Admission to doctoral studies

This page provides you with information about admission to the doctoral programmes in the Faculty of Social Sciences. Admission requirements may differ depending on the programme or speciality in question. In addition to admission requirements and conditions, this page also provides information regarding currently active open calls in doctoral studies.

Starting from the academic year 2022/2023, the Faculty of Social Sciences will have two doctoral programmes with nine specialities. The Social Sciences programme enrolls doctoral students for sociology, media and communication, political science, psychology, economics, business administration, and law. The Educational Sciences programme provides the options of educational science and science education. 

Learn more about the necessary documents and different stages of applying for doctoral studies

 

Applying for doctoral studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences in the autumn of the 2022/2023 academic year 

  • November 1: more detailed information about admissions becomes available on the homepage 
  • November 15 - November 30: time to submit your application 
  • December 15: last admissions decisions 
  • February 6: date of immatriculation 

See open calls

Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences

Doctoral Programme in Educational Sciences

 

Programme admission requirements and evaluation criteria

 

General admission requirements:

  • doctoral thesis project
  • admission interview

In the first stage of assessment, the doctoral thesis project will be assessed. The second stage of assessment is interview-based. 

Both the doctoral thesis project and the admissions interview are assessed on a scale of 0 to 50 points, the minimum positive score for both is 35 points. Each component gives 50% of your overall score with a maximum overall score of 100 points. If you score at least 35 points out of 50 for the thesis proposal, you will be invited to the interview.

 

Speciality admission requirements

The requirements for the doctoral thesis project and the evaluation criteria can differ depending on the speciality. Below you will find specific conditions and requirements for every speciality, as well as contact information in case you have further questions.

 

Social Sciences

In 2022 it is possible to apply for a position on the following topics

Doctoral thesis project and assessment of its feasibility

The project must be submitted not later than the application. The topic has to be chosen from the list of the topics given on the website of the School of Economics and Business Administration.

Doctoral thesis projects must include the following:

  • title of the thesis;
  • topic of the thesis, its importance and relevance;
  • purpose, the main research problems and (where possible) the working hypotheses;
  • overview of the relevant literature, including the justification of the theoretical background suitable for solving the research problems and the justification of the choice of the research methodology; explaining the niche of the research;
  • methodological part, the data, the expected results and their novelty compared to earlier research, publishing options;
  • referenced literature on the topic.

The project must be drawn up in A4 format, with a font size of 12.

During the assessment, the best project is given 50 points. The points given to other projects are calculated as a percentage of the best, based on the committee’s assessment. For the result to be positive, 35 points must be earned. The scores depend on the following:

  • research purposes, problems and working hypotheses; connecting them to the literature and research methodology (25%);
  • overview of the existing literature, explaining the theoretical background of the research and connecting it to the research methodology (25%);
  • research methodology and data, justification of the choice of the research methodology and its novelity compared to earlier research (25%);
  • expected results and their novelty compared to earlier research (also topics of possible articles, if possible) (25%).

Entrance interview

The purpose of the interview is to assess the feasibility of the doctoral thesis project and success of the studies, considering also the applicant´s previous experience in the field (based on the CV). The interview is used to assess the applicant’s ability to present the main points of the proposed doctoral thesis and to characterise their earlier research activities in connection with the thesis project as well as their motivation to complete the doctoral programme successfully on time.

The maximum score for the interview is 50. The scores depend on the following:

  • Applicant´s ability to present clearly the main idea and research questions of the chosen topic and their novelty compared to earlier research in the field (50%);
  • The motivation of the applicant. The interview should determine the temporal perspective of completing successfully the study programme within the nominal study period, including applicant´s readiness to start studies in Tartu, etc. (50%)

Speciality representative: Mustafa Hakan Eratalay, hakan.eratalay@ut.ee

In 2022 it is possible to apply for a position on the following topics.

Doctoral thesis project and assessment of its feasibility

The project must be submitted not later than the application. The topic has to be chosen from the list of the topics given on the website of the School of Economics and Business Administration.

Doctoral thesis projects must include the following:

  • title of the thesis;
  • topic of the thesis, its importance and relevance;
  • purpose, the main research problems and (where possible) the working hypotheses;
  • overview of the relevant literature, including the justification of the theoretical background suitable for solving the research problems and the justification of the choice of the research methodology; explaining the niche of the research;
  • methodological part, the data, the expected results and their novelty compared to earlier research, publishing options;
  • referenced literature on the topic.

