Apply to doctoral study at Theatre Academy 2019

Theatre Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki
Admission to the Doctoral Studies Programme in Artistic Research in Performing Arts



The application period is 31 August – 12 October 2018.

New doctoral students

The University of the Arts Helsinki’s Theatre Academy will admit a maximum of 6 new doctoral students to commence studies in the autumn term of 2019.

Doctoral studies and research at the Theatre Academy are organised by the Performing Arts Research Centre (Tutke). Performing Arts refer to the disciplines represented at TeaK: acting in Finnish and in Swedish, directing, dramaturgy, lighting design, sound design, dance, dance performance, choreography, dance and theatre pedagogy and live art and performance studies. Doctoral studies and research carried out at Tutke are defined as artistic research. As stated in Tutke’s mission and vision 2017-2020, artistic research is academic, multidisciplinary and collective research realised in the medium of art. Graduates from Tutke’s doctoral studies programme are artist-researchers with a Doctor of Arts (Theatre and Drama) or a Doctor of Arts (Dance) degree.

During the doctoral studies the student carries out an artistic research project on a topic of his or her choice and acquires the skills and knowledge of an artist-researcher. As experts in their field, artist-researchers develop and regenerate the arts, create art, research and teach art. The students engage in a comprehensive and critical dialogue with society. They create art and produce information, knowledge, and insights based on art-related practices that can also be applied outside of the arts. Doctoral training develops the artist-researchers’ ability to apply their skills as artists, researchers, teachers, and experts in their field.

The scope of the doctoral programme is 240 ECTS credits: the doctoral research is worth 180 ECTS credits and to some extent contact teaching in research skills is worth 60 ECTS credits. Applicants are advised to carefully read the current degree requirements. Courses are offered in both Finnish and English, and excellent English skills are therefore recommended, and they are essential for applicants planning to complete their entire doctorate in English. The doctoral degree can be completed either in Finnish or in English.

Tutke provides its doctoral students with limited financial support for doctoral research projects. Tutke hosts six salary-paid doctoral trainee positions with a fixed term. When they become open, doctoral students can apply for them in accordance with the recruitment announcements. Doctoral students are encouraged to proactively apply to appropriate external parties for doctoral research funding.




Applicants can be admitted to doctoral studies if they have completed one of the following:

  • an applicable higher university degree
  • an applicable higher degree at a polytechnic or university of applied sciences
  • an applicable degree outside of Finland permitting one to enrol in similar university studies in the country of the degree.

An applicant who is deemed by the University to have sufficient information and knowledge required for the studies can also be admitted as a doctoral student. The University can oblige doctoral students to undertake necessary courses to attain required skills (Universities Act 24 July 2009, 558/2009, section 37).

Language skills

In order to be admitted to Tutke’s Doctoral Studies Programme in Artistic Research in Performing Arts the applicant must have sufficient language skills in Finnish, Swedish, or English. The applicant must demonstrate the language skills with prior studies or a language certificate.

The applicant does not need to demonstrate the language proficiency in case:

  • The applicant has obtained the general education or completed a university degree in Finnish or Swedish.
  • The applicant has obtained the general education or completed a university degree in English in an EU or EEA country, the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand. The language of the degree must be mentioned in the degree certificate or its attachment, the transcript of study records, or some other official document issued by the institution in question.

If the applicant does not meet these requirements, the language skills can be demonstrated by a certificate of a completed language test.

A National Certificate of Language Proficiency in Finnish or Swedish that is completed at intermediate B2 level can be accredited as proof of language proficiency if the applicant achieved level 4 on at least two of the subtests. One of the subtests must be writing.

The recognised English language tests and their minimum score requirements:

  • TOEFL (IBT = Internet Based Test, PBT = Paper Based Test)
    • Total score: 92 (IBT), 580 (PBT)
  • IELTS (Academic) 
    • Overall Band Score: 6.5
  • Cambridge CAE/CPE (CAE = Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English, CPE = Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English) 
    • Grades accepted: C/C1
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic) 
    • Total Score: 62

The following admission criteria are applied in the selection process.

University of the Arts Helsinki’s general selection criteria:

In order for an applicant to be admitted into the doctoral programme, the key selection criteria are

  • the artistic and research-oriented importance, relevance, and feasibility of the applicant’s research plan
  • artistic and/or art pedagogic and/or research merits and/or professional experience within the arts
  • research merits and abilities for independent research
  • the applicant’s commitment to persevering in the studies at the doctoral level and dedication to the completion of the doctoral studies in accordance with the degree requirements
  • the connection of the research plan to the disciplines and/or research profile of the University of the Arts Helsinki
  • the availability of relevant supervision at the three academies of the University of the Arts Helsinki for research presented in the applicant’s research plan.

Tutke’s selection criteria: 

  • the applicant’s research plan must be connected to the disciplines represented in the abovementioned bachelor- and master-level programmes at the Theatre Academy
  • the research plan has to be compatible with Tutke's degree requirements and Tutke’s mission and vision 2017-2020, and it must be executable in Theatre Academy’s context
  • the applicant must show a strong artistic experience in the abovementioned fields of performing arts represented at the Theatre Academy
  • the applicant is required to be able to work both independently and in groups and to commit to creative artistic research on a long-term basis.



The online application complying with the application instructions must arrive at the Theatre Academy by the deadline of 4.00 p.m. on October 12, 2018 at Finnish time. The application shall be submitted through the portal and the Embark platform. The application must include an online application form and appendices in an electronic format. The application can be submitted in Finnish, Swedish, or English. Note: Applications or parts of an application that are posted/sent by post, couriered, submitted in person or sent per email will not be accepted.

