Tallinn University of Technology

Forms of Doctoral Studies at TalTech

At Tallinn University of Technology you can obtain a PhD degree as Early Stage Researcher, Industrial Doctoral Student, Doctoral Student or External Student. Each form of doctoral studies is essentially different. Continue reading for a detailed description.

The Early Stage Researcher is employed by the university, working in the structural unit of their Supervisor, and is guaranteed a salary for the entire nominal duration of the doctoral programme (4 years).

Admission to Early Stage Researcher positions is competitive and determined by the applicant's ranking within the applicant pool. Applicants are evaluated and ranked based on their academic abilities, achievements and motivation according to the documents submitted to the competition and the interview with the Supervisor. 

The industrial PhD position enables a top specialist working in a company or organization to complete their doctoral studies and obtain a doctoral degree in a topic related to research, development or innovation in the field of their profession. This, in turn, is an opportunity for a company / organization to include the university's academic competence in solving an important research problem within their field.

In other words, an industrial PhD means research cooperation between a company / organization and the university, for the conclusion of which an agreement is signed. The industrial doctoral candidate must have a valid employment contract with their employer and their work in the company / organization must be closely related to their future doctoral thesis.

It is the employer's responsibility to appoint a co-Supervisor or Consultant for an Industrial Doctoral Student, who is responsible for meeting the research and development objectives of the company / organization. The co-Supervisor must meet the requirements established for a university Supervisor (a doctoral degree), a doctoral degree is not required from a Consultant.

Admission to industrial doctoral studies takes place in accordance with TalTech's Rules for Doctoral Studies.

Additional information is available from the Supervisor and the PhD Programme Director.

Read more about industrial doctoral studies

A Doctoral Student completes doctoral studies as a student without having a PhD-study-related employment relationship with the university or another organization outside the university.

Foreign applicants must have a valid Estonian residence permit or right of residence and a permanent legal income in accordance with the provisions of the Aliens Act.

Further information can be obtained from the Supervisor and the doctoral Programme Director.

Those who have a master's degree, who work outside the university and want to complete a doctoral degree on their chosen research topic while continuing to work, are welcome to study as External Students. As an External Student, you can also complete your degree if you have previously been admitted to a doctoral position but have interrupted your studies.

External Students complete their doctoral studies within the Open University. They must apply again every year to participate in course work. They do not have legal PhD student status. However, the doctoral thesis of an External Student is defended as is usual for PhD students.

To begin as an External Student, you first need to find a Supervisor from the university. To do this, contact the potential Supervisor or the doctoral Programme Director directly.

The Open University admission deadlines can be found on the open university website.

Applying to Doctoral Studies

Anyone with a master's degree or equivalent qualification, a desire to create something new and a willingness to contribute 4 years to research is welcome to apply for a doctoral position.

The principles of PhD admission are established in Chapter 3 of the university's Rules for Doctoral Studies.

For each Early Stage Researcher position, a public competition is announced. Applications to available positions can be submitted within three admission periods during the year. You can apply to one position per admission period. Competitions open to applications are listed below according to PhD programme and speciality. Applications are accepted only through the official application platform Glowbase.

In order to enrol as an Industrial Doctoral Sudent, the applicant must submit the documents listed below to their Supervisor at TalTech. The admission of an Industrial PhD Student is approved by the doctoral Programme Director on the basis of the documents submitted by the Supervisor.

To apply for a Doctoral Student position, the Supervisor at TalTech must submit a research plan prepared in collaboration with the applicant, including a timetable for carrying out the research; and all the application documents mentioned below. The number of Doctoral Student positions is limited, admission takes place twice a year: before the beginning of the autumn semester and before the beginning of the spring semester. The admission of a Doctoral Student is decided by the doctoral Programme Director within the given limits to the number of Doctoral Student positions and on the basis of the documents submitted by the Supervisor. NB! Foreign applicants must have a valid Estonian residence permit or right of residence and a permanent legal income in accordance with the provisions of the Aliens Act.

Requirements for PhD Application Documents

When applying for any PhD position at TalTech, you are required to submit the following documents with your application by the deadline to which you are applying:

  • Curriculum Vitae, incl. details about your education and research experience;
  • Copy of the identification page of your passport or official Estonian identification document (ID-card, Temporary Residence Permit card);
  • Foreign applicants must submit proof of English language proficiency which must be at least B2 level according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. You can either submit an English language test certificate (IELTS Academic, TOEFL iBT, Cambridge English or Pearson Test of English Academic) or a written confirmation by an official from your degree awarding institution that you have completed your master´s degree programme taught fully in English.
  • (A) Scans of original qualification documents OR (B) scans of certified true copies* of original qualification documents. All the following qualification documents must be submitted with your application:
  1. your bachelor’s degree diploma in its original language;
  2. an official English translation of your bachelor’s diploma (if not provided by the awarding institution);
  3. your bachelor’s academic transcript in its original language;
  4. an official English translation of your bachelor’s academic transcript (if not provided by the awarding institution);
  5. your master's degree diploma;
  6. an official English translation of your master’s diploma (if not provided by the awarding institution);
  7. your master’s academic transcript in its original language;
  8. an official English translation of your master’s academic transcript (if not provided by the awarding institution);

*See the requirements for certified true copies below.
**See the requirements for official translations below.

