The Activeness of a Doctoral Candidate and Passive Register Instructions for Postgraduate Students

At the University of Turku, the progress of degrees is actively monitored and supported. As for doctoral candidate, activity is expected; their task as a doctoral candidate is to conduct dissertation research and complete doctoral studies. An active study right not only gives one the right to have one or more experienced researchers as supervisors and to complete postgraduate courses but also to have university credentials granting access to email, various materials, and information systems. In addition, the support of the doctoral programmes and the Graduate School is available to those holding an active study right.

The University of Turku Regulation on Studies (RoS) (valid from 1 August 2018 onwards), regulates the activeness of a doctoral candidate (RoS 2018, 5.2.). Maintaining an active study right is based on the doctoral candidates' annual progress reporting organized by the doctoral programmes. In order to keep their active study right, the doctoral candidate is required to hand in an annual progress report. The supervisor must recommend maintaining an active study right. In addition, the doctoral candidate needs to enrol annually either as an attending or non-attending student.

In the new system of monitoring activeness, the actual situation of doctoral candidates and possible challenges they face while completing the degree will more effectively come to the knowledge of doctoral programmes supporting candidates and supervisors. The doctoral programme will be able to allocate resources better and support graduating as planned.

Factors affecting the activeness of a doctoral candidate

In January, a doctoral candidate hands in a progress report as instructed by the Graduate School and the doctoral programme. The first time a doctoral candidate participates in progress reporting is a year or a year and a half after he/she has been granted the right to study for a doctoral degree.

The activeness of a doctoral candidate is monitored in connection with the annual progress reporting.

In order to maintain an active study right, a doctoral candidate is required

  • To enrol every year, either as an attending or a non-attending student and
  • to hand in an annual progress report to their doctoral programme in January.
  • In addition, the supervisor needs to express their support for maintaining the active study right. Supervisors are familiar with their supervisees' situation, progress, and also possible disruptions or dropping out so supervisors' input is important while assessing the current situation of a doctoral candidate.

The new procedure in monitoring activeness does not considerably change the everyday life of those completing a doctoral degree. Enrolling and annual progress reports for the doctoral programme in the Saimi system have already been part of doctoral candidates' tasks. As for supervisors, there will be no unreasonable increase in the workload: one supervisor states their opinion on the candidate's activeness in the electronic UGIS system, and in clear cases, making a simple entry will suffice. Where there is possible ambiguity or contradictions, the doctoral programme will look into it and hear the parties and will be able to provide support for the doctoral candidate and the supervision relationship. Those completing their studies normally and keeping in touch with their supervisor need not worry about maintaining an active study right.

Monitoring the activeness of a postgraduate student completing a licentiate degree is conducted in faculties. They, too, are required to enrol annually either as attending or non-attending.

The process of monitoring activeness

Assessing and deciding on the activeness proceeds as follows:

January

  • Annual progress reporting is conducted in January.
  • The doctoral programme will send a reminder about the reporting one week before the reporting in the Saimi system closes.
  • Importing data from the reports to UGIS (selected questions).

February

  • Supervisors are sent a query about the activeness a week after the reporting on Saimi has closed at the latest: there are three weeks to reply by making an entry on UGIS. Supervisors are reminded approximately a week before the time is up.

March

  • Doctoral programmes have one month (March) to go over the reports and the supervisors' entries and to send requests for further information if need be. Progress reports which have been filled in appropriately and contain the supervisor's recommendation are accepted as is without the need for a doctoral programme's decision or other action, and the study right remains active.

April

  • If further clarifications have been asked for, there is a two-week deadline for delivering these (answers must be in by mid-April).

May

  • The doctoral programme will make a decision according to the guidelines and the criteria of the Graduate School and will inform the Student Centre about study rights that are to be changed to passive by 15 May.
  • Informing the doctoral candidate about their study right being changed to passive in 31 July.

The study right of a doctoral candidate will be changed to passive if completing the degree has halted. In cases where the study right is going to be changed to passive, the change of status occurs at the turn of the academic year on 31 July. The university credentials of a doctoral candidate who is in the so-called passive register will expire, and they can no longer use, for instance, the university email service or log into Moodle or Nettiopsu. The expiration of credentials means, in practice, that access to the university's systems and services ends. A doctoral candidate in the passive register will no longer receive info letters from the doctoral programme, faculty, or university.

For instance, changing a doctoral candidate's study right to passive is possible in the following cases:

  • A doctoral candidate has enrolled as non-attending for three consecutive academic years.
  • A doctoral candidate does not hand in a progress report and the supervisor does not recommend maintaining an active study right.
Passive register instructions

Should a study right due to the process described above become passive, it still does not mean that the right is lost entirely. The prior procedure in order to re-activate a study right still applies. Namely, a doctoral candidate would deliver a viable study plan prepared according to instructions along with the university's form for re-activating a study right to the faculty for a decision.

A plan can be considered viable if it contains at least:

  • a supervision plan
  • a schedule for studies and an updated research plan accepted by the supervisor
  • a plan for doctoral studies

As a doctoral student later wishes to re-activate his/her study right, he/she needs to prepare the viable plans and return them to the faculty along with a form for re-activating a study right. The faculty to which the study right in question belongs, will make a decision about re-activating.

Contact your faculty before delivering the material for re-acticating.

Contact persons in the faculties:

  • Faculty of Humanities: Meri Heinonen, humpostgraduate(a)utu.fi
  • Faculty of Education: Anne Niemimäki, edupostgraduate(a)utu.fi
  • Faculty of Medicine: Outi Irjala, med-doctoral(a)utu.fi
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering: Sanna Ranto, sci-docstudies(a)utu.fi, faculty's instructions
  • Faculty of Law: Mirkka Ruotsalainen, mirkka.ruotsalainen(a)utu.fi
  • Turku School of Economics: Jenni Heervä, tsedoctoralprogramme(a)utu.fi
  • Faculty of Social Sciences: Vesa Rautio, socpostgraduate(a)utu.fi