The study programme is mainly aimed at people interested in different aspects of the problems of nature and environments. The main aim is the preparation of doctoral thesis where the criterion of assessment is participation in international research discussion.

Study level PhD studies

Duration of study 4 years

Language Estonian English

Study places 1

Autumn PhD Admission 2018

Tallinn University School of Natural Sciences and Health has opened the autumn admission for the the Ecology PhD programme for the following project:

Functional and Response Diversity of Urban Green Commons

Urbanization has caused the loss of ecosystem service quality, which can often be traced back to the loss of biological integrity (including biodiversity). Common property systems i.e collectively managed parks, community gardens, and allotment areas provide today some of the valuable ecological services vital to healthy cities. Traditional diversity measures (e.g. 'species richness') may not adequately capture the aspects of biodiversity most relevant to ecosystem stability and functionality, but several new concepts may be more appropriate. These include 'response diversity', describing the variation of responses to environmental change among species of a particular community. By analyzing and improving the functional and response diversity of these areas, they could contribute to maintaining optimal ecosystem functionality and developing urban resilience in the face of anthropogenic pressures and environmental uncertainty. It is expected that the student will conduct biodiversity assessments at selected common property systems, analyze selected ecological groups (including vegetation) based on their functional and response diversity, explore and experiment with increasing these diversity aspects at these areas.


Application Process and Deadlines for the Autumn PhD Admission
  • 1 November, 2018 - deadline for submitting your application
  • 2-7 November, 2018 - admission exams
  • 15 November, 2018 - deadline for sending your documents by post
  • 28 January, 2019 - the beginning of studies

Read more about admission requirements from here.

What Do We Expect from an Applicant?

The study programme is mainly aimed at people interested in different aspects of the problems of nature and environments. The purpose of the study programme is to give in-depth knowledge to MA degree holders of theories of natural sciences and contemporary trends.

The graduate:

  • is able to apply scientific methodologies and research practices for understanding the basics and interdisciplinarity of natural sciences;
  • is capable of critically analysing scientific problems related to their specialisation and pose scientific research questions in natural sciences;
  • is able to create research design and apply modern research and data analysis;
  • is competent to convey the knowledge by supervising and teaching;
  • is able to understand the need for continuous professional growth and development.
  • Conferred Degree: PhD (Ecology)

Why Study Ecology at Tallinn University?

The doctoral study programme of ecology pursues the international traditions and aims of organising a doctoral study programme of natural sciences. The study programme was started in 1994 and has been granted full accreditation. The main aim is the preparation of doctoral thesis where the criterion of assessment is participation in international research discussion. So far, 27 doctoral students have successfully defended their theses and have been awarded with PhD degree. The study programme participates in the Tartu University Doctoral School of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.

Have a look at our laboratories


Objectives of the Programme

  • to facilitate comprehensive and systematic academic education in natural sciences, and to create opportunities for self-reliant research work at internationally recognised level;
  • development of competencies for working as highly qualified academicians, specialists in the research institutions, public and private companies and local authorities assuring the development of speciality.

Admission Requirements


Programme specific requirements:

  • Admission exam (motivational discussion) is based on the plan for the doctoral thesis that is agreed with the prospective supervisor.
  • The plan of doctoral thesis must be presented together with the admission documents or sent in scanned format with the supervisor's signature to the programme coordinator professor Tiiu Koff tiiu.koff@tlu.ee.
  • For the purposes of identity verification at the admission procedure the Admission Committee has the right to take a screenshot during the oral part of the admission exam carried out via video bridge.
  • English language: B2 level

Possible thesis topics and defended doctoral theses

Please see the defended doctoral theses HERE.

Detailed Study Programme


What are the Career Options After the Studies?

  • An internationally accredited doctoral diploma enables you working as a researcher, teacher and  top expert in Estonian, EU and international institutions at employment positions that require a doctoral degree. Most of the previous graduates of the study programme continue research at various universities, some outside of Estonia.

Contact us!

Professor, programme coordinator: Prof Tiiu Koff
study counselor: Kristin Part 
  • For additional guidelines regarding admission procedure please contact the international admission specialist.
    E-mail: admissions@tlu.ee
  • Skype: tu.degree (Thursdays 10:00-12:00 GMT+2) NB! Please schedule for a Skype session via e-mail.

aDdressNarva mnt 25, 10120 Tallinn