Please note!

  • All submitted documents must be high quality, easily readable files in PDF format (max 1 MB per document).
  • If the applicant is in the process of completing the last semester of ongoing studies and has not received a diploma yet, the application can be submitted with a provisional certificate of academic results by the university. The obtained diploma will be required as soon as it is available but at latest by the enrolment (matriculation).
  • If the applicant is a graduate of an Estonian university, they do not have to submit their bachelor's degree qualification documents nor proof of English language proficiency.
  • If possible, please provide digitally verifiable qualification documents or links to the original documents in the degree awarding institution's database.
  • The Supervisor has the right to ask the applicants for additional documents during the admission period.
  • Read the position description carefully and include all required documents / materials with your application.  
  • When uploading PDF files, try converting them to a suitable size with online tools for PDF conversion.


After you have received an official offer for the PhD position and you have confirmed your acceptance of the offer, you will be asked to provide certified true copies (and certified translations, if the original document has not been issued in English) of your academic qualification documents, unless you have graduated from an Estonian university.

If you live abroad, you must send the documents by express post to the following address:

PhD Admission U04-209
Research Administration Office
Tallinn University of Technology
Ehitajate tee 5
19086 Tallinn
Phone: +372 530 800 99

Please note!

  • A certified copy is a copy of the original document certified either by a notary with a stamp and signature or by the university (the document must bear a seal and a signature of an authorised official; in case of translations, signature and seal of sworn translator).
  • A printout is not a certified copy.
  • If there is relevant information on the backside of the document, please provide true copies of both sides.
  • If possible, the university can send us the documents directly in a sealed envelope or provide an electronic access link to original documents.
  • Hard copies of diplomas and transcripts should be sent only upon the request of the PhD Admission officer.
  • Do not send original official documents by post. Any documents you send will be kept by the university and not returned.

In case the original qualification documents are not issued in Estonian or in English, official translations in English are required in addition to the documents in the original language. An official translation must be one of the following:

  1. Issued by the degree awarding institution
  2. A certified true (notarized) copy of a translation issued by the degree awarding institution
  3. Translated and certified by a sworn translator
  4. A certified true (notarized) copy of a translation made by a sworn translator

A certified true (or notarized) copy of a document is one which has been verified as a true copy of the original document. As a general rule the document must be certified by a notary.

Image of a certified true copy

Admission Schedule for Academic Year 2022/2023

Summer Admission

Submission of documents:
1 June - 30 June 2022

Deadline for interviews:
31 July 2022

Approval of candidates:
19 August 2022

26 August 2022

How to Apply

  • Available Early Stage Researcher positions are published below, see the Available PhD Positions section.  
  • Applications to Early Stage Researcher positions are accepted only through the official application platform Glowbase. It is not possible to apply by e-mail.
  • During one admission period you can only apply to one position.  
  • Please read the following steps carefully before applying!

There are 4 PhD programmes at TalTech:

  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Science
  • Engineering Sciences
  • Business, Economics and Governance

Get to know the available PhD positions.  

Register an account on Glowbase. Once you have registered, you will receive a confirmation email with your password and account access information.

You may only create one account, applicants with multiple active accounts will be disqualified.

  1. Log in to your Glowbase account to start working on your application.
  2. Add your personal details.
  3. Select the PhD position you wish to apply for.
  4. Select the correct Research Field. The selected research field must correspond to the research field stated in the description of the PhD position.  
  5. Provide a motivation letter (max 2 pages in A4 format), which should include your reason for choosing the specific PhD position, your current academic and professional background, and how the research topic relates to your previous education and (research) activities. Describe what motivates you and what you want to achieve as a result of your doctoral studies. The motivation letter should also answer the question what is the impact of doctoral studies on your future career, research and society at large.

See the section for required application documents. It is mandatory to submit all the required documents with your application. Incomplete applications will be disqualified.

Make sure you have uploaded all the required documents in the correct manner and submit your application in time.

