Social Work PhD

Study level PhD studies

Duration of study 4 years

Language Estonian English

Available places 2


Duration: 4 years (8 semesters)
Cost: Free
Language of Instruction: Estonian, English
Field of Study: Health Sciences
Conferred Degree: PhD (Social Work)

See study program here

Objectives of the Programme:

  • to create opportunities for acquiring the highest scientific qualification in social work;
  • to support the development of competencies for a professional career as an independent expert in the field of social work;
  • to create pre-conditions for the development of a new generation of researchers and lecturers with independent research skills for institutions of higher education and for social welfare and health institutions.

Learning Outcomes:

  • has expanded knowledge and systematic overview in social work, in-depth knowledge on a specific research topic;
  • possesses knowledge and skills for implementation of social and health sciences research methods;
  • has skills for independent critical analysis and synthesis;
  • has knowledge and skills for participating in international research and development activities;
  • is able to plan, implement and critically evaluate professional research and development actions;
  • is able to present the results of their research  orally and in writing both  in Estonian and a foreign language to international scientific communication (in conferences and in scientific publications);
  • is able to communicate specialized knowledge,  supervise scientific work and  arrange professional studies;
  • is able to participate in social discussions,  present results of their research in argumentative form and influence social decision-making processes.

What Do We Expect from an Applicant?

We recommend that you consider an application to the doctoral study of social work if you wish:

  • to acquire in-depth knowledge of the science of social work;
  • to develop skills to participate in the research and development of social work and social policy, present research results in the international scientific literature of social work and at conferences;
  • to develop skills for working as a university lecturer for forwarding knowledge of social work, social policy and organise specialised training;
  • to participate in public discussions, present research results in a well-reasoned manner and influence the social decision-making processes.

Admission Requirements

For general requirements, please read admission to PhD Studies.

Programme specific requirements:

  • Admission exam(interview) is based on the plan for the doctoral thesis that is agreed with the prospective supervisor. Information about the plan for the doctoral thesis:

Structure of the PhD proposal (5-10 pages+references):        

  • (1) the subject of the doctoral thesis, including a brief summary of the research problem that the doctoral thesis seeks to solve
  • (2) objectives of the research, main research questions and tasks or work hypotheses
  • (3) a brief overview of the most important thematic previous studies and theoretical standpoints with literature references
  • (4) the data and research methods that are intended to be used to solve the research problem, including sampling principles
  • (5) work plan, resources necessary for doctoral studies and potential risks
  • 6) why did you choose Tallinn University?

* The PhD proposal must be agreed upon and signed by a potential supervisor.

Supervisors contacts can be found here:

Supervisors research fields can be found here:

Contact us!

  • Specific questions regarding the programme should be directed to the School of Governance, Law and Society:
    Ave Põldmets-Ruut
    Academic Counsellor - Specialist


  • For additional guidelines regarding admission procedure please contact the international admission specialist.