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. B&M degree structure and course catalogue in UH WebOodi
    The degree requirements are summarized as:
      • Doctoral thesis
      • Discipline specific studies (30 ECTS)
      • General competence studies (10 ECTS)

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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  

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!

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.

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. 

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

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 . 




PROGRAM  (tentative daily time for lectures is 9-17)

THURSDAY 21.9.2017 

Session 1: Psychedelic drugs

Robin Carhart-Harris (Imperial College London): Psychedelics: therapeutic potential

Jordi Riba (Biomedical Research Institute of Sant Pau): Two decades of ayahuasca research in humans: what have we learned?

Lunch break

Session 2: Perception

Biyu He (NYU School of Medicine): Large-scale brain dynamics underlying perceptual awareness

Gregor Thut (University of Glasgow): Network activity in the Brain: from correlation to causation.

Poster session

Evening program + dinner


FRIDAY 22.9.2017

Session 3: Acidity in the brain

John Wemmie (University of Iowa): Acid-sensing ion channels in synaptic transmission, plasticity, and addiction

Workshop: Scientific rigor

Katherine Button (University of Bath): TBA

Lunch break

Session 4: Neural networks

Thomas Euler (University of Tübingen): What the mouse's eye tells the mouse's brain.

Jens Hjerling Leffler (Karolinska Institute): One cell at a time: Single-cell transcriptomics in the study of the brain.


Organized by the B&M Student Council 2017:

Sanna Koskela, chair
Senem Merve Fred 

Hamed Haque 
Sebnem Kesaf  
Samuel Kohtala 
Elina Nagaeva  
Santeri Rouhinen  




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The University of Helsinki – Among the best in the world

Founded in 1640, the University of Helsinki (UH) is one of the best multidisciplinary research universities in the world. The UH has an internationally diverse academic community of 40,000 students and staff members. It operates on four campuses in Helsinki and at 9 other locations nationally. The high-quality research carried out by the University creates new knowledge for educating diverse specialists in various fields and for utilization in social decision-making and the business sector.

At the University of Helsinki, doctoral training is organized into four doctoral schools and 32 doctoral programmes that cover all disciplines and doctoral candidates of the University. 

The Doctoral Programme Brain & Mind (B&M) is one of the doctoral programmes of the Doctoral School in Health Sciences. B&M provides multidisciplinary education in the following fields of neuroscience:

  • Developmental neuroscience
  • Excitability, synaptic transmission, and neuronal networks
  • Disorders of the nervous system
  • Sensory and motor systems
  • Neuroimmunology, neuroendocrine systems and sleep
  • Cognition and behavior
  • Systems and computational neuroscience

In addition to the scientific content courses provided by the B&M, an extensive curriculum in general competence studies is provided by the Doctoral School in Health Sciences. The goal is to complete the doctoral degree requirements of the University of Helsinki within four years. Progress of the doctoral candidate is monitored by the supervisor, a carefully selected thesis committee, and the doctoral programme.


B&M invites applications for doctoral candidate positions for a 1–4 year* period starting from 1.1.2018. The duration of the employment contract depends on the stage of the appointee´s doctoral thesis project.(*Exception: Doctoral candidates pursuing a specialist degree in medicine can apply for half of a UH-funded position (6 months/year). These applicants are expected to commit to full time (100%) doctoral training for a six month period and to clinical specialist training for the remaining 6 months of the same calendar year.) 

The duties of a doctoral candidate are to work on his or her own doctoral thesis and to complete formal doctoral training required for the degree. The duties can also include teaching and other tasks. Teaching tasks can account for up to 5 % of the annual working time.

The University of Helsinki offers a salary dependent on qualifications and work experience. The salary is based on levels 2–4 of the job requirement scheme for teaching and research personnel in the salary system of Finnish universities. In addition, the appointee shall be paid a salary component based on personal work performance. The salary is EUR 2065–3022 per month, depending on the appointee’s qualifications and experience. The appointment starts with a probationary period of four months.

Applications are invited online during September 1-14, 2017. More information about the application and selection process below.

For further information about:

  • Doctoral Programme Brain & Mind (B&M), please visit or contact B&M coordinator This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • DSHealth, please visit
  • University of Helsinki Doctoral Schools, please visit
  • University of Helsinki International Staff Services, please visit 


The doctoral candidate positions are open for applicants with a Master's degree or equivalent and a background in biology, medicine, psychology, physics, technology or another relevant field.

Selected applicants should have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki by the end of 2017, before an employment contract as a doctoral candidate can start. For more information, please read the admission instructions at and

An ideal B&M doctoral candidate application should:
- Demonstrate that the applicant is highly motivated and has potential to develop into an independent researcher.
- Contain a scientifically significant and feasible research proposal, which thematically fits in the scope of the scientific fields represented by B&M
- Propose to join a research group which:

Application and selection process
Please read carefully the B&M-specific admission requirements (above) and make sure that all the formal criteria for B&M admission are met.


All applications must be submitted online. A complete application includes:

1) The application form, completed by the applicant and submitted by September 14, 2017 at 23:59 (EEST), including the following:

  • the research plan  
  • the funding plan
  • the schedule for completing the degree
  • references (max. 10)

  • Applicants who do not yet have the right to pursue a doctoral degree at UH are to attach in the application:
    • copy of the second-cycle degree certificate
    • copy of certificate of the language skills  

2) Confirmation of Supervision e-form completed by the primary supervisor and submitted by September 18, 2017 at 23:59 (EEST).

Both forms must be completed and submitted for the application to be valid. No applications or supervisor's forms submitted after the deadline will be accepted.

Note! Doctoral candidates enrolled in specialist training are expected to provide a 'Letter of Commitment' indicating how the doctoral training period will be integrated with clinical work. The signed 'Letter of Commitment' must be submitted by e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by September 14, 2017 at 23:59 (EEST).


1. Evaluation of applications
Applications received in time and fulfilling the general application requirements are evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Ability and motivation as demonstrated in previous degree studies or otherwise
  • Existing or potential academic merits (e.g. publications, awards, conference presentations) and the quality of the research environment (supervision)
  • Quality of the research plan (including feasibility of the plan) and its relevance to the B&M fields of science.

2. Interviews (October-November 2017)
Short-listed applicants will be invited for an interview by the evaluation panel. The tentative dates for B&M interviews are October 30-31, or November 6-7, 2017. The invitations for interviews will be sent to short-listed applicants at least one week before the interviews.

3. Decisions (expected by the end of November 2017)
Following the interviews, the evaluation panel will make a proposal to the B&M Board regarding selection of candidates for the funded positions. All applicants will be informed of the selection by e-mail and the decision be published at the B&M doctoral program webpage



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




B&M degree structure and course catalogue in UH WebOodi

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?