If it is not possible for you to submit the required documents by the application deadline, you can apply to a position in the next admission period. Please note that your desired position may not be available in the next admission period, however there will be new positions to choose from.

If you have passed the initial review and are invited to an interview, the Supervisor will contact you directly. Otherwise, all feedback regarding the status of your application will be sent to you in Glowbase.

Available PhD Positions

The Early Stage Researcher positions open for applications are listed below, by PhD programme and speciality. Make your choice and apply!

NB! The positions open for applications during the autumn admission period of the 2022/2023 academic year will be published soon. Please check back.




Available positions to be published soon!

Available positions to be published soon!


Information for admitted PhD students

After your application for a PhD position has been reviewed, you have successfully completed the interview with the Supervisor and the decision to admit you has been confirmed, you will receive an official written offer for the PhD position. With the position offer, you will also receive a link to a form where you are asked to confirm your acceptance of the position by signing and submitting the form.

The PhD position offer stands only if all the conditions of enrolment are fulfilled. These conditions include submitting all the required qualification documents in the correct format and, in some cases, having these documents assessed and approved by the Estonian ENIC/NARIC Centre prior to enrolment. 

After we have received your confirmation that you accept the position through the submitted form, including details of your approximate arrival time and address in Estonia, we will send you an official Letter of Acceptance, along with instructions on how and where to send the hard copies of your qualification documents (unless your qualification documents have been verified electronically). In case your qualification documents must undergo ENIC/NARIC assessment, you will be issued a conditional Letter of Acceptance

The Letter of Acceptance is to be presented to officials at the nearest Estonian Embassy in order to apply for a long-stay visa (D-visa) for study purposes.

If you are an EU citizen, you do not need to apply for an Estonian visa. If you are a non-EU citizen, you must check whether the citizens of your country need a visa to enter Estonia. The Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has listed the countries whose citizens do not need a visa to enter Estonia.

NB! Citizens of Ukraine, please note that the normal Estonian visa and residence permit rules for Ukrainians don’t currently apply.

If you need a visa to enter Estonia, you must apply for a long-stay visa (D-visa) for study purposes at the nearest Estonian Embassy in your country or abroad. You can prefill the visa application form online. You must present the Letter of Acceptance (or Conditional Letter of Acceptance) to the embassy. For detailed instructions on applying for a visa, please see TalTech’s International students welcome page

What if you are a non-EU citizen and you do not need a visa to enter Estonia? In that case, please consider that the duration of your visa-free stay in Estonia is usually limited to 3 months. The long-stay visa (D-visa) allows you to stay in Estonia for 365 days. Your nominal doctoral study period, however, is much longer - about 4 years. You will in any case need a Temporary Residence Permit (TRP) which allows you to stay for the duration of your studies. If you are able to arrange your TRP appointment very soon after you have arrived in Estonia without a visa, it is possible that you will receive your TRP before your 3 month visa-free stay ends. However, if your TRP appointment is scheduled 1, 2 or 3 months after you have already arrived in Estonia without a visa, you are going to need to apply for a long-stay visa in order to stay in Estonia until you have received the TRP. 

NB!  Keep the PhD Admission Officer informed about your visa appointment date, arrival date and send a copy of the visa stamp after you have receieved it.

In order to begin and complete your PhD studies in Estonia as a non-EU citizen, you need a Temporary Residence Permit (TRP), as an EU citizen you must obtain Temporary Right of Residence (TRR). 

TRP for non-EU citizens
You must apply for the TRP in person as soon as possible after your arrival in Estonia at the Estonian Police and Border Guard Board office. Appointments can be booked up to three months in advance online - please use this opportunity because the live queues for appointments are very long, especially in Tallinn! You can book an appointment also at an office outside of Tallinn if you find an available time with a shorter queue. The university will provide the necessary official documentation directly to the Police and Border Guard Board for your TRP application. 
You can book your appointment through the PBGB webpage.

TRR for EU citizens
In order to obtain your TRR, you must register your place of residence in the Local Government authority within 3 months from the day of entry to Estonia. Next, you have to apply for an Estonian ID-card within 1 month from obtaining the temporary right of residence. 

For detailed information on applying for TRP and TRR, please refer to TalTech’s International students welcome page.

NB! Please send the PhD Admission Officer your TRP/TRR appointment date and location, and copies of the TRP/TRR from both sides after you have received it!

Whether you’re an EU or non-EU citizen, you must register your place of residence in Estonia. 

For detailed information on registering your place of residence, please refer to TalTech’s International students welcome page.

