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University of Helsinki

The University of Helsinki was established in Turku in 1640, and the university continues to celebrate its anniversary on the date of the establishment of the Royal Academy of Turku, 26 March. Once Finland gained its independence in 1917, the university assumed a central role in building the nation state and its welfare. Members of the university community promoted the fledgling state’s international interaction and economic development. The University of Helsinki is the oldest and largest institution of academic education in Finland, an international scientific community of 40,000 students and researchers. In international university rankings, the University of Helsinki typically ranks among the top 100. The University of Helsinki seeks solutions for global challenges and creates new ways of thinking for the best of humanity. Through the power of science, the university has contributed to society, education and welfare since 1640.The University of Helsinki has 11 faculties, and it provides teaching on four campuses in Helsinki: the City Centre, Kumpula, Meilahti and Viikki. In addition, the university has research stations in Hyytiala, Varrio, Kilpisjarvi and Kenya.

The University of Helsinki is the only Finnish university to be a member of the League of European Research Universities, or LERU, an association of 21 leading European universities promoting the conditions and opportunities for basic research in Europe.

Of the University of Helsinki’s teachers and researchers, 22% are from outside Finland. The University currently has just under 2,000 international Master’s and doctoral students. Approximately 800 students embark on a student exchange every year. Meanwhile, the University of Helsinki receives approximately 1,000 incoming exchange students every year.

Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki (HYMY) The Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki (HYMY) is one of the largest doctoral schools in Europe with over 2,400 doctoral students (about 13% of all Finnish doctoral students) in eleven different doctoral programmes:

  • Social Sciences
  • Economics
  • Political, Societal and Regional Change
  • Theology
  • Law
  • Philosophy, Arts and Society
  • Language Studies
  • Gender, Culture and Society
  • History and Cultural Heritage
  • School, Education, Society and Culture
  • Psychology, Learning and Communication

The backgrounds of our doctoral students are very multidisciplinary and cover well over 100 majors from classical languages to social sciences. These numbers include only students who already have a master degree. There are three other doctoral schools at the University of Helsinki (Doctoral School in Health Sciences, Doctoral School in Biological, Environmental and Food Sciences and Doctoral School in Natural Sciences).

New doctoral schools were launched in 2014 because the whole doctoral education system was renewed at the university of Helsinki. The goals for doctoral schools are: to improve cohesion and quality of doctoral education, to enhance the conditions for better supervision and substantial doctoral education and to ameliorate national and international visibility of doctoral education in the University of Helsinki.

The main tasks of the new doctoral schools are the following:

  1. HYMY coordinates doctoral education on its own fields and on the university level (HYMY makes decisions on general principles and many times also practicalities of doctoral education in HYMY, create “best practices” etc.) HYMY also supports and advises other actors working with doctoral education at the university and outside.
  2. HYMY grants and allocates funds for doctoral education (within budget limits); operating funds for doctoral programmes, funding for travels, dissertation completion grant etc.
  3. HYMY organizes events and courses for doctoral students (focus has been to organize courses in career opportunities, academic writing, research ethics and methods and other transferable skills but also research based courses e.g. “Science in Society”.)
  4. HYMY follows doctoral education internationally & monitors doctoral education in the school. HYMY is also responsible for the programmes which participate in national or international networks in doctoral education


Team members
Dr. Minna Palander-Collin Dr. Minna Palander-Collin is Director of the Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki. She is Professor of English Language and Head of Discipline. Her research focuses on the history of English, language variation and change, corpus linguistics, and language as a tool for building identity.



Dr. Kirsi Korpiaho Kirsi Korpiaho is a Senior Advisor at the Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences, in the University of Helsinki. Her special interests are doctoral education, educational and academic organizations, learning at work, renewal of work practices and participatory approaches in qualitative research. She defended her doctoral thesis “The Student Learner on the Shelf: Practical Activity and Agency in Higher Education” in 2014, and graduated in 2015 from the Aalto University, department of Organizations and Management. Between the years 2003-2015, she was an active member, and one of the founders, in the research project called Management Education Research Initiative. Her articles have been published e.g. in Studies in Continuing Education, The Handbook of Experiential Learning and Management Education, Scandinavian Journal of Management. Her master´s thesis on bookkeepers´ work and learning won the Best Master´s Thesis prize in 2003.


Mikko Juusti, M.Soc.Sci Mikko Juusti graduated from University of Helsinki in 2016 with a master’s degree in Social Science History. After his graduation, he worked as a student advisor in Faculty of Social Sciences and Faculty of Law, before starting in his current position as a coordinator in Doctoral School in Humanities and Social Sciences of University of Helsinki. In his daily work, he administrates and develops Doctoral School functions regarding travel grants, dissertation compilation grants and General competence studies.

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