Planning and completing doctoral studies

The University of Tartu's doctoral studies are organised by the Regulations for Doctoral Studies (RDS). 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.


Document forms

Individual plan

The individual plan is the doctoral student's research and study plan, compiled in cooperation with his or her supervisor(s). During the progress review the review committee assesses the doctoral student’s academic progress in doctoral studies and research and in their completion of the individual plan.

After the doctoral student has been matriculated, the individual plan is compiled for the whole period of doctoral studies; this is a general plan of action. Together with the progress report, the doctoral student submits the individual plan for the next semester/study year; this is a more detailed action plan. The doctoral student compiles the individual plan for the entire study period as well as the detailed plan for the first semester within two weeks of matriculation. With the progress review report, the doctoral student submits the updated individual plan for the next review period.

Progress review

At the progress review the review committee assesses the doctoral student's progress in research and studies based on their curriculum and fulfilment of the individual plan.

First year doctoral students are reviewed twice: one semester after matriculation and two semesters after matriculation. From the second year onward, the progress of the doctoral student is reviewed once per academic year, two semesters after the last progress review.


Progress review procedure

Applying for a doctoral degree

The following prerequisites must be fulfilled for applying for a doctorate:

1. The doctoral curriculum has been completed, i.e. all the compulsory modules of the doctoral curriculum and all the courses have been completed and the prescribed volumes have been reached, except for that of the doctoral thesis. The completion is checked on the basis of the data in the SIS. The defence of the thesis is part of the studies and successful defence will result in the number of points missing from the volume of the thesis. For those who complete the doctoral curriculum as external students, all the credit points of the thesis will be entered on the basis of the defence.

2. There is a duly made and printable manuscript of the doctoral thesis. In the case of an article-based thesis at least two of the three research articles must have been accepted for publishing by a journal and the third may have been peer-reviewed by the editorial board of a leading international research journal or collection or by two internationally recognised independent researchers selected by the council. The author of a monograph must have published or received an acceptance for publication for at least one research publication on the topic of the doctoral thesis.




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