Doctoral Programme in Exact Sciences - For the current doctoral researcher

The Doctoral Programme in Exact Sciences (EXACTUS) is responsible for the doctoral education in applied mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, materials science, mathematics, physics, statistics and theoretical physics. EXACTUS offers its doctoral researchers support, organises events, and awards travel grants and grants for completing a doctoral degree.

University of Turku uses UGIS system to guide doctoral researchers throughout the doctoral training. Please check UGIS for further step-by-step instructions.

All relevant information about doctoral training processes and instructions can be found in the Faculty of Science Code of Conduct document found Doctoral Studies in the Faculty of Science website (under "Instructions about doctoral training in the Faculty of Science").

Important information for doctoral researchers can be found at:

Below, you will find useful information to help you during your doctoral training. If you have any questions, please get in touch with the doctoral programme Coordinator.

Information for new doctoral researchers

Welcome to the University of Turku Graduate School!

To help you get started, here are some useful links for further information:

Information specifically for new international doctoral researchers:

What do I need to do at the start, every year and at the end?

What will I need to do during my doctoral training?


At the beginning:

  • Create a personal study plan in the Peppi system (see UGIS for further instructions and "Doctoral thesis and Postgraduate studies" section below).
  • Start to earn study credits (see "Doctoral thesis and Postgraduate studies" section below).
  • Start to carry out your research.
  • Set intermediate goals for data acquisition and writing.


Every year:


Near the end:

  • Start to prepare for the last steps well in advance, as the process takes several months (more information in "Dissertation process and graduation" below).
  • 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 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.
What are the roles and responsibilities of the doctoral researcher, supervisor and research director?

The roles of the doctoral researcher, supervisor and the research director are listed in the "Doctoral training instructions at the Faculty of Science" document on the Doctoral Training in the Faculty of Science website.

The doctoral researcher has the primary responsibility for the progress of their studies. The responsibilities of the doctoral researcher are defined as follows:

  • The doctoral researcher carefully prepares for the meetings and follows the agreed schedule;
  • The doctoral researcher completes postgraduate studies independently with the supervisor’s support;
  • The doctoral researcher annually participates in the agreed number of postgraduate courses and ensures that they are appropriately registered;
  • The doctoral researcher is responsible for the progress of his/her research work and for informing the supervisor and the doctoral programme on the progress made according to the agreed reporting schedule and in the agreed manner;
  • The doctoral researcher informs the supervisor and the research director (+ possible follow-up group) of all changes that considerably affect working conditions, progress of the thesis project or keeping with the agreed schedule;
  • The doctoral researcher hands in an annual follow-up report of the doctoral programme. The licentiate student hands in an annual follow-up report according to the instructions of the faculty.

The duties of the supervisor are, among others:

  • To direct the student in planning and completing the postgraduate studies;
  • To direct the student in planning and completing the research and completing the thesis;
  • To follow the progress of research and postgraduate studies in accordance with the supervision plan;
  • To accept an annual update of a personal study plan, if needed;
  • To assist the student in making contact with other researchers in the field and with the users of the research;
  • A principal supervisor has to give a statement on the activeness of a postgraduate student in connection with student’s annual progress reporting;
  • To assist the student in applying for funding by providing information on available options;
  • To assist in career planning by having an annual discussion on the subject;
  • To ensure that a thesis written in a second language undergoes a language check if needed;
  • To be responsible for checking the originality of the thesis with the plagiarism detection system.

The duties of the research director are:

  • To monitor the progress of the research work and postgraduate studies annually in collaboration with the supervisor;
  • To assume responsibility for the scientific level of the degree;
  • To ensure that the necessary conditions for the studies are maintained;
  • To accept the first personal study plan of a postgraduate student and the application for the final grade of the postgraduate studies module. The research director is ensures that the required learning outcomes of postgraduate studies are achieved with the completed postgraduate studies and thesis work.
  • To ensure that the thesis as a whole meets the requirements regarding the extent of a doctoral thesis;
  • To make a proposal for the examiners of a licentiate thesis or the pre-examiners, opponent and chairperson (custos) of a doctoral thesis;
  • To provide the faculty with a statement approved by the supervisor, research director and student indicating the author’s contribution to the research if the thesis contains joint publications. The statement must also tell whether a part of the thesis has earlier been used in another thesis or if such use is being planned;
  • To ensure that the intended final version of the licentiate or doctoral thesis is delivered to the faculty at the same time as the proposal for pre-examiners
  • To ensure that the intended final version of the licentiate or doctoral thesis is delivered to the examiners by the student, supervisor or research director immediately after their appointment;
  • To ensure that the doctoral thesis is delivered to the opponent by the student, supervisor or research director immediately after the opponent has been appointed;
  • To help solve possible cases of disagreement in supervision.
Doctoral thesis and postgraduate studies (Personal Study Plan)