The project must be drawn up in A4 format, with a font size of 12.

During the assessment, the best project is given 50 points. The points given to other projects are calculated as a percentage of the best, based on the committee’s assessment. For the result to be positive, 35 points must be earned. The scores depend on the following:

  • research purposes, problems and working hypotheses; connecting them to the literature and research methodology (25%);
  • overview of the existing literature, explaining the theoretical background of the research and connecting it to the research methodology (25%);
  • research methodology and data, justification of the choice of the research methodology and its novelity compared to earlier research (25%);
  • expected results and their novelty compared to earlier research (also topics of possible articles, if possible) (25%).

Entrance interview

The purpose of the interview is to assess the feasibility of the doctoral thesis project and success of the studies, considering also the applicant´s previous experience in the field (based on the CV). The interview is used to assess the applicant’s ability to present the main points of the proposed doctoral thesis and to characterise their earlier research activities in connection with the thesis project as well as their motivation to complete the doctoral programme successfully on time.

The maximum score for the interview is 50. The scores depend on the following:

  • Applicant´s ability to present clearly the main idea and research questions of the chosen topic and their novelty compared to earlier research in the field (50%);
  • The motivation of the applicant. The interview should determine the temporal perspective of completing successfully the study programme within the nominal study period, including applicant´s readiness to start studies in Tartu, etc. (50%)

Speciality representative: Tiia Vissak, tiia.vissak@ut.ee

During the admission procedure, the applicant’s motivation and suitability for doctoral studies in the field of media and communication are assessed.

Doctoral thesis project

The recommended length of the project is 3–5 pages, but not more than 10 pages (excl. the list of literature). The project must be submitted with other entrance documents.

The project must include the following:

1. the topic of the thesis, incl. a short summary of the nature of the problem and the most important related theoretical approaches and former research;
2. the purposes of the research – what kind of a problem the thesis is going to solve;
3. the research methodology that will be used to solve the problem and that is necessary for such work;
4. expectations for the results – their novelty and importance;
5. the preparedness to deal with the topic, knowledge of the relevant materials, relatedness with earlier research or work in the field, earlier research publications of the applicant;
6. information on the supervisor of the thesis; and
7. the planned time schedule of the activities.

The project should be accompanied by the earlier research publications of the applicant or their manuscripts ready to be published.

Entrance interview

The interview is based on the CV submitted by the applicant. The aim of the interview is to obtain an overview of the applicant’s education and work experience. The interview is used to determine the applicant's motivation to study this field and their expectations for doctoral studies.

Assessment

Doctoral thesis projects are assessed from three main aspects: the applicant’s ability to formulate research problems, their theoretical and methodological competency and the feasibility of the project. These are also important for the purpose of the interview. Apart from these, the interview considers the motivation of the applicant, their earlier education and work experience as well as their abilities in the particular field of study. Publications are considered to be as an advantage in the case of a tie on the basis of the scores.

The doctoral thesis project is assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

  • its novelty and originality (up to 10 points);
  • the applicant’s theoretical and methodological expertise (up to 30 points); and
  • its feasibility (up to 10 points).

The maximum score for the doctoral thesis project is 50 points. For the result to be positive, 35 points must be earned.

The entrance interview is assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

  • the applicant’s motivation to study and work in this field (up to 10 points);
  • the experience and education in the field (on the basis of their CV) (up to 10 points);
  • their theoretical and methodological expertise (up to 20 points); and
  • the analytical and generalisation skills (up to 10 points).

The maximum score for the interview is 50 points. For the result to be positive, 35 points must be earned.

Speciality representative: Andra Siibak, andra.siibak@ut.ee

During the admission process, the applicants' preparedness, abilities and motivation for doctoral studies as well as their potential to complete the doctoral studies successfully on time and to work in this field are assessed. 

The doctoral thesis project (not more than 5 pages long) must include the following:

  • topic of the thesis, incl. a short summary of the research problem and the most important related research;
  • purpose and problems of the work;
  • description of the methodology to be used;
  • expectations for the results, incl. their novelty and importance;
  • self-assessment of the applicant regarding their readiness to handle this topic: knowledge of the relevant materials and relatedness with earlier research or work in the field; and
  • information on the proposed supervisor of the thesis.

The entrance interview takes around 20 minutes, and it is conducted by the committee consisting of the PhD teachers and research fellows of the UT Institute of Social Studies.

