Admission to Doctoral Studies in the Humanities

This page provides you with information about admission to the doctoral programme in the Humanities. Admission requirements may differ depending on the speciality in question. In addition to admission requirements and conditions, this page also provides information regarding currently active open calls in doctoral studies.

The Doctoral programme in Humanities combines 22 specialities coordinated by the Institute of History and Archaeology, the Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics, the Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics, the Institute of Cultural Research, the School of Theology and Religious Studies, and the College of Foreign Languages and Cultures.

Learn more about the necessary documents and different stages of applying for doctoral studies

< Back to Doctoral studies in Humanities

 

Applying for doctoral studies in the Faculty of Arts and Humanities in the 2022/2023. academic year

  • April 15: more detailed information about admissions becomes available on the homepage 
  • May 1 - May 15: time to submit your application if you have received your Masters´s abroad 
  • June 1 - June 15: time to submit your application if you have received your Masters´s in Estonia
  • July 15: last admissions decisions 
  • August 29: beginning of the new academic year 

 

Open calls

At the Faculty of Arts and Humanities the main intake is in May 2022. 

Starting from the 2022/2023 academic year in most cases the admitted doctoral student will work as a junior research fellow at the university. In some cases, admission may be for a study place without a work contract. Details are specified under speciality admission information. Read more about status and funding of doctoral students.

Open calls

Finding a prospective supervisor before applying for the programme is essential for a successful application. To find a supervisor, visit the institute´s website or contact the speciality representative. 

History, Archaeology, Art History Janet Laidla (janet.laidla@ut.ee

Linguistics, Finno-Ugric Studies Ann Veismann (ann.veismann@ut.ee

Philosophy https://filsem.ut.ee/en/sisu/list-department-philosophy-faculty 

Semiotics and Culture Theory https://filsem.ut.ee/en/node/116576 

Estonian Literature, Comparative Literature Studies, Theatre Research, Folkloristics, Ethnology Kristin Kuutma (kristin.kuutma@ut.ee

English Language and Literature, French Language and Literature, Spanish Language and Literature, German Language and Literature, Russian Language and Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Classical Philology, Translation Studies Raili Marling (raili.marling@ut.ee

Religious Studies and Theology https://ut.ee/en/school-theology-and-religious-studies 

Programme admission requirements and evaluation criteria

 

General admission requirements:

  • doctoral thesis project
  • admission interview

In the first stage of assessment, the doctoral thesis project will be assessed. In the second stage of assessment, there is an interview.

Both the doctoral thesis project and admission interview are assessed on a scale of 0 to 50 points, the minimum positive score is 35 points. Each components gives 50% of your overall score with a maximum overall score of 100 points. If you score at least 35 points out of 50 for the thesis proposal, you will be invited to attend an entrance interview.

Speciality admission requirements

The requirements for the doctoral thesis project and the evaluation criteria can differ depending on the speciality. Below you will find specific conditions and requirements for every speciality, as well as contact information in case you have further questions.

Doctoral thesis project (3–5 pages) should contain the following:

  1. topic of the doctoral thesis, the purpose and overview of the research – what kind of a problem the thesis is going to solve;
  2. name of the prospective supervisor;
  3. theoretical context: a short summary of the nature of the problem and the most important related research;
  4. research methods: the research methodology that will be used to solve the problem and that is necessary for such work;
  5. hypotheses: expectations for the results, their novelty and importance;
  6. planned format of the doctoral thesis;
  7. sources;
  8. planned schedule of doctoral studies: conducting research and studies, studies abroad, research projects and other activities related to the specialty done at the university and outside the university.
     

Doctoral thesis project assessment criteria:

  • novelty of the topic (originality and authenticity or novelty of results);
  • the applicant’s ability to find and formulate the research problem (a clear research purpose and hypotheses used as a basis of the thesis);
  • adequacy of research methods;
  • knowing their way around the sources;
  • feasibility of a thesis on this topic and its relation with the applicant’s earlier research;
  • feasibility of the planned timetable.

The curriculum vitae of the applicant is used to consider the following:

  • prior work experience and education of the applicant
  • professional development of the applicant
  • motivation of the applicant


Interview is used to assess the following:

  • ability to connect the research project with previous scientific work and academic career (the number and quality of publications will also be assessed)
  • ability to present the main idea, problem and stages of the planned doctoral thesis
  • the perspective of completing the doctoral programme successfully within the nominal study period.

Speciality representative: Janet Laidla, janet.laidla@ut.ee

Learn more on the Institute website

The doctoral thesis project (length up to 3 pages) must include the following:

  1. justification for the choice of the topic and the research purpose;
  2. main issues dealt with in the thesis and an illustrative structure (recommended);
  3. short overview of the most relevant former research in the field;
  4. presentation of the research methodology;
  5. illustrative list of literature;
  6. timetable for the work.

