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General HICT Call FAQ

Application process

The HICT Summer call 2021 includes a number of doctoral student positions in specific research projects by several HICT professors and researchers listed below. 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.

The application form closes on August 16, 2021 at midnight Finnish time (23:59 EET, Eastern European Time).

What are the compulsory attachments?

Please submit your attachments as single pdf file containing (all documents in English):

  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. 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. Please, provide names, positions, affiliations, and e-mail addresses of 2-3 senior academic people available for providing recommendation letters upon request from HICT. We will contact you and the recommenders separately afterwards, if and when 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 in Aalto University or 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 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 or 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 or 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 Master programmes admission webpage (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.

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:

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. We also understand that there can be difficulties or delays in getting the required language proficiency certificates.

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/her doctoral studies full-time, without 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, and Finland has a comprehensive social security system.

The annual total workload of research and teaching staff at Finnish universities is 1624 hours. 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 case of the Aalto departments, these are located at the Otaniemi campus while the Department of Computer Science of University of Helsinki is located at the Kumpula Science Campus. The joint research institute HIIT that coordinates the activities of HICT operates on both campuses.

Both campuses are easily reachable from Helsinki city centre by public transportation.

The distance between Otaniemi and Kumpula is only some 10 kilometres, and the participating departments collaborate frequently in research and education (in doctoral education through the HICT network). It is administratively very easy 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.

More information for international applicants:

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 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: hict-apply@hiit.fi

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