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Sibelius Academy Guide for Doctoral Studies in Music: Introduction

Welcome to the doctoral manual of Sibelius Academy, Uniarts Helsinki

The Sibelius Academy’s doctoral manual is an information package for postgraduate students, doctoral school staff and postgraduate degree examiners on doctoral studies and the doctoral school’s activities. This manual combines the DocMus and MuTri manuals, which were previously separate.

The Sibelius Academy has two doctoral schools: The DocMus Doctoral School provides doctoral training in classical music, composition, music theory and church music, and MuTri-Doctoral School provides doctoral training in music education, jazz and folk music.

A significant proportion of doctoral students follow the Arts Study Programme and the demonstration of proficiency usually consists of a series of several concerts and a thesis. Graduates with a doctorate from the Arts Study Programme are primarily excellent artists and specialists in their field of art. During their studies, they may also develop the capability to function as a pedagogue, lecturer, producer of knowledge, adviser and initiator of specialist discussions. 

The Research Study Programme leads to a traditional dissertation, which can be a monograph or a collection of scientific articles. During their studies, trainee researchers will thoroughly familiarise themselves with their field of research, its development, fundamental problems and research methods. As with traditional scientific universities, students acquire the ability to apply scientific research methods independently and critically and to create new scientific knowledge within their field of research. 

In the Applied Study Programme (formerly developer training), the demonstration of proficiency is composed of several different parts. The doctoral degree is completed by specialising in a specific question in the field of music, demonstrating both knowledge and artistic ability. The focus of the degree can be either artistic or scientific. The objective of the training is to develop new capabilities and outputs that can be applied in the field of music. Those following the programme grow into specialists in their field and produce new and tested methods, applications and practices for them.

Indicative periods of study are 4-5 years for the doctoral degree and 2.5-3 years for the licentiate degree.

Graduates of the Doctoral School work as performing artists, researchers, and teachers in addition to designing and implementing diverse development projects and working as experts in Finnish and international assignments in education and its organization, examining theses and demonstrations of proficiency, festivals, music competitions and other events, administrative tasks in cultural institutions etc. Doctoral School graduates' employment rates are generally high (see Tuire Kuusen's report).

A history of doctoral education

The postgraduate system of the Sibelius Academy was created in the early 1980s, and the first doctors graduated in 1990.

The antecedent of the DocMus Doctoral School was launched as a post-graduate training project of the Soloist Department in autumn 1988. The next step was the establishment of a separate postgraduate programme for the Soloist Department in 1994. The programme became independent in the beginning of 1999 and was named DocMus – Department for Doctoral Studies in Music Performance and Research. In fall 2011, the DocMus Doctoral School was born when the doctoral programmes of Church Music and Composition and Music Theory were included in the former DocMus Department as part of a faculty reform. The predecessor of the DocMus Doctoral School, namely the DocMus Department, has twice been nominated as a Centre of Excellence by the Finnish Ministry of Education: in 1999–2000 and in 2001–2003.  

Postgraduate education in the MuTri fields was organised under different departments until 2012. As part of the faculty reform the MuTri-Doctoral School was created from postgraduate education in music education, jazz, folk music, music technology and arts administration.

The University of the Arts was involved in the previous networked MuTo and TahTO doctoral programmes. These were created when the DocMus Department’s VEST doctoral school was divided in two in 2012. The National Doctoral Programme in Performing Arts (VEST) was launched as one of the first doctoral schools with four-year funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture in 1995. VEST subsequently received several extensions. In 2015, the running of the doctoral programme system was transferred to universities as part of their basic funding


Heads of doctoral schools:
Markus Mantere (DocMus)
Toni-Matti Karjalainen (MuTri)

Sirpa Järvelä

Samuli Korkalainen

Henri Wegelius

Aurora Visa

Email address:

Mailing address:
Taideyliopiston Sibelius-Akatemia
MuTri- / DocMus-tohtorikoulu
PL 30
00097 Taideyliopisto Helsinki

Street address staff:

Töölönlahdenkatu 16, 00100 Helsinki, Suomi

Street address teachers:

Nervanderinkatu 13, 00100 Helsinki, Suomi

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