NB! Please send your registered address also to the TalTech International Staff Centre: internationalcentre@taltech.ee

If you have been admitted to an Early Stage Researcher position, then in order to begin receiving your salary payments, you need a working bank account in an EU country, preferably in Estonia. If you do not have a bank account in Estonia or in another EU member state, you must open a bank account. At LHV bank you can do that with a pending TRP application and an enrolment (matriculation) certificate. You can obtain the enrolment certificate from your Dean´s Office. In order for you to be enrolled (matriculated), it is sufficient that you have arrived in Estonia, provided all the required documents and they have been approved by the Estonian ENIC/NARIC Centre. 

NB! Please insert your Estonian bank account number (IBAN) into your account on the Study Information System (ÕIS) and send it to the TalTech International Staff Centre: internationalcentre@taltech.ee

Your enrolment will be completed after you have arrived in Estonia, on the condition that you have submitted all the required qualification documents in the correct format and, if necessary, these documents have been assessed and approved by the Estonian ENIC/NARIC Centre.

You will receive a notification from your Dean's office about the completion of your enrolment, along with information regarding further steps.

If you have been admitted as an Early Stage Researcher, your employment contract will be concluded shortly after your enrolment is complete.

NB! Please keep the PhD Admission Officer informed about your exact time of arrival in Estonia, in order to complete your enrolment in a timely manner.

As of the autumn of 2022, every Early Stage Researcher employed at TalTech will be paid a monthly salary of at least the average monthly salary in Estonia, in proportion to the his/her workload during the nominal study period. The salary can exceed the Estonian average wage, depending on the particular PhD position.

Estonian health insurance is valid for people who work and whose social tax is paid for or who pay the social tax themselves. The validity of the employee’s health insurance is the responsibility of the employer.

As an employee of the university working under an employment contract, the Early Stage Researcher is legally entitled to health insurance in Estonia. You become eligible for the national health insurance when your place of residence is registered in Estonia, you are working and the necessary social security contributions are paid for you.

The start and termination of your health insurance is related to tax return submissions. Your insurance takes effect after the submission of the tax return and performance of the tax obligation. The insurance stops on the day following the deadline for submission of the next tax return (in case the minimum obligation of the payment of the social tax has not been met).

Read more about the national health insurance on the website of the Estonian Health Insurance Fund.

See also useful information about the Estonian healthcare system.

In case of severe pain or an emergency, please turn to your nearest emergency hospital reception or call the emergency phone – 112. If it is not an emergency, you can try online consultation with a family doctor: Family physician (taltech.ee)

There is no opening ceremony at the beginning of the academic year for doctoral students but depending on your PhD programme, there might be introductory seminars for new doctoral students during the first half of September. Please ask for more information from your Dean`s Office.

Your studies will largely be organised through the Study Information System (in Estonian: ÕIS – Õppeinfosüsteem). You can log in to ÕIS after your enrolment (matriculation) is complete. You do not need to register a user account separately - it is preset for you. You can log in to ÕIS:
•    with Estonian ID card/residence permit card
•    with username and password for TalTech Study Information System 
•    with university UNI-ID (your uni-ID registration information will be forwarded to your e-mail after enrolment is complete). 

When entering the ÕIS for the first time, confirm your personal data and update it if necessary. Enter your bank account number (IBAN). If your personal or contact information (address, phone number, e-mail, IBAN, etc.) changes, be sure to update it in ÕIS as well!

If for some reason it is not possible to enter ÕIS, you can request help from the IT HelpDesk (620 3333, helpdesk@taltech.ee). 
Problems with using ÕIS must be reported within ÕIS using the feedback form. See also ÕIS user instructions.

After your arrival you should first meet your supervisor(s) and discuss the details of your action and study plan for the first academic year. Each doctoral student must, in cooperation with their supervisor, draw up an action plan and individual study plan for their doctoral studies by the deadlines fixed in the academic calendar. 
Please consult your supervisor also about the courses you are going to attend during the semester. 

You can find the timetable of doctoral level courses on the main page of ÕIS (switch to English):

  • On the left side, choose TIMETABLES and then in the new window on right side you will find DOCTORAL STUDIES
  • Click on it and you can find a list of courses which will be taught for doctoral students during the autumn semester. However, not all PhD courses will be published there. Some specific PhD courses can be found from the web page of your School. Contact your Dean`s Office for more information.

Should you need advice or help in study organisation matters, please contact your designated Dean`s Office.

We encourage doctoral students to actively use the possibility to apply for different scholarships and grants during their studies.

More information about scholarships

To learn more about the regulations of doctoral studies at TalTech, please visit the university intranet or the PhD regulations information page.

You can find practical information about student life from the web pages for International Students:

As a student in Estonia, you can apply for the International Student Identity Card ISIC or Estonian Student Card ESC.
More information: https://taltech.ee/en/student-union/services