The project is assessed from the perspective of its research quality, including the following:

  • whether and how much the topic complies with the main research areas of Estonian and Finno-Ugric linguistics and has been approved by the supervisor;
  • whether and how much it includes the justification of the novelty of the perspective;
  • whether and how much it provides an overview of the main sources and literature;
  • whether and how much it shows that the applicant is familiar with the main issues of the topic;
  • whether and how much the applicant indicates the possible courses of action to find a solution

Interview

Doctoral thesis projects are defended during an interview. Applicants present their projects and answer questions from admissions committee members.

The assessment of the project defence covers the following:

  • ability to relate the project with their earlier research and academic career (incl. the quantity and quality of publications);
  • ability to present the idea, problems and main stages of the work;
  • motivation to complete doctoral studies successfully on time.

The assessment of the feasibility of a doctoral thesis project covers the following

  • links of the project with larger research projects;
  • existence of the infrastructure and other resources required for the work;
  • relationship between the applicant’s former research and the proposed doctoral thesis;
  • applicant’s overall competency in the field and earlier research, in view of the experience and professional development presented in their CV.

Speciality representative: Ann Veismann, ann.veismann@ut.ee

Learn more on the Institute website

Doctoral thesis project (3–5 pages + references)

  1. Present a research question or a set of research questions which the doctoral project will answer.
  2. Contextualize the research question(s): describe the state of the debate in the relevant literature and, on this basis, explain why it is important to address the research question(s)--show that by answering this question, you will make a valuable contribution to the current state of debate in the relevant literature.
  3. Explain how you will work out the answers to your research question(s). If you have ideas about what the answers are to your research questions, then explain how you will defend these answers.
  4. Present a work-plan: explain how you will fit your strategy for answering your research question(s) into the timeframe of doctoral work at the University of Tartu: how you will meet the requirements and deadlines at each stage of your PhD. Your plan must be plausible. In presenting your plan, you must show that you really do understand what work is required to achieve each of the requirements by the relevant time.

The doctoral thesis project will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:

  • the ability of the applicant to understand and adequately formulate the research question(s);
  • whether answering the research question(s) really does/do make a valuable contribution to the literature the thesis is meant to be a contribution towards;
  • the applicant's knowledge of the relevant philosophical literature;
  • whether the applicant’s strategy for answering their research question(s) is both clear and convincing;
  • whether the applicant’s work-plan shows that the student understands the requirements of a doctoral degree at the University of Tartu to the extent required to complete the degree on schedule;
  • whether the applicant’s application overall provides a compelling reason to believe the candidate will produce not just passable research, but research of high quality that will contribute both to the good standing of the candidate and the UT Department of Philosophy;
  • the feasibility of the work proposed, given the supervision competencies available at the University of Tartu Department of Philosophy. 

Writing sample

The candidate’s CV must include a list of research work already completed by the candidate. When applying for a PhD position in Philosophy it is strongly recommended that the candidate adds to her CV a writing sample, which will be taken into account when assessing the candidate’s proposed research project. The writing sample’s length should correspond to the length of a typical philosophy paper in the field of Philosophy on which the candidate wishes to write their doctoral thesis (but certainly no longer than 50 pages).

The writing sample will be assessed in accordance with the following criteria:

  • the clear presentation of a claim to be defended;
  • the clarity of argumentation in defence of this claim;
  • the validity, soundness and convincingness of the argumentation;
  • how well structured the writing sample is;
  • whether the writing sample is up to date with the relevant literature;
  • whether the writing sample has been published/is forthcoming in a journal of good quality;
  • relation to the proposed doctoral thesis: i.e. applicants whose writing sample supports the view that the applicant is competent in the area the doctoral thesis will be a contribution towards are likely to score higher than applicants whose writing sample shows no such support.

Interview will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • the extent to which the applicant’s interest, prior education and/or work experience suit the objectives and learning outcomes of doctoral studies;
  • skills in analysis, argumentation, and self-expression;
  • the extent to which the applicant shows they will be an active contributor to the intellectual community of the University of Tartu Department of Philosophy;
  • the extent to which the applicant seems capable of meeting the requirements of the University of Tartu Philosophy speciality on time, and to a high standard;
  • readiness for continuous learning and professional development.

Speciality representative: Alexander Stewart Davies, alexander.stewart.davies@ut.ee

Learn more on the Department website

Doctoral thesis project must specify the following:

  1. topic of the thesis,
  2. summary of the nature of the problem and themost important related research;
  3. purpose of the research – what kind of a problem the thesis is going to solve;
  4. the applicant’s ability to find and formulate the research problem (a clear research purpose and hypotheses);
  5. research methodology that will be used to solve the problem; adequacy of research methods;
  6. novelty of the topic (originality, authenticity of results);
  7. expectations for the results – their novelty and importance;
  8. preparedness to deal with the topic, knowledge of the relevant materials,
  9. relatedness with earlier research or work in the field;
  10. knowing their way around the sources.
  11. preliminary agreements with supervisors;
  12. ability to be in Estonia during the studies.

During the interview the following is assessed:

  • oral justification for the thesis project;
  • motivation to begin the studies;
  • oral presentation skills.

