Doctoral studies

This page gives you an overview of doctoral studies at the University of Tartu: the programmes, regulations, planning stages, stipends and more. 

The University of Tartu offers eight doctoral programmes, which are coordinated by faculty-based centres for doctoral studies. Each programme contains multiple specialisations offered by the faculty. Doctoral studies are provided by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, the Faculty of Social Sciences, the Faculty of Medicine, and the Faculty of Science and Technology.

Read more about admission to doctoral studies

Doctoral programmes before the 2022/2023 academic year

Doctoral programmes and centres

Transferable skills training

Doctoral studies at the University of Tartu

The University of Tartu has 1,136 doctoral students, comprised of around 30% international students.  University in brief

Research is the main component of doctoral studies, constituting at least 75% of the programme. The focus in all the activities of a doctoral programme is the doctoral thesis, other academic activities and study support the research process and provide transferable competencies. If you study on a full-time basis, you can complete your degree in approximately four years. About 120 doctoral degrees are defended annually at the University of Tartu.

Doctoral students conduct research under the guidance of their supervisor, often as a member of a university research group. In addition to a University of Tartu supervisor, doctoral students can have a supervisor from another university or R&D institution. An industrial doctoral student conducts research that is relevant to a company or institution. Doctoral students can make use of one of a number of funding opportunities to gain international experience.

The goal of doctoral education is to cultivate the research mindset, to nurture flexibility of thought, creativity and intellectual autonomy through an original research project.

Salzburg Principles, European University Association (2010)

A doctoral degree prepares you for an academic career and a variety of jobs outside academia as a lead professional specialist. In addition to specialisation and field-specific knowledge and skills, the holder of a PhD has an advanced capacity to formulate research questions and handle complex problems, management and teamwork as well as the ability to communicate clearly.

Industrial doctorate

Joint supervision agreement (cotutelle)

Organisation of doctoral studies

The University of Tartu's doctoral studies are organised by the Regulations for Doctoral Studies (RDS; see web version). The RDS includes the general rules of supervision, the individual plan, progress reviews and the degree application procedure. 

The University's good practices are recommended reading for all doctoral students, especially Good Practice of Doctoral Studies. 

For general study-related issues such as registration to courses, recognition of prior learning, etc., see Study Regulations. General study instructions and guidelines are also available here.

Faculty-specific requirements, such as faculty progress review procedures, are available on faculty doctoral studies pages.


Document forms

Graduate supervision


Planning and completing doctoral studies

This sub-page refers to the main requirements for individual plan, progress review and doctoral candidate, as well as links to guidelines and document forms. 

Learn more

Research integrity

Data protection in research

Status and funding of doctoral students

This sub-page gives an overview of doctoral student’s status and the different possibilities to fund your doctoral studies. There is no tuition fee for doctoral students at the University of Tartu, including international students. However, it is essential to understand the different conditions and opportunities arising from different statuses. You can find more information on the following link.

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Study abroad

Mobility scholarships

Networking opportunities for doctoral students

Estonian Doctoral school

The Estonian Doctoral School supports cooperation between universities to improve the quality and attractiveness of doctoral studies. The school enables Estonian doctoral students to make interdisciplinary and international research contacts and use self-development opportunities. A separate series of events aims to support the development of supervision skills.

The project will be implemented by the University of Tartu, with the Estonian Academy of Arts, Estonian University of Life Sciences, Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre, Estonian Business School, Tallinn University of Technology and Tallinn University as partners.

Doctoral theses defences

Defended theses

Doctoral defence: Üllas Linder "Adam Reinhold Schiewe. Biography of the Founder of the First Estonian Baptist Congregation"

10. juunil kell 16.15 kaitseb Üllas Linder religiooniuuringute erialal doktoritööd „Adam Reinhold Schiewe. Esimese Eesti baptistikoguduse rajaja elulugu“.
Illustration with lines

Opening of the Estonian Centre of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence

Enlighti kaasatuse konkurss

University of Tartu students welcome to apply for ENLIGHT Inclusion Award 2024