Dissertation Process in the Faculty of Education

The dissertation process in the Faculty of Education is described here. You will also find the steps of the dissertation process in the UGIS-portal, where it is also easy to follow what has been done and what is the next step.

Please also see the Guidelines of the Dissertation Defence by the University of Turku.


Before Preliminary Examination

Language Check of the Manuscript

It is the doctoral researcher’s responsibility to ensure that the language of the dissertation is suitable for publication when the work is otherwise in its final form. Achieving a level suitable for publication in a scientific text in a foreign language almost always requires proofreading. The Faculty of Education grants support for proofreading of the summary for a compilation thesis and monograph dissertation written in a foreign language. Please find more information on the language checking support on the intranet page of the Faculty.

Detecting the Originality of the Manuscript

The dissertation manuscript must be checked for originality using the Turnitin Originality Check program before submitting the manuscript for preliminary examination. The supervisor takes care of the originality checking. The Turnitin system works as an additional function integrated into the University of Turku Moodle learning platform. In order that your supervisor is able to carry out the Turnitin checking, you need to submit the manuscript of your dissertation to your supervisor's Moodle course area (more information on  fairUTU pages). The supervisor delivers a signed certificate about the checking to the Chief Academic Officer.
The following text must be attached to the publication information of the dissertation:

The originality of this dissertation has been checked in accordance with the University of Turku quality assurance system using the Turnitin OriginalityCheck service.

Studies Included in the Doctoral Degree

In addition to the doctoral dissertation, the doctoral degree includes 40 ECTS credits of studies, which must be completed by the time of the preliminary examination.

Check in the Peppi system that all required studies have been completed and entered in the study register. If needed, the Chief Academic Officer will help you in checking the studies. If some study attainment has not been registered, e.g. participation in the doctoral programme seminars, you can apply for registration of a study attainment using the electronic form.

Preliminary Examination of Dissertation

1. The doctoral researcher and the supervisors agree that the thesis is in a state of completion required for beginning the pre-examination process.

2. The doctoral researcher checks from the UGIS portal information about their officially nominated supervisors. If something needs to be corrected, it must be done before the pre-examination process can be started.

3. In addition the doctoral researcher checks in the Peppi system that all studies required to the doctoral degree has been completed and entered into the study register. If needed, the Chief Academic Officer helps in checking the studies.

4. The supervisor makes a proposal for the pre-examiners by using the electronic form. Before submitting the form, the supervisor must discuss with the Dean about the pre-examiners. The supervisor checks that the proposed examiners will agree to take part in the process before submitting the form to the faculty. The supervisor attaches the signed and scanned Turnitin OriginalityCheck certificate. At this point proposal of pre-examiners is enough, the opponent and custos are proposed after the permission to defend dissertation has been approved.

>> Proposal of pre-examiners (electronic form)

5. The proposal of pre-examiners will be sent to the doctoral researcher by email to be approved, so the doctoral researcher should check their utu emails!

6. The doctoral researcher delivers the dissertation manuscript to the faculty by using the electronic form.

>> Send in the dissertation manuscript (electronic form)

7. The Dean appoints the pre-examiners. The faculty informs the doctoral researcher and the supervisors about the decision by email. Afterwards, the faculty also sends pre-examiners the dissertation manuscript and instructions. If the pre-examiners wish to have the manuscript printed, it is the responsibility of the doctoral researcher to deliver the manuscript.

8. Pre-examiners have two months to deliver the statement. The delivery address for the statement is edupostgraduate@utu.fi.

9. The faculty send the pre-examiners’ statements to the doctoral researcher by email. The doctoral researcher is given the opportunity to give a written appeal against a pre-examiner’s statement (14 days).

Requirements for Pre-examiners and Opponents

The pre-examiners and opponents have to fulfil the following conditions:

  • A pre-examiner and opponent should have the qualifications of at least a docent (or a verified corresponding level of research merits; in these situations, the supervisor presents the Dean with written reasons for the decision and CV or list of publications of the suggested person);
  • A pre-examiner and an opponent have to be selected from outside the University of Turku. In exceptional cases, the opponent or one of the preliminary examiners can be from another faculty at the University of Turku.
  • The supervisors or members of the follow-up group cannot act as a pre-examiner or opponent.
  • Ineligible to act as pre-examiner or opponent are persons close to either the doctoral researcher or their supervisor. Ineligible due to a personal relationship are considered e.g. close relatives or other especially close persons (as specified in the Administrative Procedure Act 434/2003, Section 28).
  • A pre-examiner or opponent must not be anyone who has had joint publications or other academic collaboration with the doctoral researcher or their close persons.
  • The pre-examiner or opponent may not have joint publications or other recent academic collaboration with the supervisor (principally from the last three years).
  • A docent of the University of Turku may act as a pre-examiner or opponent if they are not employed by the University of Turku and the conditions mentioned above are fulfilled.
Permission to Defend

The pre-examiner’s statement must explicitly recommend that the researcher be either granted or denied permission to defend their dissertation in public. The statement cannot be conditional. Receiving permission for public examination requires that the doctoral researcher has completed all studies required for the doctoral degree in addition to the dissertation.