The interview is based on the thesis project and questions that may be asked during the entrance interview could pertain to the following:

  • information in the curriculum vitae
    earlier studies in the field, experience with the application of the field of study and the related academic activities (participation at conferences, scientific publications);
  • knowledge and experience regarding the specifics of research and academic studies in the field;
  • overall knowledge of the field of study of the doctoral thesis;
  • overall knowledge of the research methodology proposed to be used;
  • applicant’s motivation to deal with this topic; and
  • future plans regarding work in this field.

Assessment

The doctoral thesis project and the entrance interview are assessed separately on a 50-point scale. Minimum positive result is 35 points.

The assessment of the doctoral thesis project covers the following:

  • the importance and novelty of the research problem (25%);
  • its relation with the relevant research literature (the most important theoretical and empirical work in the field) (25%)
  • the existence of a clear research plan (25%)
  • the appropriateness of the methodology and the feasibility of the research (25%).

The assessment of the entrance interview covers:

  • the applicant’s knowledge of the main positions and relevant issues in sociology (25%);
  • their motivation and preparedness to pursue doctoral studies (25%);
  • their potential to successfully complete the doctoral programme (25%)

their analytical, reasoning and generalisation skills and the content and style of their presentation (25%).

Speciality representative: Veronika Kalmus, veronika.kalmus@ut.ee

The doctoral thesis project must include the following:
1) justification for the choice of the topic and the research purpose;
2) main issues dealt with in the thesis and its illustrative structure (recommended);
3) short overview of the most relevant earlier research in the field;
4) presentation of the research methodology;
5) illustrative list of literature; and
6) timetable of the work.

Candidates who have scored at least 42 points (out of 60) for their doctoral thesis projects will be invited to the entrance interview.

The entrance interview is used to assess the following:
1) relevance of the doctoral thesis topic;
2) significance of the doctoral thesis topic for jurisprudence;
3) practical value of the doctoral thesis topic for Estonian society;
4) doctoral applicant’s knowledge in the field of the proposed thesis; and
5) doctoral applicant’s motivation (especially the application reasons, the temporal perspective of completing the study programme and future possibilities to apply the knowledge acquired).

Maximum score for the entrance interview is 40 and the minimum positive result is 28.

Speciality representative: Merike Ristikivi, merike.ristikivi@ut.ee

Doctoral thesis project

The recommended length of the project is 2–3 pages, but not more than 5 pages. The project must be submitted with other entrance documents.

The project must include the following:

1. topic of the thesis, incl. a short summary of the nature of the problem and the most important related research;
2. purpose of the thesis – what kind of a problem the thesis is going to solve;
3. research methodology that will be used to solve the problem and the resources necessary for such work;
4. expectations for the results – their novelty and importance;
5. preparedness to deal with the topic, knowledge of the relevant materials, relatedness with earlier research or work in the field; and
6. information on the supervisor of the thesis.

The assessment of the project covers the following:

  • novelty and originality of the project;
  • existence of the resources and conditions to carry out the proposed work;
  • applicant’s knowledge of modern psychology;
  • applicant’s research experience and achievements; and
  • applicant’s commitment and abilities to conduct the research.

Entrance interview

The entrance interview is based on the doctoral thesis project. During the interview, the committee may check the applicant’s foreign language skills. Publications are considered to be as an advantage in the case of a tie on the basis of the scores. The assessment of the interview covers the same criteria that the assessment of the project does, i.e. novelty, preparedness, knowledge, experience and commitment.

The doctoral thesis project and the entrance interview are assessed separately on a 50-point scale. The doctoral thesis project is successfully defended and the entrance interview is passed if the respective score is at least 35 points.

Speciality representative: Jüri Allik, jyri.allik@ut.ee

In 2022 it is possible to apply for a position on topics available on the homepage of the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies

Doctoral thesis project (research proposal)


The PhD research proposal (at a minimum of 5 pages, including a list of sources) should include the following:

  • topic of the proposed PhD thesis (presentation of the research problem, positioning it in the context of the existing literature);
  • objectives of the thesis;
  • description of data and research methods;
  • expected results, their novelty and importance;
  • list of sources;
  • brief summary of previous academic or practical experience relevant to the proposed PhD research.

Applicants whose research proposals are evaluated positively (see details below) are invited to an admission interview with the aim of determining their motivation and academic potential for participating in the programme.


