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The admission process involves two parallel processes that need to be followed.  

1. The general admission process that is dealt with by the central admission unit at Tallinn University:

  • Extensive information on what the formal requirements are, what to submit for the application and about deadlines can be found on the general information page of the PhD program. Here you can also find details about the curriculum.
  • In case you have any questions about any of this, including also stipends, language requirements, visa requirements and where to send the application should be directed to: admissions....at....tlu.ee

2. Finding a research topic and a supervisor is dealt with by the Doctoral School of Educational Sciences.

Information on this process can be found on this page below. Specifically, this year’s admission will be split into two competitions, a project-based competition in which the School of Educational Sciences seeks candidates for research projects that offer fully funded PhD places, and an open call according to priority topics of the School.

Project-based Competition

It has been shown that PhD studies are more successful if students are embedded in a strong supporting scientific network when they work on their PhD. Such network can be offered, for example, through a research project. In a research project competition, the School has selected the following PhD student projects for priority funding:

1. Studying co-creation of educational innovations through living labs (Katrin Poom-Valickis, katrinpv....at....tlu.ee; Luis Pablo Prieto Santos, lprisan....at....tlu.ee)

2. Multimodal Online Measures of Learning in Subject Didactics (Luis Pablo Prieto Santos, lprisan....at....tlu.ee; Tobias Ley, tley....at....tlu.ee)

3. Critical Thinking in Discovery Learning (for STEM education): A Cognitive-Computational Approach (Paul Seitlinger, pseiti....at....tlu.ee)

Candidates are invited to apply to these projects by getting directly in contact with the supervisor whose contact details are given in the project description. Fully-funded means that we expect these projects to pay a junior researcher salary (50% position) in addition to the PhD student allowance, so that students would be able to denote the majority of their time to finalize their PhD. In addition to the funding, the projects also offer a strong support network of researchers and other PhD students, as well as an international network.

Open Call

Apart from the project-based competition, some PhD study places will be filled through an open call according to the School’s priority topics. For these places, we invite candidates to prepare a research proposal together with a supervisor at the School in line with any of the following priority topics:

Institutional Innovation in Education

  • New forms of school society partnerships, co-creation methodologies, open schooling, Living Labs
  • Implementing new interdisciplinary and open learning arrangements in institutions (e.g. ELU, Design Thinking)
  • Special Learning Contexts (Workplace, Vocational, Informal and Outside the classroom learning)

Effectiveness of new forms of learning and instruction

  • Inquiry-based Learning in STEM education
  • Digital Technologies in Learning, Smart School
  • Research-based teaching and learning, teachers as researchers, teacher inquiry
  • Online measures of learning and learning analytics
  • Subject Didactics
  • Education for transversal competence (e.g. Entrepreneurship, Creative Problem Solving, Digital Competence)

Inclusive Education

  • Cognitive basis of self-regulated learning in open learning arrangements
  • Special education, learning difficulties, adaptive instruction
  • Inclusion of immigrants

Finding a Supervisor

Please follow these steps to find a supervisor for your topic:

  1. Check the priority topics above and develop a first idea for a research proposal.

  2. Check who of the potential supervisors may be interested in the topic, check their research profiles that are linked in the table below.

  3. Write an email to: anu.tammeleht....at....tlu.ee, with your CV and a 1-page statement of your research interest and potential supervisor you have selected.

  4. In case the supervisor agrees he/she will be in contact with you. Otherwise, we will try to identify an alternative supervisor.

Application procedures and preschool of PhD studies

Once you have found a supervisor, you need to develop a doctoral thesis proposal (form available heretogether with him or her. You will then need to follow application procedures and deadlines according to the central admission.

To help prepare the research proposal, the School of Educational Science is offering a PhD Pre-School. Information can be found here. Participation is only possible in person, but we intend to publish all presentations and materials on the website of the pre-school.

The admission exam for academic year 2018/2019 will take place on the 10th of July at 9.00 in room M-649. The exam will be an interview, based on a previously submitted doctoral proposal, which needs to be approved by an academic reference with adequate qualifications. The interview will be held in English.

During the admission interview, in addition to the quality of the proposal and the success in defending it, another criterion for assessing candidates will be their proficiency in English, success in publishing articles and/or performing at conferences.

General information about doctoral programme

PhD studies duration: 4 years (8 semesters)
Language of Instruction: 
Estonian, English
Field of Study: 
Conferred Degree: 
PhD (Educational Sciences)

Detailed study programme is available here.

Contact us!

  • Specific questions regarding the programme should be directed to the School of Educational Sciences:
    Anu Tammeleht
    Doctoral Studies Coordinator
    Phone: +372 6199 767   
    E-mail: anu.tammeleht....at....tlu.ee
  • For additional guidelines regarding admission procedure please contact the international admission specialist.
    E-mail: admissions....at....tlu.ee