There are 9 units of economics discipline in Finnish universities. Most of them are far too small to maintain independently an integrated doctoral programme. In 1990 a joint doctoral programme, the Finnish Doctoral Programme in Economics (FDPE), was designed, to provide graduate students, irrespective of their home institution, with a thorough and systematic training in the skills required of the contemporary academic and professional economists.

Today FDPE serves as a cooperative platform between the universities that facilitates cross-institutional participation in teaching activities. Registration for the courses and the communication of the results takes place through a joint electronic system.

While the objective is to guarantee access to all students to the joint teaching resources, the individual departments remain the basic units of education, organizing the courses and grading them according to their own standards. The student's host institution grants the degree and accepts the courses as part of it on the basis of its usual practices.

Courses arranged by FDPE complement the courses organized by the participating institutions. FDPE also hosts biannual workshops in six subareas of economics. Students of the member universities are encouraged to present their ongoing work, comment the others' work, or just to learn from the others' presentations in the workshops.

The Supervisory Board of FDPE consists of representatives of each member university. The Board, and the Steering Committee associated to it, agrees on and coordinates the annual teaching schedule and other activities related to FDPE.

Apart from the member institutions, FDPE has been financed by the Academy of Finland, Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation, the Bank of Finland, the Finnish Cultural Foundation, and the Research Foundation of the Cooperative Banking Organization in Finland. Courses have also been co-organized and co-financed with several institutions.