Home - Admissions - Doctoral Studies - Admission


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)

4. School leadership and practices in implementing educational change (Eve Eisenschmidt, eve....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. The positions will be part of the TLU Center of Excellence in Educational Innovation. Some of the above positions are funded through DORA Plus PhD student stipends. When applying, please indicate whether you fulfill the requirements for receiving these stipends (links to regulations to be added).

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.

Supervisor Name

Priority Topic


Prof Eve Eisenschmidt

Institutional Innovation; Effectiveness of new forms of learning and instruction

School culture, leadership, school development, teachers’ professional development, innovation at school

Prof Mati Heidmets

Institutional Innovation; Effectiveness of new forms of learning and instruction

Ass Prof Katrin Poom-Valickis

Institutional Innovation; Effectiveness of new forms of learning and instruction

Teachers’ identity and professional development, teachers collaboration and  learning in implementing educational innovation, school-university partnership

Prof Tobias Ley

Institutional Innovation; Effectiveness of new forms of learning and instruction

Digital Technologies in learning, learning analytics; Research-based teaching, teachers as researchers, teacher inquiry; collaborative learning; workplace learning

More information http://ceiter.tlu.ee

Luis Pablo Prieto Santos

Institutional Innovation; Effectiveness of new forms of learning and instruction

Learning analytics; Computer-supported collaborative learning; online measures of learning, technologies for orchestration; technologies for teacher professional development and teacher inquiry.

More information http://ceiter.tlu.ee

Paul Seitlinger

Cognitive basis of self-regulated learning in open learning arrangements

Computational process models of self-directed category learning and information search; the role of executive control processes in searching long-term memory structures

More information http://ceiter.tlu.ee

Terje Väljataga

Institutional Innovation in Education; Effectiveness of new forms of learning and instruction

Outside the classroom  and mobile learning; ; Research-based teaching; Inquiry-based learning in STEM education

More information http://ceiter.tlu.ee

Ass Prof Inge Timoštšuk

Institutional Innovation in Education; Effectiveness of new forms of learning and instruction

Outside the classroom learning; Inquiry-based Learning in primary and preschool; Subject Didactics (science education); Research-based teaching and learning, teacher inquiry.


Larissa Jõgi

Special Learning Contexts; Inclusive Education


Work-based and adults learning in different context; professionalisation and professional identity of adult educators;  teaching and learning at university context; learning and adaptation process of adults with migrant background, narrative inquire

Professor Krista Loogma

Special Learning Contexts; Education for transversal competence

Vocational and work-based learning, entrepreneurship education, development of professional and key competences in traditional and new/innovative learning environments

Aino Ugaste

Effectiveness of new forms of learning and instruction

Early childhood education, Multicultural early childhood education

Marika Veisson

Effectiveness of new forms of learning and instruction

Early childhood education

Tiia Õun

Effectiveness of new forms of learning and instruction

Early childhood education

Riin Seema

Special Learning Contexts

Counselling in Estonian Teachers’ and School Leaders’ Work

Ass Prof Meril Ümarik

Special Learning Contexts, Inclusive Education

Learning and adaptation of  migrants in vocational, adult education and workplace learning contexts. Learning and skills transition in transnational occupational spaces.

Aaro Toomela

Inclusive Education:

Special education, learning difficulties, adaptive instruction

(Neuro)psychology of speech and language; (neuro)psychological assessment of individuals with special needs.

Senior researcher Piret Soodla

Inclusive education: Special education, learning difficulties, adaptive instruction

Effectiveness of special education; students at risk for/with reading and or writing difficulties; teachers’ knowledge and practices; reading intervention

Maria Erss

Triin Roosalu

Tiiu Kuurme

Airi Liimets

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