Doing a PhD with Matti

Doing a PhD is an opportunity to expand your knowhow on a topic and work with the most recent scholarly know-how. It takes about four to five years and requires a good understanding of both theory and methods. I primarily supervised students who situate themselves at the Helsinki Social Computing Group.

Starting your PhD studies

First, we must establish an important difference between the study right for PhD studies and the funding for your studies (covered more extensively in the next section). Formally, you can apply for the right to study twice a year: September and April. Your studies must be located in a Doctoral Programme, I can supervise students in the Doctoral Programme in Political, Societal and Regional Changes (the best fit for political science-oriented students, including technology-focused political science students) and the Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences (best fit for social data science, computational social science, computationally-oriented communications and media studies as well as technology-focuses studies in social sciences). The application process itself is not painful but before it…

  1. I supervised students working in areas of social computing, computational social science and social data science who are interested in areas of politics and technology and doing good social science with computing. Please see my research page for more details.
  2. Please contact me first via email and briefly present your topic. I will quickly scan them through and if the topic seems interesting, I will invite you to my office hours. Ideally, this is about two or three months before the application deadline.
  3. During the office hours (there can be several), we need to outline the focus of the thesis a bit more and work together on your application documents to PhD studies.
  4. Before applying, you should visit the Helsinki Social Computing Group and present your topic to the group. Ideally, this takes place about one month before the application deadline.
  5. You must submit your application on time and the University of Helsinki will inform you about the results before the start of the next semester.

Funding your PhD studies

In Finnish universities, there are some primary avenues to fund your work during your PhD studies.

  • Project-based funding means your PhD work is aligned (to some degree) with goals set up by the research project. We have various types of projects with different problem formulations, goals etc. Any open positions I have published here with additional details.
  • Individual research funding can be applied from the university (through salaried positions) or various foundations. Here the PhD student themselves must put quite a bit of effort into the applications and formulation of the research project. These funding venues are also highly competitive. I will naturally comment on the applications and provide references when requested, but the doctoral candidate thrives in this process.
  • Self-funding your research means just how it sounds: you may have a work contract with some other organization, and you do your PhD on top of your existing work. I rarely recommend this option, as PhD studies are non-trivial and require some time.

As these three options suggest, there are several ways to get funded to do research. These must be considered a bit while doing the application, but sadly just getting the rights to do a PhD is not a promise to fund conducting these studies.