The application must include the following attachments:

  • Online application
  • Research plan (maximum of 3.000 words)
    • ​The research plan must include a comprehensive description of the research idea, its context and realization. The plan must include descriptions of the artistic parts that the planned doctoral research comprises, as well as its planned schedule. A preliminary list of references for the research must also be appended, as well as a preliminary study plan and a preliminary funding plan.
  • Abstract of the research plan (a maximum of 400 words)
  •  Curriculum Vitae (maximum of 3 pages)
    • The CV must include personal data (including year of birth), prior education, artistic and/or pedagogic experience, publications and other merits that the applicant deems profitable for doctoral study. Scanned copies of degree certificates and the language proficiency certificates must be appended to the application. If the degree is completed outside of Finland, a clarification of the educational system in the country in question and the level of completed education in this system is required in Finnish, Swedish, or English as an appendix.
  • Prior artistic activity of the applicant (corresponding to a maximum of 10 pages and/or 30 minutes audio-visual material)

If the applicant so wishes, a limited portfolio of his or her prior artistic activity can be appended. The portfolio is submitted in an electronic format. The portfolio can include photos, programme leaflets, reviews, log excerpts, and video or sound recordings. Only materials uploaded on the Embark platform will be evaluated. Links in the portfolio pointing to external websites will not be considered.

The research plan must comply with the guidelines on the responsible conduct of research by the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity.

The research plan provided by the applicant may be checked for plagiarism on the Turnitin plagiarism detection platform. 

When writing a research plan, the following questions may be helpful:

  • What do you want to research, and what is your research question?
  • How do you want to research, and how do you plan to implement your research?
  • Why do you want to research this topic?
  • Why is this topic relevant now?
  • How is your personal artistic or art-pedagogy-related background connected with your research topic?
  • How is your research connected to the traditions of your field?
  • What methods will you apply in your research or develop for your research?
  • What are the artistic elements of your research and how do they answer your research question?
  • What are the conceptual and theoretical starting points of your research?
  • What kind of results will the research produce? 
  • How does the research develop the art field it represents?
  • What is the societal relevance of your research?


1. Complete and submit an online application on the Studyinfo website. 

When you have submitted your application, you will receive a confirmation email for your application. The email will include your application number, which you will need for submitting your appendices. In technical problems related to Studyinfo, contact

2. When you have completed and submitted your application, you will submit your appendices via the electronic Embark platform.

Start by registering and creating an account in the Embark platform. Then fill in your Applicant information including your application number from Studyinfo. Next, state your Application information; i.e. to which of the three academies of the University of the Arts Helsinki you are applying. Finally, upload all necessary appendices for your application in an electronic format submit them for evaluation. Upload and submit the materials in good time before the deadline so that you have enough time receive user support in case you experience technical problems with the Embark platform.

Embark platform manual

If you cannot find answers from the manual pages, you can also send email to or click Contact Us found in the bottom of each page. The Embark customer service responds to support requests quickly (usually within 24 hrs) which is the fastest way to look for help in technical problems. NOTE! The service provider is situated on the east coast in the United States, so consider the time difference! 



31 August 2018

The application period starts

12 October 2018 at 4.00 p.m.  Finnish time

The application period ends

November 2018

1. stage: The admission board’s members who are Tutke’s faculty choose the applicants to be interviewed on the basis of their applications

28–29 November 2018

2. stage: Applicants accepted to the second round are interviewed

December 2018

The admissions board decides who to invite to the third round and notifies the applicants

January 2019

3. stage: The research plans of the applicants invited to the third round are further developed and supervised as agreed

4 February 2019

The applicants submit their upgraded research plans

March 2019

The Research Council of the Theatre Academy makes the decision on the new doctoral students based on the proposal of the admissions board and the professors in artistic research

1 April 2019

Admission results are published

A hint! It is a good idea to book time for yourself to revise the research plan from December 2018 to February 2019.

The admissions are the responsibility an admissions board, which consists of professors, lecturers, and researchers at the Theatre Academy.

The admissions procedure has three stages. In the first stage, the admission board’s members members who are Tutke’s faculty choose the applicants to be interviewed on the basis of their applications. During the interviews (second stage), the selected applicants have a possibility to expand upon their plans for artistic research and their artistic work. In the third stage, the selected applicants develop their research plans with support from assigned supervisors. After the third stage, the admissions board discusses the applicants on the basis of the supervisors’ statements, and the professors in artistic research make a proposal to the Theatre Academy’s Research Council concerning the candidates to be admitted to the doctoral study programme. The Research Council makes the final decision on the admissions.



The admissions results will be announced on Friday, 1 April 2019 on the University of the Arts Helsinki’s website at for the applicants who have given their consent on the application form for publishing their names. Successful candidates will receive an email from the Academy of Fine Arts after the publication of the results.



An applicant who is dissatisfied with the admissions decision by the Dean is entitled to submit a written request to review the application within 14 days of the announcement of the decision. The appeal request must be submitted in writing to the University of the Arts Helsinki’s registry.

How to submit an appeal request and what to include

The request must be submitted to the registry within 14 days after the publication of the admissions decision. Requests for appeals are sent at the sender’s own risk. If you submit the appeal request by email, write the name of the appropriate academy on the subject line. The name and contact details of the appellant and the statement, as well as the grounds for the request must be included

Contact information for the registry:

University of the Arts Helsinki Registry
P.O. Box 38 / Töölönlahdenkatu 16 C
FI-00097 University of the Arts Helsinki