiple files to the eRecruitment system, each 5MB.

  1. Letter of motivation (max. one page). Please describe your background and future plans, and in particular the reasons for selecting the project(s) (you can get more information on the projects and supervisors through their web pages). Try to make your motivation letter as convincing as possible, so that the potential supervisors get interested. You do not have to write several motivation letters in case you apply for multiple projects, but if you prefer you can attach separate letters for individual projects.
  2. A curriculum vitae and list of publications with complete study and employment history (please see an example CV at Europass pages)
  3. A study transcript provided by the applicant’s university that lists studies completed and grades achieved.
  4. A copy of the M.Sc. degree certificate. In the Finnish university system, a person must have a Master’s degree in order to enroll for doctoral studies. If the degree is still pending, then a plan for its completion must be provided. (The letter describing the completion plan can be free-format)
  5. Contact details of possible referees from 2-3 senior academic people. We will contact your referees, if recommendation letters are required.

Who is eligible to apply?

The HICT calls are targeted to prospective new doctoral students who are willing to start their doctoral studies in Aalto University or University of Helsinki under one of the HICT supervisors. Current doctoral students in Aalto University or University of Helsinki cannot participate in this call. While all applicants who have submitted an application by the deadline will be appropriately considered, Aalto University and the University of Helsinki reserve the right to consider also other candidates for the announced positions.

If you become selected as a new HICT doctoral student, you need to apply for a study right for doctoral studies either at Aalto University or the University of Helsinki. Your new supervisor will assist you with the application. HICT itself does not award doctoral study rights or doctoral degrees. All doctoral students within the HICT network are doctoral students of either Aalto University or the University of Helsinki.

Do I need a Master’s degree?

In the Finnish university system, a person must have a Master’s degree in order to enroll for doctoral studies. In case you wish to pursue graduate studies with a B.Sc. background, please apply first to one of the participating units’ Master’s programmes (Aalto University School of Science (SCI) or School of Electrical Engineering (ELEC), and University of Helsinki). A number of these programmes provide special “doctoral tracks” with some financial support and study plans oriented towards continuing to doctoral education after the M.Sc. degree.

What are the language requirements?

A successful applicant must have an excellent command of Finnish, Swedish, or English. The universities participating in HICT have strict language skills requirements for doctoral students (Aalto University, University of Helsinki). International applicants applying for doctoral studies must demonstrate their proficiency in English. For example, an English language proficiency certificate (TOEFL, IELTS, CAE/CPE) is required later in case you will proceed to the recruitment process and apply for a doctoral study right.

Only the following applicant groups can be exempted from the language test requirement: applicants who have completed a higher education degree:

  1. taught in Finnish, Swedish or English in a higher education institution in Finland.
  2. in an English-medium programme at a higher education institution in an EU/EEA country, provided that all parts of the degree were completed in English.
  3. an English-medium higher education degree requiring a physical on-site presence at a higher education institution in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia or New Zealand.

More information on minimum language requirements and language test scores can be found at the programs doctoral programme information pages (Aalto Doctoral Programme in Science (SCI), Aalto Doctoral Programme in Electrical Engineering (ELEC), University of Helsinki) (see “Language requirements” and “demonstrating proficiency in English”). Please be prepared to check the eligibility requirements for doctoral studies and present additional documents in case you will proceed to the recruitment and apply for doctoral study right in Aalto University or University of Helsinki.

When will the interviews take place?

The top applicants will be invited for a remote interview in September and October. We will notify all applicants about the recruitment results in mid- to late- October.

Where can I find more information on doctoral studies?

Please find below some links with more detailed information about the eligibility requirements and doctoral studies in general at Aalto University and University of Helsinki:

Living and studying in Finland

For the Aalto Doctoral Programme in Science (SCI)

For the Aalto Doctoral Programme in Electrical Engineering (ELEC)

For the University of Helsinki

When does the funding period start?

The exact starting date can be negotiated between the student and the supervisor. The student must have completed his/her M.Sc. degree by the time of starting doctoral studies.

New students also need to go through the standard doctoral student enrolment process of the hosting university/school before the start of the funding period. The supervisors will help in this process, once the best candidates have been identified and linked to a supervisor.

How does the coronavirus situation affect the application process?

Please, note that the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation may constrain recruitments from abroad and thus affect exact starting dates. Due to the current situation also the process of selection and interviews is subject to change.

How long is the funding period?

The maximum length of the funding period is four years.

How much is the grant?

The exact amount of monthly salary depends on the stage of the doctoral studies and varies between 2,000 and 3,000 euros/month. The level of the salary is sufficient for a funded student to focus on his or her doctoral studies full-time, without the need to resort to other sources of income.

What are the duties and benefits of a doctoral student?

Funded doctoral students are typically hired as full-time employees for the duration of their doctoral studies. The contract includes the normal occupational health benefits of the employing university. Finland has a comprehensive social security system.

The annual total workload of research and teaching staff at Finnish universities is 1624 hours per year. In addition to doctoral studies, persons hired are expected to participate in the supervision of students and teaching, following the standard practices of the recruiting unit.

Where are the doctoral studies to take place?

Physically, the main work location is at the department of the supervisor. In the case of the departments at Aalto University, these are located at the Otaniemi campus while the Department of Computer Science at the University of Helsinki is located at the Kumpula Science Campus. The joint research institute, Helsinki Institute for Information Technology (HIIT), coordinates the activities of HICT operates on both campuses.

Both campuses are easily reachable from Helsinki city centre by public transportation. Visit to find out more information about public transportation in the capitol region.

The Otaniemi and Kumpula campuses are only approximately 10 kilometres apart from one another, and the participating departments often collaborate in research and education. For doctoral students, collaboration is coordinated through the HICT network. It is very easy administratively to incorporate courses from the other university as part of a doctoral degree in the other university. HICT also organises joint seminars, lecture series, workshops and other events for its students.

If I come to study in Helsinki, do I need to learn Finnish?

No: the working environment of doctoral students is highly international, and the working language is English. You can normally also cope in English outside work as most Finns have a very good command of English.

What is it like to live and study in Finland?

Finland is among the best countries in the world with respect to education and many quality of life indicators. Both HICT partner universities (Aalto University and the University of Helsinki) have a wide range of courses offered in English. Boasting the largest technology hub of the Nordic countries, Finland is a world leader in information technology, business, design and many other academically centred fields.

Read more about living and studying in Finland.

Problems with the application?

Please first read all the above material carefully, and if your problem is still unsolved, only then send email to HICT coordinator:

Please note that our reply may take longer than usual due to the holidays.