The Tallinn University School of Governance, Law and Society is a competence centre for social research and practices. At our institute, it is possible to study social sciences at the Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral level.

NB! Dear Applicant! Here is important information you should know, when applying to Tallinn University during COVID-19 virus situation.

School of Governance, Law and Society offers the following internationally recognised English-based degree programmes:

Bachelor's Studies
Liberal Arts in Social Sciences
Law studies in Helsinki
Politics and Governance
Master's Studies
International Relations
NEW! Social Entrepreneurship
NEW! Human Rights in the Digital Society
PhD Studies
Government and Politics
Social Work

PhD Project-Based Topics:

Admission deadlines

Required Documents


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


PhD Project-Based Topics

  • Subjective well-being in early childhood (5-8yrs). Supervisors: Karmen Toros, PhD, Professor of Social Work at Tallinn University SOGOLAS and Päivi Marjanen, Phd, at Laurea.  Doctoral Candidate position dealing with subjective well-being of children in early childhood (5-8 years old), the development of a child-friendly subjective well-being indicators and the usefulness of well-being data. The ideal candidate has a background in studying the subjective wellbeing of small children (5-8 years old) and experience in working as a project manager in a government research project focusing on the subjective well-being of children. Knowledge and experience of the multi-method Mosaic approach, which combines activity with traditional research methods, will be considered as an advantage. The research projects run in Espoo and Tikkurila in Finland by Häme/ Laurea Universities of Applied Sciences. Finnish language skills are required because of the field studies with Finnish speaking young children.
  •  Ethical competence in digitalization - the changing operational environment in social and health care sector. Supervisors: Merike Sisask, PhD, Professor of Social Health Care at Tallinn UniversitySOGOLAS and Soile Juujärvi, PhD, Principal Lecturer at Laurea.  This Doctoral Candidate position deals with the ethics of health and social care management. The position is related to investigating and advancing issues of the healthcare ethics from the perspective of healthcare management and digital services. The current reform of the health and social services system in Finland emphasizes the integration of services, and consequently, the role of digital services is regarded important for enhancing customer-friendliness and efficiency of service paths. The successful reform requires new competences, i.e. ethical competence, and the transformation of organizational cultures in which managers are the main agents of chance. An ideal candidate has experience and knowledge of real-life ethical dilemmas of healthcare managers. The candidate should have a solid theoretical background and experience in healthcare ethics through former studies and/or work experience as, e.g., a manager of a healthcare unit. The candidate should have good command of English and Finnish because the field studies will be run in Finland involving Finnish-speaking informants. Detailed knowledge of the Finnish health care system will be considered as an advantage, as well as skills in analyzing survey data. The candidate will obtain empirical data for the dissertation research from the ongoing and future projects in Laurea University of Applied Sciences. COPE (Competent Workforce for the Future) is a consortium project funded by the Academy of Finland, the Strategic Research Council in 2016-2019, exploring the transition in health and social services and its impact on employment, competence needs and competence development. One set of the data will come from the COPE survey for healthcare professionals, enabling comparisons between the educational levels of professions in terms of the reported real-life ethical dilemmas. Other sets of data concerning ethical issues of digital services and organizational change will be obtained in forthcoming projects still in the application process. High quality of the research projects will ensure the quality of the data and support from the research team.
  • Bridging water safety and security gaps. Supervisors: Mika Aaltola, PhD, Professor of International Relations and European Studies at Tallinn University SOGOLAS and Päivi Mattila, PhD, Senior Manager, Head of Research Program at Laurea. The Doctoral Candidate position deals with bridging water safety and security gaps. The ideal candidate has a sound background and experience in water security, risk and crisis management and safety and security research. Knowledge of physical security, cybersecurity and emergency preparedness as well as a future standardization of water security technologies and protocols will be considered an advantage. Good command of English is a prerequisite. The research projects run in Espoo, Finland at the Laurea Universities of Applied Sciences. Finnish language skills are required because of the field studies and cooperation. Formal teacher education is an advantage because of the project includes stakeholder training.
  •  Reducing the gender age gap. Supervisor: Marge Unt, PhD, Professor and Senior Research Felow. Tallinn University is offering one full-time and fully funded doctoral student position to conduct research in a PhD project in Sociology The PhD position is offered for 4 years, starting on 1 September 2019. The position is available within the project Reducing the gender wage gap in Estonia (REGE) with research consortium led by Prof. Marge Unt and co-lead by Ass. Prof. Kadri Täht. REGE is focusing on the gender wage gap as one of the most central indicators reflecting inequality in the society. The project studies inequality of earnings, its short term as well as long term consequences. Estonia has the highest gender wage gap in Europe, which is only marginally explained by the different labour market position of women. The gender wage gap is related to interlinked processes at the micro (individual), meso (workplace) and macro (institutions, norms) level, which form the bases of the project. Innovative aspects of the project include the analysis of the wage dynamics over the life course, stressing the role of norms and expectations, as well as highly innovative machine learning and data mining methods used in data analysis. Among the outcomes of the project are digital tools to increase awareness of the gender wage gap and test different solutions. The PhD student is expected to have a very good knowledge of quantitative methodologies (intermediate or advanced level); experience working with quantitative data to perform intermediate level analyses using statistical software such as STATA and/or R); and experience or interest working with qualitative data. The doctoral researcher can propose their own project within the aims and scope of REGE.

Contact us:

  • For additional guidelines on admission procedure please contact the international admission specialist:
    Skype: (Thursdays 10:00-12:00 GMT+2) NB! Please schedule for a Skype session via e-mail.
  • Specific questions regarding the programme should be directed to the programme coordinator.