Applying for the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the Doctoral Programme Brain & Mind, University of Helsinki

The application periods during the academic year 2017 - 2018 are 1-14.9.2017 and 3-16.4.2018.  

University of Helsinki's general information on doctoral training and applying for doctoral studies:



  • Motivation and CV of the applicant, success in previous studies
  • Demonstration of adequate knowledge in relevant fields and potential of the applicant to develop into an independent researcher
  • Scientific relevance and ambition of the research plan, use of relevant methodology
  • Thematic fit of the research plan with the doctoral programme profile
  • Funding plan and feasibility of the thesis project within the intended timeframe (net time 4 years)
  • Supervisory and follow-up of progress arrangements, quality of the research environment 

In addition, the doctoral programme may organize an interview or an entrance exam.



There are two application periods per academic year, one during the spring term and one during the autumn term. If you are interested in doctoral training, please familiarise yourself with the application guidelines well before the next application period. A carefully prepared application is the first step towards the doctoral degree.


The application periods in the academic year 2017 - 2018 are 1-14.9.2017 and 3-16.4.2018


Eligible applicants have a Master's degree or equivalent and a background in biology, medicine, psychology, cognitive sciences, physics, technology or another relevant field.


  • The application form is electronic and is open only during the application period. The application may be prepared in advance according to the following instructions.
  • Degree diplomas: Officially certified copies of the degree diplomas must be delivered to the admission services by the end of the application period. More details information about the application documents will be available at the UH web pages.
  • Language certificate: The language certificate must be delivered to the admission services by the end of the application period. More details information about the application documents will be available at the UH web pages.
  • Supervisor: Each doctoral candidate has a personal supervisor/supervisors. It is the responsibility of the applicant to find a supervisor and to discuss and agree on the research and study plans with him/her. Contact a principal investigator who is working in a field that matches your background knowledge and interests in research. An updating list of principal investigators is available here: www.brain-mind/group-list. In addition, you can look for other potential supervisors from the University's research portal TUHAT (
  • Research plan is an important part of the application and it should be composed according to the instructions of the University of Helsinki.
  • Study plan is made according to the Doctoral Programme's degree requirements. The degree requirements are summarized as:
      • Doctoral thesis
      • Discipline specific studies (30 ECTS)
      • General competence studies (10 ECTS)

 bm ds pic


Weblog on neuroscience

B&M doctoral students post news and comments on neuroscience as a weblog:

In addition, a series of blog posts on brain research (in Finnish) is administered by the Brain Research Society of Finland. 

Suomen Aivotutkimusseuran blogisarja aivotutkimuksesta.


Aivottutkimukseen liittyviä muita julkaisuja:

Aivosairaudet ovat kalleimmat kansantautimme (Lindsberg ym.)

Geenitutkija ahtistuneisuushäiriön syntysyiden jäljillä (Iiris Hovatta)

Tietoisuus on ihmisaivojen arvoitus (Matias Palva)

Tutkijat avaavat tarkkaavaisuuden rajoja (Kimmo Alho)

Aivot, uni ja oppiminen (Minna Huotilainen)

Onko ihminen oman onnensa seppä? (Kai Kaila)

Ihmismielen emergenssi evoluutiossa ja yksilönkehityksessä (Kristian Donner)



Aivoviikon 2017 yleisötapahtumat


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Maanantai 13.3.2017

16:00-17:00  Näyttely Porthanian aulassa

  • Tutkijoiden posterinäyttely: Aivot ja Mieli -tohtoriohjelman väitöskirjatyöntekijöitä
    paikalla esittelemässä työtään postereiden avulla.

  • Potilasjärjestöjen näyttelypöydät: edustajat paikalla esittelemässä toimintaansa.


KEHITTYVÄT AIVOT -yleisöseminaari 17-19 (Lataa tulostettava ohjelma)

17:00 Avauspuheenvuoro, Suomen Aivosäätiön hallituksen puheenjohtaja Liisa Ollila

17:10 Vastasyntyneet ja lapset lääketieteen katveessa: ovatko prioriteetit kohdallaan? Akatemiaprofessori Kai Kaila, Helsingin yliopisto

17:40 Digiajan vaikutukset kehittyviin aivoihin. Tutkija Mona Moisala, Helsingin yliopisto

18:10 Lapset ja nuoret digitaalisessa maailmassa: mahdollisuuksia ja uhkia. Lastenpsykiatrian dosentti Jari Sinkkonen



Tiistai 14.3.2017

16:00-17:00  Näyttely Porthanian aulassa

  • Tutkijoiden posterinäyttely: Aivot ja Mieli -tohtoriohjelman väitöskirjatyöntekijöitä
    paikalla esittelemässä työtään postereiden avulla.

