Guidelines for Dissertation Defence

In the Finnish universities, the evaluation of the doctoral dissertation has two stages: the preliminary examination process and the public defence of the doctoral dissertation. In the preliminary examination, two outside experts evaluate the manuscript and both examiners have declare that the manuscript meets the qualifications set for dissertations with a written statement. Thus the preliminary examiners recommend the dissertation proceeds to the second part of the evaluation process, the public defence of the doctoral dissertation. The preliminary examination is done in a set time period, in 2–3 months (depending on the faculty).

After the preliminary examination, the dissertation is evaluated in the public defence where the 1–2 opponent(s) appointed by the faculty are responsible for the final examination. In the defence, the opponent leads the critical and evaluative examination and discussion. In the Finnish universities, the defence of doctoral dissertation is a public event and open to all. Furthermore, the dissertation needs to be published and made available at least 10 days before the dissertation defence.

In addition to the preliminary examiners, an evaluation committee is appointed in some faculties. The committee participates in the evaluation of both the dissertation and the dissertation defence.

Faculties’ information on doctoral training:

​Dissertation process in phases

1. When the statements of the preliminary examiners arrive to the faculty, they are delivered to the doctoral candidate. According to Chapter 44, Section 2 of the Universities Act (2009/558), the doctoral candidate has to have an opportunity to give a written response to the examiners’ statement before the handling of the permission to defend the doctoral dissertation.

​2. Depending on the faculty, the doctoral candidate delivers the dissertation manuscript edited during the preliminary examination process or a written account of the changes made to the manuscript according to the preliminary examiners’ statements to the faculty (see the instructions of your faculty).

3. The faculty decides on granting the permission to defend the doctoral dissertation on the basis of the preliminary examiners’ statements. An opponent, Custos and the possible evaluation committee are appointed to the dissertation defence. In some faculties, the permission to defend the doctoral dissertation and/or the appointment of the opponent and Custos have to be applied for with a separate form (see the instructions of your faculty).

4. The doctoral candidate drafts the press release on their dissertation according to the University’s instructions.

5. The doctoral candidate takes care of the publication, possible printing, and release of the dissertation, as well as the distribution of printed copies and arrangements for the dissertation defence.



Keywords: Viestintä;

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