Instructions about Doctoral Studies at the Faculty of Science

Postgraduate studies

The structure of the doctoral studies is determined in the study guide

In the Faculty of Science, the structure of a doctoral degree is as follows:

  • Dissertation and the public defence 200 ECTS
  • Postgraduate studies 40 ECTS
    • Studies Supporting Research Topic 20-34 ECTS
    • Studies supporting mobility and professional career 2-10 ECTS
    • General studies aiming for expertise 4-10 ECTS

Doctoral researchers who have begun their studies before the autumn 2018 may complete their degree according to the prior curriculum and a personal study plan (60 ECTS) until 31.7.2024. After that deadline all postgraduate degrees will be completed following to 40 ECTS postgraduate study requirements.

Study units specific to doctoral studies (presentations/posters at a conference, research visits and the like) are accepted by the supervisor. The doctoral researcher sends a request for registering a study unit by filling in an electronic form. The form first goes to the coordinator of the doctoral programme for checking and then to the supervisor for acceptance.

Personal study plan
  • Doctoral researchers prepare their personal study plans together with their supervisors.
  • The plan must comply with the study requirements of the doctoral programme in the study guide.
  • The plan is approved by the research director.
  • The plan is prepared and approved according to the instructions in the UGIS portal.
Updating the plan
  • There is no need to update the personal study plan due to small changes (for example, the course recorded in the plan changes to another course in the same field). Changes in general studies aiming for expertise typically do not require an update of the plan.
  • If there are significant changes in the study module compared to the plan, the doctoral researcher will primarily discuss with their supervisor whether the desired learning outcomes will be achieved. The personal study plan will be updated if needed. The update of the plan is approved by the research director.
  • If the doctoral researcher wants to complete studies at other Finnish universities, then it may be necessary to update the study plan. See below Flexible Study Right - Studies at other universities
Flexible Study Right - Studies at other Finnish universities

Doctoral researchers can complete such courses at other Finnish universities that are not offered at the University of Turku. Completing a course at another university requires applying for the Flexible Study Right. The target university determines a way to apply for the flexible right to study.

  1. If your target university is Åbo Akademi, apply for the flexible study right using the electronic form. The electronic form for applying for the flexible study right from Åbo Akademi
  2. If your traget university is another Finnish university, check the application instructions from the website of the university.
    • If the flexible study right is applied for usign a form, you can find the form in When you have filled in and signed the form, send it by email to
    • If the university uses another application policy, follow the university's guidelines. Be sure to ask your faculty's doctoral training administrator (chief academic officer) for approval. If approval has not been requested, your application cannot be processed at the target university.

Requirements for obtaining a flexible study right for a course are as follows:

  • The course is included in the accepted study plan of the doctoral researcher. The course has thus been discussed with the supervisor and has been found to be suitable for the doctoral researcher's postgraduate studies. Please note, that you have to communicate with the doctoral programme coordinator to have your personal study plan officially accepted.
  • The corresponding course is not taught at the University of Turku.
  • The applicant must be able to include their applied studies into the minimum degree requirements (40/60 credits).
  • The official support of the Faculty of Science for a doctoral researcher's or licentiate student's flexible study rigth application is given by chief academic officer Sanna Ranto.

If doctoral researchers want to apply for a flexible study right for a course that is not yet included in their personal study plan, they must first update their plan. The personal study plan is updated in the UGIS portal.

Åbo Akademi University's (ÅA) courses are an exception. To complete ÅA courses, you must apply for a flexible study right, but it is not necessary to update your personal study plan before applying for a study right for ÅA courses.

Registering the completed course to the study register

When you have completed a course in another Finnish university (concerns also Åbo Akademi), apply for the registration of the study credit by the electronic form. Attach a study transcript which proves your achievement to your application.

Updating supervision plan

Electronic form for updating supervison plan

  • The doctoral researcher fills in the form after verbally agreed with the supervisors, research director and possible members of the follow-up group on the changing supervision arrangements.
  • The form will be reviewed by the doctoral programme coordinator. The coordinator forwards it to the supervisors and reserach director electronically for signature and approval by the decision makers.

  • Once the vice dean of the faculty has made a final decision, the approved supervision plan will be emailed to the doctoral researcher, supervisors and reserach director.


Signing a cotutelle agreement is a good idea when there is a need for doctoral dissertation supervision from another university located outside Finland.

Please contact Chief Academic Officer Sanna Ranto when you plan to make a cotutelle agreement.

See the Cotutelle instructions of the University of Turku.

Publication agreements

When doctoral researchers make publication agreements with publishers, they have to ensure that they are allowed to republish the articles as part of their doctoral thesis. If publishers set a time limit (embargo) for the right to republish an article, doctoral researchers have to ensure that there is no conflict with the planned schedule of the public defence of the doctoral thesis.

Passive register

Faculty-specific instructions

For more information, contact Chief Academic Officer Sanna Ranto.  

Before delivering an application, the doctoral student must be in contact with his/her supervisor and the Research Director. The application needs to contain:

  • A filled in and signed form to maintain an active study right.
  • A filled in and signed supervision plan
    • A signature from all supervisors and the Research Director is required.
    • Contains an updated personal study plan (HOPS).
  • An updated research plan, which states what has already been done in the thesis work and how the work will continue from here on. In addition, a schedule of the planned completion is required.

The application is delivered by email to


The applications for activating a study right which has been moved to the passive register are considered by Chief Academic Officer and Vice Dean. The faculty makes the decision about re-activating the study right after the doctoral programme and the department in question have been heard.

In the decision process, crucial elements are the viability of the proposed new plan as well as the supervisory resources of the department.

Decision against re-activation

Should the faculty, based on the reasons described above, decide agains re-activating a study right, the doctoral researcher may re-apply in one year at the earliest.