Government and Politics PhD

Study level PhD studies

Duration of study 4 years

Language Estonian English

Available places 4


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

See study program here

Objectives of the Programme

  • to give a possibility to acquire a PhD degree for those working in fields requiring an academic qualification in government and politics; 

  • to provide advanced knowledge on current political and social science theories; 

  • to complement the analytical and theoretical abilities through philosophical courses;

  • to support the students develop into highly qualified lecturers, scientists and specialists in order to assure the sustainable development of the field.

Learning Outcomes

  • has achieved the highest state level of competence in the academic sciences and analytical skills and has also acquired a broad knowledge base through extensive reading;

  • has developed into a creative scientist possessing an innovative attitude;

  • is qualified as an independent researcher and able to effectively participate in Estonian and international research networks;

  • has acquired the scientific competences necessary to apply for project funding and to organize groups;

  • is competent to teach and support the learning process for students;

  • can introduce specific knowledge related to Political Science within the larger context of society; can participate in discussions across the spectrum of society and influence the social decision process.

What Do We Expect from an Applicant?

The curriculum is open to individuals interested in acquiring a higher qualification in the study of government and politics.
Doctoral studies do not necessarily demand previous education in social or government studies. While education in the subject field does make it easier, the main criteria for acceptance are the applicant’s explicit interest and the idea for the thesis. It is advisable to consult with the potential supervisor(s) when formulating the subject for the thesis.

Prospective applicants are advised to pass the master's studies programme first, when preparation in the studies of government and politics is inadequate. This is an individual choice, based on the idea for the doctoral thesis, the motivation of the applicant, time constraints and advice from the supervisor.

Why Study Government and Politics at Tallinn University?  

  • the research area in the School of Governance, Law and Society is internationally evaluated and nationally accredited;

  • the lecturers are leading specialists in Estonia and include seven professors: Rein Ruutsoo (Prof. Emeritus), Georg Sootla, Anu Toots, Raivo Vetik, Leif Kalev, Erik Terk (Prof. Emeritus), Peeter Selg (administrator of the curriculum);

  • doctoral seminars in the study of Government and Politics take place at least once a month and provide feedback from professors and fellow doctoral students;

  • participation in conferences, seminars, summer schools and studying within the ERASMUS programme in foreign universities is supported in order to gain international experience;

  • the School provides as much help as possible in order to get the doctoral students’ written works published in journals such as Acta Politica Estica and in Studies of Transition States and Societies, which is published in collaboration with the Institute of International and Social Studies;

  • the School endeavours to accommodate individual expectations and work schedules;

  • the doctoral students of Tallinn University are exempt from tuition fees. In addition, it is possible to apply for scholarships from University funding.

What are the Career Options After the Studies?

Internationally accredited PhD diploma allows you to work on positions requiring a PhD degree as managers and senior experts in Estonian, European Union and international institutions.

Admission Requirements

2024/25. priority topics for admission:

Government and Politics:

  1. "Public policy making from the viewpoint of politics and/or governance". Potential Supervisors: Peeter Selg, Georg Sootla, Triin Lauri.
  2. "Citizenship, migration and integration from the viewpoint of politics and/or governance". Potential Supervisors: Leif Kalev, Mari-Liis Jakobson, Tõnis Saarts, Raivo Vetik

International Relations:

  1. "A Critical Relational Approach to Peace and Security".

Potential Supervisors: Birgit Poopuu ja Benjamin Klasche


  1. "Questions of the methodology of organising social relations - solving current problems by institutionalised law and its alternatives" 
  2. Current issues of EU law and politics

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.

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

  • (1) 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) 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: https://www.tlu.ee/en/yti/contact-us

Supervisors research field can be found here: https://www.etis.ee

Contact us!

  • Specific questions regarding the programme should be directed to the School of Governance, Law and Society:  Triin Vendik   phone: 6409 452  E-mail: yti-ope@tlu.ee

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

    Contact us!