Entrance interview
 

Topics discussed during the interview can include the following:

  •  the applicant’s prior academic and work experience (based on the applicant’s CV);
  •  choice of topic and the research proposal, in particular its relevance and feasibility;
  •  motivation to receive a PhD in political science and future career plans;
  •  readiness to adapt to new institutional and cultural settings.

The interview lasts around 20 minutes. Invitations to the interviews are sent 5-7 days before the interview. Applicants who reside abroad can participate in the interview via telecommunication means.


 Assessment
 

Assessment criteria for the research proposal:

  • Appropriateness and justification of the chosen theoretical and methodological approach (40%);
  • Novelty and relevance of the proposed research (30%);
  • Feasibility of the proposed project (30%).
     

Assessment criteria for the interview:

  • Motivation to pursue a PhD in Political Science and readiness to commit to the programme (30%);
  • Relevance of previous academic and work experience to the programme and the proposed PhD research (30%);
  • Ability to justify the research proposal, including in the context of major debates in the field (30%);
  • Presentation skills, interpersonal skills (10%).

Both the research proposal and admission interview are assessed on a scale of 0 to 50 points, minimum positive score is at least 35 points. To be invited to an interview, the applicant must earn at least 35 points for the research proposal.

Speciality representative: Piret Ehin, piret.ehin@ut.ee

 

Educational sciences 

In 2022 it is possible to apply for a position on topics available on the homepage of the Institute of Education

Doctoral Thesis Project

The project should be up to five A4 pages long (excl. the list of literature). The project should include the research problem, its innovativeness and importance, on the basis of scientific literature, the research methodology proposed and resources needed to solve the problem, and a description of how the expected results would be important in practice and for international research circles. The project should be accompanied by the applicant’s CV. The latter should include information on the applicant’s earlier research activities, including research publications and conference presentations.

The project assessment criteria:
1. innovativeness and importance of the doctoral thesis (up to 10 points);
2. justification of the research problem (up to 10 points);
3. adequacy of the research methodology (up to 10 points);
4. feasibility of the project (up to 5 points); and
5. applicant’s research potential to complete the proposed doctoral thesis (up to 15 points).

The maximum score for the doctoral thesis project and the entrance interview is 50 points. For the result to be positive, 35 points must be earned.

Entrance interview

During the entrance interview, the applicant must describe their doctoral thesis project in English; this is followed by up to a 25-minute interview conducted by the committee

The interview assessment criteria:
1. ability to explain the project (incl. the research problem, the related research literature, the methods) (up to 15 points);
2. applicant’s motivation to pursue doctoral studies in educational science and to work in this field (up to 5 points);
3. wider analytical and generalisation skills regarding educational topics (up to 10 points);
4. knowing their way around Estonian and international education issues (up to 10 points); and
5. presentation skills/self-expression (in English (all applicants) and in Estonian (native speakers of Estonian)) (up to 10 points).

Speciality representative: Äli Leijen, ali.leijen@ut.ee

In 2022 it is possible to apply for a position on topics available on the homepage of the Institute of Education

Doctoral Thesis Project

The project should be up to five A4 pages long (excl. the list of literature). The project should include the research problem, its innovativeness and importance, on the basis of scientific literature, the research methodology proposed and resources needed to solve the problem, and a description of how the expected results would be important in practice and for international research circles. The project should be accompanied by the applicant’s CV. The latter should include information on the applicant’s earlier research activities, including research publications and conference presentations.

The project assessment criteria:
1. innovativeness and importance of the doctoral thesis (up to 10 points);
2. justification of the research problem (up to 10 points);
3. adequacy of the research methodology (up to 10 points);
4. feasibility of the project (up to 5 points); and
5. applicant’s research potential to complete the proposed doctoral thesis (up to 15 points).

The maximum score for the doctoral thesis project and the entrance interview is 50 points. For the result to be positive, 35 points must be earned.

Entrance interview

During the entrance interview, the applicant must describe their doctoral thesis project in English; this is followed by up to a 25-minute interview conducted by the committee

The interview assessment criteria:
1. ability to explain the project (incl. the research problem, the related research literature, the methods) (up to 15 points);
2. applicant’s motivation to pursue doctoral studies in educational science and to work in this field (up to 5 points);
3. wider analytical and generalisation skills regarding educational topics (up to 10 points);
4. knowing their way around Estonian and international education issues (up to 10 points); and
5. presentation skills/self-expression (in English (all applicants) and in Estonian (native speakers of Estonian)) (up to 10 points).

Speciality representative: Miia Rannikmäe, miia.rannikmae@ut.ee

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