Doctoral Programme in Biology, Geography and Geology - for the Doctoral Candidate

BGG doctoral programme offers its doctoral candidates a multidisciplinary environment and support, organizes events and thematic courses, and awards travel grants and grants for completing a doctoral degree.

University of Turku uses UGIS system to guide doctoral candidates throughout the doctoral training.

General instructions for doctoral studies

From the very beginning

  • Create a personal study plan in eHOPS system
  • Start to earn study credits
  • Start to carry out your research
  • Set intermediate goals for data acquisition and writing
  • Try to have your first manuscript submitted by the end of the second year


At the end

  • Start to prepare for the last steps well in advance, the process takes several months
  • Make sure you have completed all the required studies
  • Check the originality of your thesis with Turnitin
  • Propose pre-examiners to the Faculty together with your supervisor
  • Deliver PDF of your thesis to the Faculty
  • Propose Opponent and Custos to the Faculty together with your supervisor
  • After you have been granted a printing license, publish your thesis
  • Deliver one copy of the printed thesis to the Faculty of Science and Engineering and one copy to the Rector
  • Fill in the announcement of the public defence of a doctoral dissertation to the University Communications
  • Prepare a press release of the dissertation in Finnish
Doctoral thesis and Postgraduate studies

Doctoral Degree (240 ECTS) consist of PhD thesis (200 ECTS) and Postgraduate studies (40 ECTS).

A doctoral thesis based on scientific peer-reviewed publications consists of a general introduction chapter (detailing the objectives, methods and outcomes of the research conducted, as well as a review of them) and at least three scientific publications, two of which need to be published or accepted for publication in a peer-reviewed publication series. If the thesis consists of joint publications, the doctoral candidate's contribution to the shared article is detailed in a separate clarification. If the doctoral candidate has not made clear and significant contributions to each of the three scientific publications, more publications may be needed.

A monograph is a thesis that is single-authored by the doctoral candidate. A monograph consists of a general introduction chapter detailing the research question or questions, the scientific background of these questions and a general overview of the materials and methods used in the thesis. If the monograph consists of several research questions, each research question is described in individual chapter following the general introduction chapter. Each of these chapters follows the general outline of a scientific publication including an introduction, a materials and methods section, and a results and discussion section specific to the research question. The last chapter of a monograph thesis is a general discussion. The monograph should state if and where any of the doctoral candidate's work it contains has been published.

The studies can include, apart from courses specifically tailored for doctoral students, also intermediate to advanced level courses. Basic courses cannot be included in a doctoral degree. Courses given at any recognised university in Finland or abroad can be included in the postgraduate studies.

Summary of BGG curriculum 2020-2022, 40 ECTS

Studies in research topic, 15-30 ECTS

  • Postgraduate studies and summer schools, 2-23 ECTS
  • Book exam or literature essay, 5-10 ECTS
  • Seminars and Doctoral training days (from the list below), 2-10 ECTS
    • Seminars, 0-6 ECTS
    • BGG Doctoral Training Days, 0-4 ECTS

    Studies supporting research area, 0-10 ECTS

    • Teaching practice, 0-10 ECTS
    • Scientific publication which is not a part of the PhD thesis, 0-4 ECTS
    • Studies in minor subject, 0-8 ECTS 

    Studies supporting mobility and professional career, 2-10 ECTS

    • Scientific conferences, 2-10 ECTS
    • Research visit, 0-4 ECTS
    • Professional internship, 0-6 ECTS 

    General studies aiming for expertise, 4-10 ECTS

    • Ethics of Academic research, 2 ECTS
    • Public outreach, 0-4 ECTS
    • Language and presentation skills, 0-8 ECTS
    • University pedagogy, 0-8 ECTS
    • Professional and career skills, 0-6 ECTS
    • Departmental activities, 0-5 ECTS
    Courses, events and grants



    • BGG doctoral training day: BGG organizes Doctoral training day annually in December. BGG doctoral training day provides doctoral candidates an opportunity to meet each other and share experiences about their doctoral studies and research. Doctoral candidates get 1 ECTS for participating in the full programme including presenting the progress of their PhD research.
    • Aura symposium: biannual event organized by biology, geography and geology doctoral candidates of the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University. The symposium offers a unique opportunity to come together, learn about each other's research and exchange ideas. Next time the symposium takes place in 2020.
    • If you would like to organize an educational event for BGG doctoral candidates (course or workshop), you can apply funding from BGG by emailing proposal of one A4 including short description of the planned event, planned time table and place, name(s) of the invited teacher(s) or speaker(s) and budget to BGG coordinator.


    • BGG Travel grants are awarded twice a year. Funds are allocated for travels to international conferences, workshops and PhD courses.
    • BGG grants for completing a doctoral degree are awarded twice a year. BGG awards 1-3 month grants for doctoral candidates who are at the very last stages of their doctoral studies.
    Annual progress reporting

    The progress of doctoral research and doctoral training of the Doctoral Candidates is annually monitored by the Doctoral Programme in Biology, Geography and Geology (BGG). Doctoral Candidate is asked to fill out the electronic BGG progress report form. The link to the reporting form is open in January. The annual progress report is used to develop the doctoral programme and graduate school as well as in the activity checking.

    Dissertation process and graduation
    BGG Steering committee

    Jon Brommer (Director, Biology)

    Jussi Jauhiainen (Professor, Geography and Geology)
    Pietari Skyttä (Associate Professor, Geography and Geology)
    Teppo Hiltunen (Associate Professor, Biology)
    Varpu Vahtera (Docent, Biodiversity)
    Océane Liehrmann (Doctoral candidate, Biology)
    Tikli Loivaranta (Doctoral candidate, Geography and Geology)