The application period for 2017-2018 has ended.

Please read the Call for applications carefully before filling in the application form. Call for Application in pdf form.

The International Doctoral Programme in Epidemiology (IPPE) in the School of Health Sciences, University of Tampere, Finland, is a doctoral training and research program for highly qualified epidemiologists, researchers and public health personnel worldwide who are aiming at a PhD degree in epidemiology or related public health sciences.

The School of Health Sciences is one of the leading research institutions with international recognition at University of Tampere. Degree programmes include bachelor, master and doctoral levels, and have a strong emphasis on research methods training. Doctoral Programme faculty are involved in several international collaborative research projects. Teaching and research in the School of Health Sciences are multidisciplinary and include the fields of biostatistics, epidemiology, community health, gerontology, health economics, nursing science, occupational health, social psychiatry and social and health policy.


Programme goals

The main objectives of the IPPE Programme are to increase knowledge and understanding of major public health problems, particularly in low and middle income countries, and to build sustainable public health capacity in these countries by working with global partners in training epidemiologists and public health personnel for leadership positions in research, administration, program planning and policy development.


Programme content

The IPPE Programme consists of intensive theoretical and practical training in epidemiology, biostatistics and other public health sciences, weekly research seminars and individual supervision. Although the core epidemiology and biostatistics curriculum content is required for everyone, the students are given considerable latitude in selecting additional courses and the program may be tailored to meet individual learning and professional goals. Please see previous course descriptions.

The selected PhD candidates will spend the 2017-2018 academic year (August-May) in Tampere to complete the required coursework curriculum. During the academic year in Finland, the PhD candidates also prepare a comprehensive research plan for their PhD thesis. The bulk of field research, data analysis and reporting, however, is generally conducted after completion of coursework. The candidates have the option of working on their PhD project in Finland or abroad. Completion of a doctoral degree usually requires 3-4 additional years of research work. The doctoral dissertation usually requires four original scientific papers published in international, peer-reviewed journals and a thesis synthesizing the research findings. After successful public examination and defense of the dissertation, a doctoral degree (PhD) in epidemiology or related public health discipline is awarded.


Major fields of study and research


Methods in epidemiology and biostatistics

Epidemiologic research methods

Biostatistics and statistical computing

Logistic regression

Survival analysis

Longitudinal data analysis

Systematic reviews and meta-analysis


Infectious disease epidemiology and vaccine programs in public health practice

Prevention and control of infectious diseases

Public health surveillance

Outbreak investigations

Public health policy development

Evaluation of immunization programs

Molecular epidemiology


Epidemiology and prevention of cancer

Cancer epidemiology

Screening for disease

Radiation epidemiology


Non-communicable diseases

Cardiovascular disease epidemiology

Epidemiology of diabetes, allergy and asthma

Research on health promotion of children and adolescents

Nutritional epidemiology

Occupational epidemiology

Epidemiology of ageing


Selection criteria

Doctoral students are selected on the basis of their merits in past education and work experience in public health, their language skills and scientific writing ability, as well as demonstrated success in the field of public health practice and epidemiology. Strong applicants already work in a research project which can be used as material for PhD thesis, or have an available dataset and a feasible research plan.

Applicants should submit a preliminary research plan as part of their application. Research plans are evaluated for:

    • Public health relevance/significance of the topic
    • Background and rationale for the study
    • Appropriateness of methods (in relation to study objectives
    • Feasibility of implementation (study materials and subjects, methods, timeline, available infrastructure, collaborators
    • Overall quality and clarity of the research plan (appropriate theoretical background, concepts, structure, style)



A PhD degree requires 240 ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credit points. The IPPE coursework accounts for 60 ECTS and the dissertation for 180 ECTS.



A master’s degree (at least 4 years of study comprising the BSc and MSc degrees) in a relevant field, including epidemiology, public health or biostatistics, or a medical degree from an accredited university. Basic knowledge of epidemiology and proof of proficiency in English are required.


Duration of studies

The duration of the coursework curriculum is one academic year (August 2017 to May 2018). Full time participation in the program requires 10 month residency in Tampere, Finland. Obtaining the doctoral degree usually requires 3-4 additional years after completion of the coursework.


Tuition, accommodation, living and travel cost

Currently, no tuition or course fees are charged for doctoral students accepted in the IPPE Programme (equivalent to full scholarship).

Students are expected to cover their travel, accommodation and living costs in Finland. They are encouraged to apply external support for this purpose.

Research funding and financial aid opportunities for doctoral students are available from the School and several external funding sources on a competitive basis. The programme staff will assist in the application process. However, acceptance to the programme does not guarantee financial aid.

Students accepted to IPPE Programme with research projects related to cancer epidemiology may apply for a stipend from the Finnish Cancer Society on a competitive basis.



Application period for the Academic year 2017 – 2018 is from November 14, 2016 to January 13, 2017.

Applicants who qualify for the second stage of the selection process will be invited to video interviews which are held between 17 to 27, February 2017.


Application information and form

Please submit all your application documents through the University’s online application system , by 15.45 (CMT +2) on January 13, 2017, and submit ALL the following attachments with your application (maximum file size for a single attachment is 5mb).

Note! The application form will be open during the period of November 14 – December 23, 2016 and again on January 9 – 13, 2017 due to maintenance break on the system.

  1. Cover page (max. 1 page)

–          Full name

–          Citizenship

–          Country of residence

–          E-mail address

–          Title of the research plan

–          Highest degree and year obtained

–          Names, titles, affiliations and e-mail addresses of up to three (3) persons who will provide a letter of recommendation

  1. Curriculum vitae (max. 5 pages)

–          Please use the Europass format (in English)

–          The list of publications should be organized as follows: international peer-reviewed publications, other publications

–          Include a list of completed epidemiology courses (level, number credits)

  1. Motivation letter (max. 1 page)
    The motivation letter describes your personal goals for PhD studies  It should address the following:

–          Why do you want to pursue doctoral studies in the IPPE Programme?

–          How will PhD studies complement your previous education and professional experience?

–          What new skills and opportunities are you looking for in the IPPE Programme?

–          How do you plan to use the experience gained in IPPE training after completing the PhD degree?  What are your future career goals?


  1. Research plan (Please see detailed guidelines, max. 8 pages including summary and references)
  2. Photocopies of degree certificate(s) and official transcript(s) of records certified by a notary public (as a single pdf-file)
  3. Certificate of proficiency in English for academic purposes. For this requirement, no exceptions will be granted.
    There are two ways of indicating your English language proficiency;

–           Previous studies

    • A Master’s degree in English in a university in an EU/ EEA country, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom or the United States.

–          Language tests

    • TOEFL, Test of English as a Foreign Language; 90/Internet-based, 575/paper-based
      (NB: scores from “TOEFL ITP / institutional testing programme” are not accepted.)
    • IELTS (Academic), International English Language Testing System; 6.5 with no individual score below 5.5
    • PTE (Academic), Pearson’s Test of Academic English; 62
    • Please note that the language test score must be valid throughout the application period.
  1. Copy of your passport


Note! Applications must adhere the above guidelines.

Additional documents are not considered.

Contact information

Secretary of doctoral studies Ms. Tiina Kangasluoma
Programme e-mail

Visit us on the web

Programme Director Pekka Nuorti MD, PhD, Professor of epidemiology