For the Doctor of Philosophy degree, the doctoral researcher must:

  1. Complete curriculum defined studies for 40 credits (ECTS).
  2. Write and publish a doctoral thesis which is approved by the Faculty after a public inspection.


Doctoral dissertation and the public defence, 200 credits (ECTS):

The thesis can be in the form of either a monograph or a compilation of scientific articles including a summary. If the thesis contains or is based on joint articles, a statement detailing the doctoral researcher's contribution must be included. A minimum requirement in a compilation dissertation is three peer-reviewed articles, provided that the scientific quality and the doctoral researcher’s contribution are sufficient. Manuscripts can be included, but the majority of the articles should already have been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication.

Postgraduate Studies, 40 credits (ECTS):

The 40 ECTS can include ECTS from three different main categories: (1) Studies supporting research topic, (2) Studies supporting mobility and professional career, and (3) General studies aiming for expertise.

Each category has a minimum or a maximum number of credits that can be included in your 40 credits. For example, you will need to have at least 20 ECTS from Studies supporting research topic, however a maximum of 34 ECTS from Studies supporting research topic can be included in your 40 ECTS. There may be similar minimum or maximum limits on specific subcategories (see below).

You are required to take the course Research Ethics (in General studies aiming for expertise).

Please discuss your 40 credit curriculum and what it might contain with your supervisor. The curriculum does not include all the relevant courses you can take (see section below).

Summary of EXACTUS curriculum 2022-2024:

Studies in Research Topic, 20–34 ECTS

    Courses related to research area, 15-34 ECTS
           Courses (can be found e.g. in the Master’s level course curricula), 15-34 ECTS
           Book exam or equivalent, 0-10 ECTS
           Seminars (attendance or presenting), 0-5 ECTS
    Research methods, 0-15 ECTS
    Scientific publication (not a part of the doctoral thesis), 0-4 ECTS

Studies supporting Mobility and Professional Career, 2–10 ECTS

    Scientific conferences, 0-10 ECTS
    Research visits, 0-6 ECTS
    Professional internship, 0-6 ECTS

General Studies Aiming for Expertise, 4–10 ECTS

    Ethics of Academic Research, 2 ECTS (mandatory)
    Teaching practice, 0-8 ECTS
    Project design and management, 0-6 ECTS
    Professional and career skills, 0-5 ECTS
    Language and presentation skills, 0-6 ECTS
    University pedagogy, 0-8 ECTS
    Public outreach, 0-4 ECTS
    Entrepreneurship and leading skills, 0-5 ECTS
    Departmental activities, 0-3 ECTS

Go through the EXACTUS study guide by clicking on the underlined sections to see more information about these categories and what they may entail.

There is an electronic form (also in Finnish) to apply for study credits for credits such as conference presentations. Please see UGIS for step by step instructions and the "How do I register study credits?" section below.

What courses can I take?

Please discuss with your supervisor about what courses may be relevant to your doctoral thesis.

It is also possible to take courses from other Finnish universities: please see the Faculty of Science's website under "Flexible Study Right - Studies at other Finnish universities".

For applied mathematics and statistics doctoral researchers, please see information about the seminar series "Applied Mathematics and Statistics Seminar" (requires signing in).

Creating your Personal Study Plan (PSP, in Finnish: henkilökohtainen opintosuunnitelma, HOPS):

All EXACTUS doctoral researchers are required to have an approved PSP within the first six months of starting your doctoral training.

You can find instructions about the process in the UGIS system (“Personal study plan PSP (Peppi)” > “Creating personal study plan and getting it accepted”). There is guidance on how to use the Peppi system to create your Personal Study Plan (PSP) on the intranet in Finnish and English (requires signing in).

