Guidelines for Doctoral Candidates

Doctoral Dissertation

A doctoral dissertation is a scientific presentation within the Faculty’s field based on independent research which has not been published before.

The dissertation may be published in Finnish, Swedish or English, or, with the Faculty’s consent, in another language.

To gain permission for a dissertation defence, the author submits the manuscript to the Chief Academic Officer (Educarium Service Point, 4th floor) in three copies as well as a pdf version to The supervisor / professor in the subject field submits a form for appointing the preliminary reviewers and the certificate of originality check of the manuscript.

Article Dissertation

A doctoral dissertation published in the Faculty of Social Sciences may be either a monograph or an article dissertation . An article dissertation is a publication which consists of an introductory chapter and a number of independent articles that have already been published or have been approved for publication. All the articles must discuss the same research question or array of questions. An article dissertation corresponds to a monograph in its scientific quality and other requirements. An article dissertation consists of a summary and at least three scientific articles.

When starting an article dissertation, the doctoral candidate and the main supervisor agree on a publication plan for the dissertation.

The articles can be ones that have been published in scientific journals or edited volumes, or that have been accepted for publication. When the dissertation is submitted for review, the author must attach a note of acceptance to the manuscript from the editor of the journal or volume for each article that has not yet been published but has been accepted for publication.

Each article must present new research results. Because the articles cannot be edited when the dissertation is being readied for publication, a certain amount of repetition or overlap is allowed in the articles.

All articles included in an article dissertation must have go through a peer-review process. The articles may have been published either in Finland or internationally. However, it is recommended that the component studies of an article dissertation are published in international scientific journals.

The doctoral candidate must have a clearly independent role in writing the articles and drawing the conclusions. The articles may also include joint articles. The doctoral candidate must be the principal author in at least three articles. When the dissertation is submitted for review, the author and the supervisor must present to the Faculty a written statement of joint publications and the independent share the author has in them. The statement is sent to the reviewers alongside the manuscript so that they can assess whether the total output of the doctoral candidate corresponds to the Faculty’s requirements for the amount of work required for an article dissertation.

The same article may, based on the aforementioned statement, be used in several dissertations. However, an article dissertation may not include portions of the same candidate's earlier doctoral dissertation.

The publication date of the articles is not limited; therefore, the articles do not have an expiration date.


The summary section is prepared by the doctoral candidate. The recommended length of the summary is 30-100 pages. The summary is not just an extended abstract of the articles, but an analytical introduction to the work.

The summary is placed at the beginning of the work, before the articles. The summary presents the research question, its motivation, its position within the field, and the research goals, methods, results and conclusions. In the summary, the author also brings together the articles included in the dissertation and highlights the significance of each one to the entire research and its results. The summary should therefore not present any new research or materials. Instead, the summary must critically evaluate the research presented in the articles and the significance of their findings at the time when the summary is published.


Including articles that have already been published in the printed dissertation requires a written publication permit from the publisher. The doctoral candidate is responsible for getting the permit.


The article dissertation is evaluated based on both the articles and the summary. The articles are evaluated both for their content and for the author’s contribution to each article as well as for the cohesiveness of the articles and the summary. The summary is central to the evaluation.

Preliminary Examination

The Dean appoints at least two preliminary examiners for the dissertation, who, wherever possible, have the scientific credentials required of a docent. At least one of the preliminary examiners must be from outside the University of Turku. The dissertation supervisor may not act as a preliminary examiner. The proposal for preliminary examiners is prepared by the head of the discipline and the supervisor.

The dissertation author is given the opportunity to give a statement on the matter before the preliminary examiners are appointed.

The recommended time limit to give a statement on permission to defend the thesis is three months. The statement may not be conditional, but it either favours or opposes giving the permission. The Faculty assumes a dissertation submitted for preliminary examination is ready for publication. If the examiners' evaluations favour giving the permission for defence, the Faculty Council immediately takes the issue up for decision. If the statements oppose giving the permission on the basis that the manuscript still needs a considerable amount of work, the author must make the required changes and give the Faculty a finalised manuscript. After receiving the manuscript, the Faculty may still turn to the preliminary examiners to have parts of the work re-evaluated. The doctoral candidate may also halt the examination process; in this case the supervisor recommends restarting the preliminary examination when the work has been amended, and the Faculty Council names the preliminary examiners again.


The dissertation is published according to the guidelines of the University of Turku.

Dissertation Evaluation

When the Faculty Council has given the permission to hold the dissertation defence, the Dean will appoint an opponent, a custos and an evaluation committee for the dissertation.

The Dean appoints one or two opponents to the dissertation defence. The opponents should, if possible, have the scientific credentials required of a docent. The dissertation supervisor may not act as an opponent. As a rule, the opponent should come from outside the University of Turku. The candidate is given the opportunity to give a statement before the opponent is appointed.

The Dean appoints one of the Faculty’s professors or docents as custos.
The custos will determine the defence session’s language after consulting the candidate and opponent. The language of the dissertation defence is Finnish, Swedish or the language in which the dissertation is written in. The defence can be conducted in another language with the candidate’s permission. The candidate and opponent may use different languages in the defence, if they so agree.

To evaluate the dissertation, the Dean will appoint an evaluation committee whose task is to make sure the evaluation is balanced. The committee consists of the custos, the opponent(s), the preliminary examiners, the supervisor(s) and at least one professor in the department. The committee may also include an external expert. The custos will introduce the opponent and other members of the committee to the Faculty’s evaluation practices, the evaluation scale, and relevant statutes. The custos must also inform the committee of any other issues which may affect the evaluation.

After consulting with the evaluation committee, the opponent must give the Faculty a well-founded statement in writing within six weeks of the defence. The statement must either support or oppose approving the dissertation and suggest a grade for a work to be approved. The statement must indicate how the evaluation committee has been consulted.

The candidate is offered a chance to respond to the opponent’s statement. The response must be given to the Faculty before the Faculty Council meeting where the evaluation of the dissertation in question is discussed.

The Faculty Council will decide on the dissertation's approval and grade. A dissertation is approved on a scale of approbatur, lubenter approbatur, non sine laude approbatur, cum laude approbatur, magna cum laude approbatur, eximia cum laude approbatur, and laudatur.

The following criteria are used when applying the grading scale:


The work is seriously deficient, but it meets the requirements for a doctoral dissertation.

Lubenter approbatur

The work has several significant deficiencies without special merits which would compensate for them.

Non sine laude approbatur

The work has deficiencies without sufficient merits compensating for them.

Cum laude approbatur

The work is a good scientific effort. It is conceptually and linguistically clear; the research question, the methodological choices and conclusions are well grounded and the materials are relevant. The special merits of the work compensate for the deficiencies.

Magna cum laude approbatur

The work has special scientific merits without deficiencies which detract from them.

Eximia cum laude approbatur

The work has very significant scientific merits without deficiencies to detract from them.


The work is scientifically ambitious and very praiseworthy.


The dissertation author may submit to the Faculty Council a written request for rectification on the dissertation evaluation within 14 days of receiving notice of the decision.

Doctoral Degree Certificate

The doctoral degree certificate is awarded by the Dean. The certificate shows the field, the title and grade of the dissertation and the number of credits in other studies.​​​​​​​