Sociology 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: English, Estonian
Field of Study: Social Sciences, Business and Law 
Conferred Degree: PhD (Sociology)

See study program here

Objectives of the Programme:

  • to create opportunities for acquiring the highest scientific qualification in sociology;
  • to support developing of knowledge and skills to act as an independent professional expert;
  • to create conditions for independent academic work in teaching and research at universities or research institutions.

Learning Outcomes

  • has broad knowledge and systematic overview of sociological research fields, methods and theoretical perspectives;
  • is able to orient in scientific sociological literature, find necessary information, critically evaluate, analyse and synthesize information;
  • is able to plan and conduct professional international scientific and development activities based on the principles of ISA (International Sociological Association) code of ethics and to critically analyse and evaluate the results;
  • is able to participate in international professional and social discussion, present research findings and affect social decision-making processes;
  • is able to critically analyse the prevailing norms of society;
  • has competence to work as a researcher, lecturer and expert.

What Do We Expect from an Applicant?

Sociology is engaged in society, the actions of people and their consequences. We are looking for people who are interested in the surrounding world and wish to acquire knowledge to be able to understand and analyse relationships between people and cultural and social structures. We presume a master’s degree in social sciences or an equal university diploma. Prior studies in sociology and mastering of research methods, or interest towards these is an advantage.

Why Study Sociology at Tallinn University? 

  • The study programme relies on the academic staff of TU School of Governance, Law and Society, thus enabling to involve highly qualified researchers in the field of sociology as supervisors and consultants.
  • There are three internationally evaluated research fields in School of Governance, Law and Society, doctoral students are involved into implementation of research grants and international projects.
  • School of Governance, Law and Society has studied various areas of Estonian society, such as lifestyles or social segregation and participated in international studies with other research establishments by using both qualitative and quantitative research methods in conducting surveys.
  • The researchers in the field have extensive international connections, for acquiring research experience it is possible to participate in conferences, seminars, summer schools and study within the Erasmus programme at foreign universities.
  • The study programme is flexible and enables every doctoral student to organise their studies in cooperation with the supervisor and select a proper preparation in regard to research subject.
  • Based on the doctoral study programme an individual plan is compiled for every doctoral student, which also takes into account the need to work;
  • There is an equalising module for students from other specialisations, which allows smooth settling in;
  • The study programme is accredited.

What are the Career Options After the Studies?

An internationally accredited doctoral diploma enables working as a researcher, teacher and top expert in Estonian, EU and international institutions at employment positions, which require a doctoral degree.

Admission Requirements

2024/25. priority topics for admission:

1. Labour market, work and/or education processes in Estonia or in comparative perspective
2. Societal processes from a life course perspective
3. Diversity and integration from culturally oriented perspective

Read more about the topics here

For general requirements, please read admission to PhD Studies.

Programme specific requirements:

  • Admission exam is an interview on the subject of the project of thesis, assessment of publications of the candidate of doctoral study, assessment of the level of academic achievement of the candidate of doctoral study.

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:

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:  Triin Vendik   phone: 6409 452  E-mail:
  • For additional guidelines regarding admission procedure please contact the international admission specialist.