(Lisätietoja: Aalto Brain Centren sivulta) 

17:00–17:10 Professori Synnöve Carlson: Avaussanat
17:10–17:45 Professori Iiro Jääskeläinen: Samasta tarinasta samaa aivotoimintaa?
17:45–18:20 Tutkijatohtori Tommi Himberg: Tanssista empatiaa? Liikkeen synkroniasta tunteiden tahdistumiseen.
18:20–18:55 Vieraileva tutkijatohtori Kristina Laaksonen: Aivoinfarkti. Samanlaiset oireet - samanlainen toipuminen?


Tapahtuman toteutus yhteistyössä:
Helsingin yliopisto
Aalto-yliopiston Aalto Brain Centre
Aivot ja Mieli -tohtoriohjelma (Brain&Mind)
Suomen Aivosäätiö 
Suomen Aivotutkimusseura ry
Suomen Aivot ry

Suomen Aivosäätiö / Merja Rekola puh. 0400 933 938  sähköposti. aivosaatio(at)
Brain & Mind –tohtoriohjelma / Katri Wegelius puh. 02941 59859 sähköposti. katri.wegelius(at)
Aalto Brain Centre / Jaakko Järvinen puh. 050 526 9960, sähköposti jaakko.jarvinen(at)











B&M Symposium 2017


September 21-­22, 2017  (tentative daily time for lectures is 9-17)

University of Helsinki, Main Building, Fabianinkatu 33 (Small lecture hall, 4th floor)

Welcome to the Annual B&M Student Symposium organized by the B&M Student Council!

In addition to presentations from excellent international scientists, we will have two workshops and poster/oral presentations by doctoral candidates.

Credits: 1 ECTS credit for participation in all lectures and workshops + 1 credit for oral or poster presentation at the symposium. 

In addition to B&M students and supervisors, we welcome other interested researchers and MSc./PhD students to this meeting. Registration to all lectures of the symposium is free. 

For more information, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  or B&M Student Council chair This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .




This year’s symposium will cover many current topics of neuroscience including therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs, large scale brain dynamics, acid sensing ion channels and neural networks of the retina and the inhibitory circuitry of the brain.

The following outstanding researchers are giving talks: 

Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, Imperial College London, UK
Dr. John Wemmie, University of Iowa, USA
Dr. Jordi Riba, Biomedical Research Institute of Sant Pau, Spain
Dr. Katherine Button, University of Bath, UK
Dr. Gregor Thut, University of Glasgow, UK
Dr. Jens Hjerling-Leffler, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
Dr. Thomas Euler, University of Tübingen, Germany
Dr. Biyu He, NYU School of Medicine, USA


Organized by the B&M Student Council 2017:

Sanna Koskela, chair
Senem Merve Fred 

Hamed Haque 
Sebnem Kesaf  
Samuel Kohtala 
Elina Nagaeva  
Santeri Rouhinen  




eppendorf                            orion 100




UH education reform

Education Reform of the University of Helsinki in a nutshell (more information in Flamma):

  1. New study programs crossing boundaries between disciplines, units and faculties starting in August 2017:
    32   B.Sc. programs
    60   M.Sc. programs   
    32   Doctoral programs
  2. Study program -specific degree structures
  3. Decrease in the number of credits needed for a doctoral degree (60 -> 40)
  4. Learning outcomes:
    → skills and knowledge students should acquire during studies

    → possible career paths




The degree requirements are summarized as:

      • Doctoral thesis
      • Discipline specific studies (30 ECTS)
      • General competence studies (10 ECTS)

bm ds pic  


According to the Rector’s Decision (No 22/2016) doctoral programmes are degree programmes which will have degree requirements of their own. The faculty responsible for the doctoral programme has approved the programme’s new degree requirements and curriculum and those will become valid from 1.8.2017. The rector has decided on the general principles for the transition period of the education reform (Decision No 23/2016).