How do I register study credits?

Credits from courses taken at the University of Turku are registered routinely by the course teacher.

For other credits such as conference presentations, teaching, research visits, etc., they are registered via an electronic form:

Remember to add relevant file(s) to the application to support proposal: e.g. when applying for study credits from conference presentation, a document (acceptance email or program that shows your name and the type of presentation you gave) proving the oral or poster presentation is needed.

Please see the EXACTUS study guide for more information about what information should be provided depending on the type of credit. The study guide also outlines which code to use, e.g. "EXACTUS Research Visit".

Please see instructions in UGIS under "Personal Study Plan, Studies and Research" > Postgraduate studies > "Registering study credits".

The Coordinator will check your application, send it back to you for any required changes (you will be sent the form back for editing), and then send it for your principal supervisor for approval. Once they have approved your application, the study credits will be registered to the Peppi system.


    EXACTUS organises an annual EXACTUS Seminar Day for the programme's doctoral researchers and supervisors. In 2022, the EXACTUS seminar day was held on 20 May 2022.

    More information about upcoming events are sent on the email list.

    EXACTUS Grants

    The Doctoral Programme in Exact Sciences (EXACTUS) awards grants for its doctoral researchers. See the grant decisions on the main EXACTUS website.


    EXACTUS travel grant:

    A call for EXACTUS Travel Grant applications is open from 29 January to 20 February 2024 (call closes at 23:59):

    The travel grant can be applied for a conference, (summer) school or research visit. The travel grant can also be applied for participating in an online conference or online (summer) school.

    Fill in the EXACTUS travel grant application

    Annual progress reporting

    The progress of doctoral research and doctoral training of the doctoral researchers is monitored annually by the Doctoral Programme in Exact Sciences (EXACTUS) . You will be asked to fill in the electronic EXACTUS progress report form about the previous year.

    A link to the reporting form will be sent to you by email and the report will be open in January. After finishing the progress report, please save the report as a PDF file for the career and review discussion (see below).

    More information about the annual progress report and monitoring activeness. Faculty specific instructions about re-activation can be found on the Faculty of Science website.

    First Article Language Checking Service

    If you have your first article for publication in the works and you would like help with English language checking, the University of Turku Language Centre and UTUGS together provide a first article language checking service.

    Advisory Committee meetings

    If a doctoral researcher has an advisory committee, then they will organise an Advisory Committee meeting annually before the end of April. The doctoral researcher should provide the Advisory Committee members with their annual progress report well in advance of the meeting (see information about progress reports above). In the meeting, the doctoral researcher gives a presentation of the progress on their doctoral dissertation, which is then followed by discussion.

    In the meeting, the following topics should be discussed:

    •     Current phase of the doctoral research: what has been accomplished, what still needs to be done
    •     Completed credits for the personal study plan work during the follow-up year and possible changes to the study plan
    •     Did the doctoral dissertation proceed according to plan during the follow-up year?
    •     Which factors promoted and which prevented the progress?
    •     Goals for the current year and how they can be achieved
    •     International mobility during the follow-up year
    •     Career plans after doctoral dissertation

    At the end of the meeting the supervisor(s) will leave the room, giving the doctoral researcher a possibility to discuss any potential problems with the other Advisory Group members. Then the doctoral researcher leaves the room, giving the supervisor(s) and Advisory Group members a possibility to discuss.
    The doctoral researcher together with the Advisory Committee writes a short summary of the meeting and returns the signed report to UGIS system by the end of April. You can find the module under "Supervisory meetings" > "Advisory committee or follow-up group meetings".

    Also new doctoral researcher should organise an Advisory Committee meeting in the beginning of their studies and present and discuss about the research plan and study plan in the Advisory Committee meeting.

    Career and review discussion with your supervisor

    It is an aim of the University of Turku Graduate School (UTUGS) that all UTUGS doctoral researchers have the opportunity to have an annual career and review discussion.

