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 the Preliminary Examination

Language Check of the Manuscript

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

Detecting the Originality of the Manuscript

The supervisor makes sure that the manuscript is ready for preliminary examination, and she/he is responsible for the Turnitin originality check. 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 at 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

Doctoral degree includes 60/40 ECTS of studies, and those need to be completed by the time the manuscript leaves for pre-examination. Please check that your studies are completed, and send the module to be checked via UGIS-portal.


Preliminary Examination of the Dissertation

The manuscript can be send to preliminary examination when the supervisor has accepted it. The doctoral candidate submits the thesis to the preliminary examination process with the required attachments in UGIS-portal. Please, use the electronic form: Send in your thesis manuscript and attachments.

The supervisor considers preliminary examiners, negotiates with the Dean and checks that the examiners will accept the task. After this, the supervisor makes a proposal for pre-examiners by using an e-form: Proposal of people involved in the disseratation process.

At this point proposal of pre-examiners is enough, the Opponent and Custos can be proposed after the Permission to Defend Dissertation has been approved. The supervisor attaches a signed Turnitin certificate to the electronic form for making a proposal for pre-examiners (or delivers the original copy to Educarium Service Point). The proposal will be sent to the doctoral candidate by email to be approved, so the doctoral candidate should check her emails!

The Chief Academic Officer prepares the appoinment of the preliminary examiners to the Dean. The preliminary examiners should have the qualifications of at least a docent (or a verified corresponding level when the preliminary examiner is not from Finland; in these situations, the supervisor presents the Dean with written reasons for the decision while suggesting preliminary examiners). 

After Dean's decision the dissertation manuscript and instructions will be sent to the pre-examiners. The pre-examinators have 2 months time to give their statements. The statements will be sent to the Chief Academic Officer/Education Secretary, who forwards those to the doctoral candidate and the supervisor. The doctoral candidate is given the opportunity to give a written appeal against a pre-examiner's statement.



Permission to Defend

The Chief Academic Officer or the Education Secretary sends the statements of the preliminary examiners to the doctoral candidate and their supervisors.
If the statements recommend that a permission to defend should be granted, and if all the other studies required for the degree are ready, the permission issue is taken to the next Faculty Council meeting. The doctoral candidate is given an opportunity to comment on the statements made by the preliminary examiners. If the Faculty Council grants the permission to defend, the Chief Academic Officer / Education Secretary informs the doctoral candidate and the supervisors.
If the preliminary examination statements recommend that a permission to defend should not be granted, the doctoral candidate must revise the manuscript. After revising, the manuscript goes to a new preliminary examination, usually to the same examiners as on the first round.

After the permission to defend has been granted, the supervisor proposes the custos, the opponent(s) and the evaluation group of the dissertation by sending a form Proposal of People Involved in the Disseration Process.

Publishing and Distribution

The doctoral candidate 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 candidate publishes it electronically.

Support for Publishing the Doctoral Dissertation

The Faculty of Education supports printing of those dissertations which are published also in the online publication archive. More information about the support can be found on the Faculty intranet pages (utu user account required). After receiving a notice of the funding, the printing house may send an invoice stating the sum of the subsidy directly to the Faculty. The difference between the invoice and the grant is paid by the doctoral candidate.
The printing houses were invited to tender in summer 2019 by the University of Turku. As a rule, the support is granted for dissertations printed in the printing houses who have contract with the University of Turku. Please find their information on the Guidelines for Dissertation Defence pages.

> University of Turku Guidelines for Dissertation Defence

> Faculty of Education's instructions on the minimum printing requirement and distribution of doctoral dissertations (pdf)

> Instructions in the Library’s ResearchGuides

Organising the 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 candidate 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.

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 candidate 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 the Dissertation

After the public examination of the dissertation, the opponent writes a statement for the Faculty. The dissertation is approved and evaluated at the next  Faculty Council meeting. After that, the doctoral candidate will get the degree certificate from the Faculty.

​​After the public examination of the dissertation,​ an evaluation group, including the first supervisor, an opponent(s), one professor from the Faculty (or, if necessary, external), and in principal the other pre-examiner (when there in only one opponent) makes a suggestion of a grade for the  dissertation.

The opponent writes a statement for the Faculty. The Chief Academic Officer delivers the statement to the doctoral candidate and supervisors. The dissertation is approved and evaluated at the next Faculty Council meeting. The doctoral candidate is given an opportunity to comment on the statement.

The degree certificate is automatically made at the Faculty after the approval of the dissertation.

When employed at the University of Turku, remember to send the copy of the degree certificate to the Salary Office.

An Errata page can be added for a dissertation published in the online publication archive. The Errata page must be added within one month from the approval of the dissertation.

Evaluation of the Dissertation

The following aspects are evaluated when considering the approval and grade of the dissertation:

  • Choice of topic and research problem. While the topic must be connected to previous research, it must also produce genuinely new knowledge and may even launch a new line of research. The research area must be defined appropriately. The questions posed by the research problem must be set in such a way that they can be reasonably answered in the research.
  • Clarity of the concepts used and command of the relevant theory. The concepts used must be clear and the author must prove that they are in command of the theories behind the research and able to conceptualise the research problem.
  • Methods used. The methods used must be well grounded and they must provide an answer to the research problem. Versatile use of the methodology will be considered a merit. Profound competence in and creative use of the methodology will be considered a further asset.
  • Material. The materials used must be of high quality and sufficient from the point of view of both the research problem and the methods used.
  • Presentation of results. The research results must be presented in a clear and consistent matter. The analysis must be logical and well grounded.
  • Conclusions. The conclusions must be systematic and well grounded, and they must be presented in relation to the research problem as well as to the materials and methods used.
  • The dissertation as a whole and the standard of the language used. The structure of the dissertation must be coherent and the language used must be clear. The text should flow in a cohesive and logical manner and focus on the essential. Arguments should proceed logically. The researcher must demonstrate critical thinking, originality and independence.

Doctoral Dissertation Is Evaluated on the Following Scale:

5 (excellent): The dissertation is ambitious in its choice of topic. In the light of essential assessment criteria and also by international comparisons, it is highly distinguished.

4 (very good): In the light of the assessment criteria, the dissertation has distinct merits that are not undermined by deficiencies in other respects.

3 (good): The dissertation is of good normal standard. The concepts and language used are clear. The research problem, methods and end results are well grounded and based on relevant material. The dissertation’s distinct merits can compensate for possible deficiencies that may have come up in the light of the assessment criteria.

2 (satisfactory): In the light of the assessment criteria, the dissertation has some distinct deficiencies that are not sufficiently compensated by distinct merits.

1 (sufficient): In the light of the assessment criteria, the dissertation has a number of distinct deficiencies that are not sufficiently compensated by distinct merits.