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Doctoral Programme in Law

Doctoral Programme in Law

The following major subject is included in the Doctoral Programme in Law:

Requirements of eligibility for the Doctoral Programme in Law

  • Master of Laws degree (juris magisterexamen) or an equivalent international higher university degree within Law
  • those who have completed a Bachelor of Social Sciences and a Master of Social Sciences in a jurisprudential major subject at Åbo Akademi University, are eligible for the Doctoral Programme in Law to take a degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD). No supplementary studies are required.
  • those who have completed a Master of Social Sciences within the Master’s Degree Programme in International Law and Human Rights, are eligible for the Doctoral Programme in Law to take a degree of Doctor of Laws (LLD). Supplementary studies can be required.
  • those who don’t have a Master of Laws degree or the above-mentioned degrees of Bachelor of Social Sciences and/or Master of Social Sciences, can be admitted on weighty reasons. A study right can be granted on the basis of a Master’s degree in another discipline or an appropriate vocational higher education degree, provided that the applicant, after separate evaluation, is assessed to have the knowledge and proficiency required for doctoral studies in Law.  Supplementary studies can be required; the supplementary studies are always decided case by case.


Doctoral researchers, who prior to 1.8.2023 have been admitted to the Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences with a jurisprudential major subject, have the right to apply for a transfer to the Doctoral Programme in Law. Application is made by submitting an updated individual study plan to Research Services. The permission for the change of doctoral programme is granted through a Dean’s decision.


Special criteria for admission to the Doctoral Programme in Law

In accordance with the Faculty Council’s decision, the research plan (max total 10.000 characters with spaces; not including references) must include the following:

  • Abstract (max. one half A4 sheet)
  • Background (theoretical and empirical relevance)
  • Aim and objectives of the research
  • Research methods and materials as well as risks and ethical considerations
  • Implementation (timetable, preliminary plan of financing), research environment and list of references

You will find further information on the application process at Apply for Doctoral Studies.


Study plan for the Doctoral Programme in Law

The Doctoral degree (240 credits) includes:

  • Research studies (40 credits)
  • Doctoral dissertation (thesis) (200 credits)

If you choose to complete your Licentiate degree (120 credits), this includes:

  • Research studies (40 credits)
  • Licentiate thesis (80 credits)

A Doctoral degree taken after a Licentiate degree only includes a Doctoral dissertation (thesis) (120 credits).

In the individual study plan (ISP), you must state the year in which you plan to complete your degree. The average length of time needed is 60 credits per academic year in full-time studies, amounting to 4 years in total. If you deviate from this schedule, you must provide an explanation for doing so.


Doctoral studies within the Doctoral Programme in Law

The doctoral studies within the Doctoral Programme in Law (40 credits) must support your thesis work. You are to plan your studies together with the supervisor. You may complete your studies at Åbo Akademi University or another university.

The faculty recommends that working life skills are included as part of the doctoral studies (equivalent to 10-20 credits). Working life skills consist of, for example, teaching and supervision work, pedagogical competences, communication, scientific writing, computer skills and language proficiency, and studies in university pedagogy.

Updated 19.10.2023