  • If both of the pre-examiners recommend that the researcher is granted the permission to defend their dissertation at a public examination, the Chief Academic Officer prepares permission for public examination to be handled by the Faculty Council.
    • After the permission to defend has been granted, the supervisor proposes the custos and the opponent(s) by using the electronic form. 

>>> Proposal of opponent and custos (electronic form)

  • If one or both of the pre-examiner´s statements are against accepting the manuscript for defence, the pre-examination is usually discontinued. According to the Universities Act (558/2009, 44§) the doctoral researcher may make an appeal on the statements. These types of appeals are rare and usually based on a grave error or misunderstanding in the pre-examiner’s statement. Situations of this kind are rare. Usually the pre-examiner’s unfavourable statements are clearly linked to the shortcomings of the dissertation. If the doctoral researcher makes an appeal, the Faculty Council will deal with the matter.
    • After the discontinuation of the pre-examination process, the doctoral researcher should revise the manuscript according to the pre-examiners’ feedback. When the supervisors consider that all required corrections have been made, a new pre-examination procedure can be started. As a rule, the manuscript is submitted to the same pre-examiners than in the first case or for a well justifiable reason to new pre-examiners. The doctoral researcher must deliver a list of corrections to the faculty. The list will be delivered to the pre-examiners.


Publishing and Distribution

The doctoral researcher takes care of printing the dissertation. You can start the publishing process when you have been granted with the permission to defend. University of Turku has a publication series Annales Universitatis Turkuensis which publishes all the dissertations which have been granted a permission to defend. The University recommends that all dissertations and other theses are created digitally and published in the online publication archive.

You’ll find information about publishing and printing the dissertation on the website of the University Library. The dissertation does not have to be printed as a book if the doctoral researcher publishes it electronically.

>> Instructions in the Library’s ResearchGuides

Support for Publishing Doctoral Dissertation

The Faculty of Education supports printing of the dissertations.  More information about the support, please see the University of Turku Guidelines for Dissertation Defence.

>> University of Turku Guidelines for Dissertation Defence

Distribution of Doctoral Dissertation

Minimum printing requirements for and distribution of printed dissertations when the dissertation is also published electronically in the institutional repository of the University of Turku (delivered by the doctoral researcher):

  • Feeniks Library 2 copies (of which 1 is a reading copy to be placed on display)
    • Delivered to the Info desk of the Feeniks Library or mailed to address 'Feeniks Library, 20014 University of Turku'
  • The National Library of Finland 6 complementary copies
    • The printing house will deliver them to the Library
  • Rector 1 copy
    • Mailed to the address 'Rector Jukka Kola, 20014 University of Turku'. 
  • Faculty 1 copy
    • Delivered to Chief Academic Officer, 4th floor, Educarium
  • Opponent 1 copy 
  • Custos 1 copy
  • Preliminary examiners 1-2 copies
  • Chair of the evaluation group 1 copy
  • Voluntary copies to be sold at UTUShop (e.g. 5 copies)
    • Delivered to the Main Building of the University (University Hill)
  • Doctoral researcher’s own copies

If the dissertation is NOT published electronically in the institutional repository of the University of Turku, the doctoral researcher delivers in addition 20 copies for public distribution at the dissertation defence. 

If the dissertation is published only electronically in the institutional repository of the University of Turku, the doctoral researcher delivers stapled copies with cardboard or transparent plastic covers as follows:

  • Feeniks Library 2 copies (of which 1 is a reading copy to be placed on display)
  • Faculty 1 copy
  • Additionally, the doctoral researcher delivers a printout of the Finnish abstract to the Rector. 

The electronically published dissertations have to be delivered as a publishable file (PDF) to the Library Publication Services (julkaisut@utu.fi) 15 days before the public defence of the doctoral dissertation. The dissertation is published in the publication archive no later than 10 days before the defence. If the dissertation is published only in print or both in print and electronically, the printed version has to be submitted to the University no later than 10 days before the dissertation defence by 12pm.


Organising Dissertation Defence

After getting the permission to defend, you can start organising the publishing of your dissertation and the public examination. Remember also to organise the traditional post-doctoral party (karonkka).

