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For Prospective Doctoral Students

In the 2017-2018 study year, doctoral students are admitted to 14 doctoral study programmes. The University Senate has established the number of doctoral study places per study programme.

Five student place vacancies in total formed according to the annual contract between the Ministry of Education and Research and Tallinn University, and University-supported vacancies, are distributed according to the general ranking results after the entrance exams during the admission period by the decision-making committee decreed by the Vice-Rector for Research.

PhD Programmes Admissions 2017
Educational Sciences
Educational Sciences 5
History 2
Studies of Cultures 6
Linguistics 3
Social Sciences
Demography 1
Information and Communication Science no admission
Psychology 2
Government and Politics 1
Sociology 2
Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Analytical Biochemistry 1
Physics 1
Information Society Technologies 6
Ecology 1
Health Sciences
Social Work 2
Health Beahviour and Wellbeing 4

Upon receiving positive funding decisions, the institutes may create additional student places within research and development projects. Doctoral study places are filled from a ranking list, based on the admission exam results. The admission procedure and necessary documents are described in detail here.


A doctoral study agreement is drafted up for every doctoral student. The agreement stipulates the mutual rights and obligations of the doctoral student, his or her supervisor and the academic unit, all of which are not covered by the TU Regulations for Doctoral Studies and Defence of Doctoral Theses or other regulations.

Full-time and part-time doctoral study

Full-time doctoral study: completing at least 75 % of a study programme. A full time doctoral student must cumulatively complete not less than 75% (22.5 ECTS credits) of the study programme by the end of each academic year, per every semester the student participated in curricular work, which is evaluated at assessment.

Part-time doctoral study: completing 50-75 % of a study programme. A part-time doctoral student must cumulatively complete not less than 50% (15 ECTS credits) of the study programme by the end of each academic year, per every semester the student participated in curricular work, which is evaluated at assessment.

Students are admitted by default to full-time doctoral study places. A doctoral student has the right to request part-time study immediately after matriculation. Each study year ends with an attestation, where the status of a doctoral student (full-time or part-time study) is determined for the following year, based on the volume of study and research work completed during the year. A doctoral student who has not met the requirements of part-time study is deleted from the matriculation register. He or she may continue studies and defend doctoral thesis as an external student. An external student shall not be matriculated and does not have student status.

Doctoral study programme as an extern

It is also possible to complete a doctoral study programme as an extern. Candidates who exceed the ‘threshold’ result of 75 out of 100 during the current or previous academic year may apply for a study agreement. The study agreement does not grant student status but does allow taking courses within the programme and with supervision. The University imposes study fees for individuals studying under a study agreement. For the academic year 2016/17, the scale of these fees is as follows: the fee per credit is € 40; the supervision fee per semester is € 250 and the defence fee is € 500. Signing the study agreement does not preclude an individual from applying for doctoral studies during the next admission period.

Doctoral allowance and doctoral scholarship

A doctoral student enrolled in 2017 receives a doctoral allowance, provided that he or she is a citizen of Estonia; or resides in Estonia on the basis of a long-term residency permit, temporary living permit or a permanent or temporary living right, and has not exceeded the standard period of study. A doctoral allowance is paid to a doctoral student from the first year of study until the end of the standard period of study. A part-time doctoral student is paid a doctoral allowance in a proportional amount, corresponding to his or her study load. The rate of a doctoral allowance is established in every calendar year by the state budget. The total of the allowance in 2017 is 422 Euros a month. Working during doctoral studies does not influence a doctoral student´s right to receive a doctoral allowance.

A doctoral student may also receive a scholarship in addition to a doctoral allowance, if the institute managing the study programme has necessary resources, or if a doctoral student participates in completing a research and development project with external funding and the corresponding resources are maintained from the budget of the project.

Tuition fees

Pursuant to law, full-time study under an Estonian study programme is free to students, including doctoral students. The university has the right to establish tuition fees for students who are studying under study programmes with a foreign language as a language of instruction, students under Estonian study programmes who are not completing the full study load or part time students and external students. TU has not set tuition fees for doctoral students for the academic year 2017-2018, which means doctoral study is for free.

Position of early-stage researcher

According to law, the position of an early-stage researcher is not related to doctoral studies. A doctoral student can terminate an employment agreement to perform the duties of an early-stage researcher with an institute or other academic unit, only if the corresponding employment position has been created, is funded, and the doctoral student applies for it and is selected. Working as an early-stage researcher does not influence the doctoral student´s right to receive a doctoral allowance.

Regulation of doctoral study

The grounds for organising doctoral study and the rights and obligations of parties are established by the TU Regulations for Doctoral Studies and Defence of Doctoral Theses. These are available on the university homepage. The more general principles of the organisation of study are given in the TU Study Regulations and the academic calendar established for each year.

Topics Full-time study (75-100%) Part-time study (50-75%) External student
Tuition fee in 2017-2018 No No (the university has the right to establish) Courses: Yes Defence: Yes (500 EUR)
Doctoral allowance Yes Yes *** No
Doctoral study agreement Yes Yes No (Study agreement for preliminary defence and defence)
Approved individual study plan Yes Yes Yes
Topics Full-time study (75-100%) or part-time study (50-75%) External student
Attestation At the end of each study year (attestation criteria have been uniformly approved by doctoral councils for all doctoral study programmes of the corresponding field.) Yes
Working in TU, also as an early-stage researcher No limitations No limitations
Working elsewhere No limitations No limitations

*** applicable for doctoral students admitted since 2012