Speciality representative: Alexander Stewart Davies, alexander.stewart.davies@ut.ee

Learn more on the Department website

The structural elements of a doctoral thesis project (5000–9000 characters) are:

  1. topic of the doctoral thesis. The purpose and overview of the research – what kind of a problem the thesis is going to solve;
  2. theoretical context – a short summary of the nature of the problem and the most important related research;
  3. research methods – the research methodology that will be used to solve the problem and that is necessary for such work;
  4. hypotheses – expectations for the results, their novelty and importance;
  5. planned format of the doctoral thesis; and
  6. sources.

The assessment of the feasibility of a doctoral thesis project covers the following:

  • compliance with the applicant’s former research and the proposed doctoral thesis;
  • applicant’s overall competency in the field and earlier research, based on the experience and professional development presented in their CV;
  • preliminary agreements with supervisors at the University of Tartu.

Interview

The defence of the thesis project takes is conducted as an oral interview, based on the doctoral thesis project and relevant issues of the speciality. Applicants are assessed on the basis of their knowledge of the field, the clarity, depth and scope of the problem, the clarity of the working hypotheses, the applicant’s preparedness for research in the field, their oral and written presentation skills, and their motivation and preparedness to complete doctoral studies successfully on time.

Speciality representative: Kristin Kuutma, kristin.kuutma@ut.ee

Learn more on the Institute website

Doctoral thesis project (3–5 pages):

The project must clearly define the research question, justify its relevance and relevance in the field, describe the proposed data inventory (incl. the principles of data collection), main secondary sources and methodology for solving the research problem. Requirements for doctoral thesis projects:

  1. research topic complies with the main research areas of the institute;
  2. clearly formulated research question;
  3. justification of the novelty of the perspective;
  4. knowledge of the main issues in the field and the ability to position ones thesis there;
  5. description of the methodology to be used;
  6. overview of the main sources and literature; and
  7. possible courses of action to find a solution.

The project should include information on the earlier research experience (master’s thesis, research presentations, publications) and possible preliminary agreements with supervisors.

Interview

The oral interview consists of the applicant´s 10-minute presentation for the admissions committee and a discussion on relevant issues of the speciality related to the doctoral thesis project.

Interview is based on a CV, that is submitted together with the online application. The CV provides an overview of the applicant’s earlier studies and research, thus also showing the applicant’s preparedness and research maturity. Interview is also used to assess the applicant´s motivation and expectations for doctoral studies.

Assessment of the thesis project (maximum score is 50 points):

  • relevance in the field and connection with the main research areas of the institute (max 20 points);
  • methodology and theory (max 20 points);
  • feasibility (max 10 points).

During the interview, the following is assessed (maximum score is 50 points):

  • educational background and work experience in the field (based on the CV), (max 15 points);
  • motivation for studies and work in the field (max 15 points);
  • ability to present the research material and explain the bases of theory and methodology of the thesis project (max 20 points).

Speciality representative: Raili Marling, raili.marling@ut.ee

Learn more on the College website

Doctoral thesis project must specify the topic of the doctoral thesis in Estonian or in English and in the original language if it is not Estonian or English, accompanied by the field(s) of study (up to three) associated with the topic, based on the CERCS (Common European Research Classification Scheme) classification.

A doctoral thesis project must include the following:

  1. research topic;
  2. reasoning of the choice of the topic, delimitation of the topic in the field of study, and the research purpose;
  3. short summary of former research on the topic;
  4. presentation of the research methodology;
  5. presentation of the preliminary structure of the thesis;
  6. presentation of the hypothesis, where necessary;
  7. list of possible source materials; and
  8. timetable for writing the thesis.


The recommended length of the project is up to 5 pages (12 500 characters with spaces), and it must include the name and the signature of the applicant and the date.

Doctoral thesis project and its feasibility is assessed based on the following:

  • the novelty of the topic;
  • the applicant’s ability to find and formulate the research problem and purpose;
  • adequacy of research methods;
  • knowing their way around the sources;
  • feasibility of the chosen project and relatedness with earlier research or work in the field.

Applicant´s CV is used to consider:

  • previous work experience and educational background;
  • candidate´s motivation.

Interview takes 15 minutes. The applicant has 5 minutes for presenting their motives and the project they have submitted with their application. The remaining 10 minutes are used for asking the applicant questions about their motivation and thesis project. The exam may take place, at the applicant’s choosing, either in Estonian or in English.

The interview will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • ability to connect the research project with previous scientific work and academic career;
  • the temporal perspective of completing successfully the study programme within the nominal study period.

Speciality representative: Ain Riistan, ain.riistan@ut.ee

Learn more on the Faculty website

Doctoral programme in Humanities

#research #for society

Doctoral defence: Ahenkora Siaw Kwakye “Transcendence, as a theme in theology and technology”

On 11 October at 18:15 Ahenkora Siaw Kwakye will defend his doctoral thesis.
13.09.2022
13.09.2022
#research
Rõõmsad isa ja poeg rannas

Research news: children's well-being, poetry structures, gut bacteria of 100-year-olds, and forest mortality

31.08.2022