The supervisor discusses with the Dean who would be the opponent. Often, one of the pre-examiners is the opponent. The doctoral researcher reserves the lecture hall for the public examination (in Turku varaukset@utu.fi, in Rauma timo.anttila@utu.fi). When the date and place of the examination has been decided, please enter the information in the UGIS-portal and send the information to Chief Academic Officer via email (edupostgraduate@utu.fi).

When the permission to defend has been granted and the opponent nominated, send an announcement of the public defence to the University Communications, so that they will also receive the basic information about the public examination for the press release and event calendar.

The Travel Services of the University (matkapalvelut@utu.fi) may help the opponent in booking their accommodation and travels. The Education Secretary will send the opponent instructions how to invoice the costs afterwards.

The custos acts as the host of the opponent. It is good to inform foreign opponents about the procedure and dress code already before the big day. Good guidelines are on the university website.

After the public examination, the doctoral researcher usually organises a reception with coffee and cake or sparkling wine etc. for the audience of the examination. In Educarium, the reception is usually kept at the lobby of the 4th floor. You can talk about practicalities with Maintenance Services Officer Ari Anteroinen (ari.anteroinen@utu.fi, tel. 02-333 8820


Approval and Evaluation of Dissertation

An evaluation group consisting of the Custos, Opponent(s) and one assistant/associate professor or professor from the Faculty (or, if necessary, external) delivers a proposal on the acceptance and on the grading of the doctoral dissertation to the Faculty Council. The evaluation group assembles on the day of the dissertation defence. In the case that the Custos serves also as the supervisor of the dissertation, the Custos takes part solely in the beginning of the conversation and exits for the duration of the conversation concerning the grading of the dissertation.

The Opponent(s) prepare(s) a written statement on the doctoral dissertation. The Opponent is supplied with the pre-examination statements, which they can opt to utilise in writing the statement. Translated versions of the statements are not provided.

The Faculty Council approves and grades the doctoral dissertation on the basis of the Opponent’s (or Opponents’) written statement, the grade suggestion by the evaluation group and other possible written remarks.

The author of the dissertation is provided with the opportunity to lodge a written appeal against the statements before the dissertation is assessed in the Faculty Council meeting (Universities Act 558/2009, section 44).

In the Faculty Council, those members of the council that have obtained a doctoral degree can partake in the assessment of the dissertation. In addition to the chair, a minimum of three such council members are required to be present at the meeting (University of Turku Rules of Procedure 1 September 2021, sections 20 and 26).

The disputant has the opportunity to request for rectification in writing within 14 days of notification of the Faculty Council decision (Universities Act 558/2009, sections 44 and 82, University of Turku Rules of Procedure 16 March 2018, 9.2.). 

The doctoral dissertations are assessed on the grading scale fail-pass. Only a dissertation that is of an exceptionally high level and meritorious may obtain the grade approved with honours.

An approved doctoral dissertation (grade: pass) fulfils the assessment criteria described below.

A doctoral dissertation may be granted with the grade approved with honours, when the dissertation shows significant scientific value. In such circumstances, the dissertation is of exceptionally high quality in relation to the assessment categories. If the grade approved with honours is suggested for the dissertation, the evaluation group produces a written statement in which the grade choice is justified in comparison to the assessment categories. The dissertations with the grade approved with honours represent the top 10 per cent of doctoral dissertations in the field of educational sciences.

Assessment Categories

Choice of topic and the research problem

The subject is connected to previous research. The doctoral dissertation produces new information. The research area is limited to an appropriate extent. The research problem and the research questions have been set in a manner that allows meaningful answers within the study.

Conceptual clarity and theoretical command of the topic
The dissertation is clear in terms of concepts used. The author shows command of background theories and is able to conceptualise their research problem.

Usage of methods
The chosen methods are well justified and they provide a means to answer the research questions. The author shows command of research methods.

Research material
The research material is of high quality and sufficient in terms of research questions and methods.

Presentation of results
The results are presented in a clear and coherent manner. The analysis is logical and well-grounded.

The conclusions are systematic and justified by the research design. The conclusions are connected with previous research. The author has considered the boundaries of the new information produced by their research.

Research ethics
The research abides to good scientific procedures. The author discusses the research ethical questions related to the research in a comprehensive and appropriate manner.

The dissertation as a whole and linguistic expression
The dissertation is appropriate in terms of structure and clear in its linguistic style. The text and argumentation are coherent and logical. The author demonstrates competence in critical thinking and in independence.

Dissertation defence
The author presents and defends their dissertation well and with expertise.