    The career and review discussion between the doctoral researcher and the supervisor and/or administrative supervisor are to be held in March. The discussion can be arranged as part of an advisory committee meeting. The main objective is to discuss the doctoral researchers's career goals in a stimulating atmosphere. The discussion is based on the doctoral researcher's annual progress report. In addition, the UTUGS review and career discussion form filled by the doctoral researcher can be used to support discussion during this meeting.

    More information about the career and review discussions as well as the career discussion form are available on the UTUGS website.

    Dissertation process and graduation

    The UGIS system contains detailed information on all the steps and documents required by the Faculty in the dissertation process. Please see the following links for more information about the dissertation process and graduation:

    Feeling apprehensive or nervous of your thesis defense? Some tips for getting ready for it
    1. Remember that you are not the only one feeling apprehensive or nervous of the thesis defense! It’s a momentous occasion you have been preparing for many years so it's natural to feel apprehensive about it.
    2. Use your time well and practice giving scientific presentations from the very beginning of your studies! First, start in a safe environment: give a talk related to your thesis work to your friends, family or a fellow doctoral researcher. If you want, you can tell them that you are asking for their support in this as you are not a big fan of giving presentations. Second, take part in an online conference and give a presentation there. Finally, when you feel ready, give a scientific presentation to a live audience in a conference or seminar series.
    3. Do not forget to register to the EXACTUS seminar day: in your first year you can participate and see how others present their research, then in your second year and onwards you can give a poster presentation and finally when you are getting ready to defend, you can present a short talk. Shaking hands are common in EXACTUS seminar day - you are not the only one feeling nervous!
    4. Get familiar with the defense process itself:
      • Go listen to the dissertation defenses of your own field. Here you can see how the different parts of the defense work.
      • Read the guidelines for the dissertation defense so that you know what to expect. Link to dissertation guidelines. Link to the Faculty of Science’s dissertation process guidelines.
      • Take part in the EXACTUS seminar day, as it allows you not only to learn general topics related to scientific research, but also to see how others present their doctoral dissertation work to see how you could present your own! If you want, you can also defend a trial defense of your own.
    5. Remember that you can contact University of Turku Study Psychologist ( or, if you are employed by UTU, use the services of Occupational Health Care Psychologist of Mehiläinen to get help.
    6. Tell your supervisor that you are feeling nervous or apprehensive. Together you can find solutions such as selecting an emphatic opponent.
    7. Tips for the actual dissertation defense:
      • Before the dissertation defense: Practice keeping your lectio praecursoria and get feedback to it from your supervisor and friends. Visit the defense lecture hall beforehand to get to know the place, how the lights function and so on.
      • Beginning of the event: While presenting the lectio praecursoria, focus on the friendly faces of your friends or family. Remember to breathe. Deep breathing calms the body’s stress reaction.
      • Examination of the dissertation: Remember to continue breathing. If you do not know what to answer your opponent right away, start by saying “What an excellent question, I have to think about the answer a bit.”
      • After the dissertation defense: Celebrate - it is over! A doctoral degree is a great achievement!
    Career services

    Careers Services Personal Career Guidance:

    If you are interested in personal career planning or help with job hunting through counselling at any stage during your doctoral training, please schedule a personal career planning discussion with the Careers Services (intranet link in English and Finnish).

    Other relevant information about careers after doctoral degrees:

    EXACTUS Steering Committee

    Director Juri Poutanen, Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy
    Vice Director Pasi Virta, Professor, Department of Chemistry
    Vice Director Jarkko Kari, Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

    Petriina Paturi, Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy
    Edwin Kukk, Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy
    Iiro Vilja, Adjunct Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy
    Carita Kvarnström, Professor, Department of Chemistry
    Juha-Pekka Salminen, Professor, Department of Chemistry
    Mika Lastusaari, Professor, Department of Chemistry
    Marko Mäkelä, Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
    Ion Petre, Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
    Henri Nyberg, Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
    Anu Airaksinen, Professor, PET-centre
    Petri Väisänen, Director, Finnish Centre for Astronomy with ESO
    Aleksei Semakin, Doctoral Researcher, Department of Physics and Astronomy
    Toni Laine, Doctoral Researcher, Department of Chemistry
    Lauri Heinonen, Doctoral Researcher, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

    Contact information


    EXACTUS Director:
    Professor Juri Poutanen

    EXACTUS Coordinator:
    Eevi Savola