General transition guidelines:

All doctoral candidates must transfer to the new degree system if they do not complete their degree before 31.7.2020. During the preceding transition period (1.8.2017 – 31.7.2020) they can choose from the following options:

1) they can continue to study according to the old degree requirements, i.e., 60 ECTS credits (40 ECTS for Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Doctor of Medical Science and Doctor of Dental Science degrees) and faculty and/or major based guidelines until 31.7.2020

2) they can transfer to the new degree system and begin to study according to the new degree requirements, in which case it should be noted that:

  • There will be an e-form available in fall 2017 to apply for the transition to the new degree system.
  • The transition to the new degree system can be done at any time during the transition period, but once it is done, it is not possible to return to the old system. 
  • The transition to the new degree system must be completed before the beginning of the pre-examination process (by January 2020).
  • Once the transition period ends on 31.7.2020, all doctoral candidates will be transferred to the new degree system
  • All new doctoral candidates granted the right to pursue doctoral studies after 1.8.2017 will use the new system of 40 ECTS credits
  • In the new degree system, 40 ECTS credits will be required in addition to the doctoral thesis. These credits are distributed between discipline-specific studies (30 credits) and general competence studies (10 credits).
  • The composition of discipline-specific studies differs between doctoral programmes, while the required general competence studies are doctoral school specific.
  • An obligatory course of research ethics must be included in the discipline-specific studies
  • In the new degree system studies completed more than 10 years earlier cannot be included in a doctoral degree.
  • Studies included in a Master’s degree cannot be transferred to a doctoral degree. However, extra studies completed during MSc studies that are not included in the degree, can be transferred to doctoral degree if they fit the doctoral programme-specific degree structure.
  • The new degree structure may include more obligatory studies than the old system. In addition, there may be differences in the number of credits gained for specific courses or activities.


Doctoral Programme Brain & Mind specific transition guidelines: 


Current obligatory studies

Corresponding studies in the new B&M degree structure

Biological and Environmental Sciences

Licentiate examination (522082, 51064, 529245, 52970)

B&M book exam: NEUBM-010


Preliminary examination (590381)

B&M book exam: NEUBM-010

2 presentations of the dissertation research project (590382, 590383)

No credits for Thesis Committee presentations. For presentations outside own unit: NEUBM-104


No obligatory studies


Veterinary Medicine

No obligatory studies





B&M briefly

Starting from January 2014, Doctoral Program Brain & Mind (B&M) is the only PhD program in neuroscience in the University of Helsinki and Aalto University as the term of the Finnish Graduate School of Neuroscience has ended.

B&M is a network program of the University of Helsinki and Aalto University. Through this collaboration, the B&M students have a priviledge for a highly interdisciplinary doctoral training in neuroscience. In the University of Helsinki, B&M is one of the doctoral programs of the Doctoral School of Health Sciences and a cross-campus program represented by 6 Faculties and 3 independent institutes. In Aalto University, B&M is part of the Doctoral Programme of School of Science.
Current lists of B&M affiliated research groups and registered doctoral students.

More information about the Structure and the Board of the B&M.

Doctoral training and research collaboration between Aalto University and University of Helsinki is also supported by BRAHE network (BRAHE = Brain Research at Aalto University and University of Helsinki).


Registration to Doctoral Program Brain & Mind in the University of Helsinki 

New PhD students apply for a right to pursue a doctoral degree in one of the Faculties of the University of Helsinki. The selection of the doctoral program will be done during the application process. Each postgraduate student will follow the degree requirements of his/her home Faculty. The doctoral program will provide training and a scientific network of students and researchers in the field.

Registration to Doctoral Program Brain & Mind in Aalto University

New PhD students apply for a right to pursue a doctoral degree in the Doctoral Programme of School of Science. Registered PhD students working in one the scientific fields of the B&M in the Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering, NBE (former O.V. Lounasmaa Laboratory and Department of Biomedical Engineering and Computational Science (BECS), can apply for a membership in the Doctoral Programme Brain & Mind by contacting the B&M coordinator.


More information on How to apply?