Key features

  • Qualification: Doktor
  • Qualification in English: Doctor
  • EQF level: 8
  • Cycle: Third cycle
  • Thesis required: Dissertation
  • Nominal length: 3-4 years / 180-240 ECTS credits
  • Access requirement: Master’s degree or a corresponding long-cycle qualification
  • Access to further study: Doktor (Doctoral) programme


Doctoral programmes represent the third cycle of higher education with the purpose of acquiring knowledge and skills necessary for independent research, development or professional creative work. Doktor is a research degree obtained after the completion and public defence of a dissertation (doktoritöö) – independent research or creative work.

Degree titles

Estonian universities award the following doctoral degree:
Filosoofiadoktor – Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), with an indication of the field of study or the area of specialisation.

Learning outcomes

In order to be awarded a doktorikraad, a student shall:

  • have broad knowledge and systematic overview within his or her field of research and in-depth and up-to-date knowledge within a narrower sphere of the field of research;
  • understand the meaning and scope of the existing knowledge and research methods of the field of research and between fields so as to extend, revaluate and formulate them as necessary;
  • be able to independently and critically analyse, synthesise and evaluate new and complex ideas relating to the field of study, as well as creatively and with scientific accuracy identify and formulate research questions;
  • have command of research methods of his or her field of research;
  • be able to act independently a in complex, including international work and study environment, including in research which requires leadership and team work skills, innovative thinking and the ability of making strategic decisions;
  • be able to initiate, design, implement and critically evaluate research and development projects that lead to new knowledge and new procedural solutions;
  • be able to provide scientific ethical assessments, show insight into the possibilities and limitations of science, the social role of science and the responsibility of people in the use of scientific achievements;
  • be able to analyse social norms and relationships, comply therewith and act to change them as necessary;
  • be able to present orally or in written form the problems and conclusions relating to the branch of science and his or her research, and the underlying theories, both to specialist audiences and in communication with non-specialists, and to present reasons and participate in relevant discussions in the language of instruction and a foreign language essential for his or her field of study, as well as to publish original scientific results in internationally pre-reviewed academic publications or, in fields of study related to arts, creative works for international audience;
  • have an ability to identify his or her need of further knowledge or skills and support the studies of others both in the context of education and science as well as on a wider social level;
  • be able to hand down with competence his or her knowledge by teaching, instruction or in another manner.