Who can act as a supervising professor or a thesis advisor?

  • Every doctoral candidate is assigned one supervising professor.

    The Doctoral Programme Committee assigns one of the professors in the student's major as the supervising professor for the student. The supervising professor must be a tenure-track professor of the school, though for special reasons, a non-tenure track professor of the school may be appointed by decision of the dean. A retired professor (e.g. Emeritus or Senior Advisor) cannot be the supervising professor.

    The supervising professor holds the overall responsibility for the degree of the doctoral candidate and the related supervision arrangements. The supervising professor may also act as the thesis advisor.According to the Degree regulations, also a co-supervisor can be assigned by the Doctoral Programme Committee.

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    The Doctoral Programme Committee assigns one of the professors in the student's major as the supervising professor for the student. The supervising professor must be a tenure-track professor of the school, though for special reasons, a non-tenure track professor of the school may be appointed by decision of the dean. A retired professor (e.g. Emeritus or Senior Advisor) cannot be the supervising professor.

    The supervising professor holds the overall responsibility for the degree of the doctoral candidate and the related supervision arrangements. The supervising professor may also act as the thesis advisor.According to the Degree regulations, also a co-supervisor can be assigned by the Doctoral Programme Committee. A co-supervisor can be assigned only in exceptional cases on reasonable grounds because of multidisciplinarity of the dissertation or in Cotutelle-agreements. The co-supervisor shares with the supervising professor the overall responsibility for the degree of the doctoral candidate and for the related supervision arrangements.

  • Every doctoral student is assigned also one ore more thesis advisors.

    The Doctoral Programme Committee assigns also one or more thesis advisors. The thesis advisor shall hold a doctoral degree or a similar academic doctoral degree and have expertise in the subject area of the doctoral dissertation. The duties of the thesis advisor are defined in the supervision plan of the doctoral candidate. As necessary, the supervising professor of the dissertation may also act as the thesis advisor

  • Full-time students are expected to complete their degree within four years.

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    Full-time doctoral students must be able to spend 80 % of their working hours on doctoral studies. For part-time doctoral students the study time is longer, up to 8 year.

Supervision of doctoral candidates

  • The duties of the supervising professor, the thesis advisor(s) and the doctoral candidate is agreed on in the supervision plan.

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    The supervising professor is in charge of the supervision arrangements for the doctoral candidate until the degree has been completed. The supervising professor agrees upon the division of the responsibilities between him/herself and the thesis advisor(s), and the duties of each party are stated in the supervision plan. The supervising professor may also act as the thesis advisor.

  • The supervising professor, the thesis advisor and the doctoral candidate discuss the progress of the research work on a regular basis, as agreed on in the supervision plan. 

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    The research plan describes the research work of the doctoral dissertation and is approved by the supervising professor and the doctoral candidate. The supervising professor and thesis advisor follows up on the progress of the student and the research plan is updated regularily.


  • The supervising professor and the doctoral candidate agree on the candidate’s personal study plan, ie the theoretical studies for the degree.

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    The supervising professor and the candidate discuss the progress of the studies on a regular basis (at least once a year). Once all the theoretical studies for the degree have been completed, they need to be confirmed (LINKKI). It is possible to give the students credits for e.g. reading assignments, and attending conferences and summer schools, and these can be included in the theoretical studies. See also the doctoral programme's recommendations for credits given for individual study attainments (pdf)


If the supervising professor or thesis advisor of the doctoral candidate changes

If the candidate’s supervising professor or thesis advisor changes (e.g. if the topic of the dissertation changes, or the supervising professor retires), the new supervising professor or thesis advisor has to be confirmed officially by the Chair of the Doctoral Programme Committee.


Examination and evaluation of licentiate theses

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  • The supervising professor submits the manuscript of the licentiate thesis to the examiner and requests its examination, and a statement of it. The Doctoral Programme Committee shall evaluate the licentiate thesis based on the examiner’s statement.

Pre-examination of doctoral dissertations

  • The supervisor or department head signs the proposal for appointing the preliminary examiners for a dissertation manuscript, the supervising professors confirms that the dissertation is complete and ready for pre-examination.


  • Check that the authors contribution description and if applicable that also the clarification of subcontracting is correct.

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    The supervising professor goes through the doctoral candidate’s written clarification of his/her contribution to the dissertation and approves the contribution as sufficient for a doctoral dissertation when signing the pre-examination application form. If  subcontracting or other outsourcing services have been used in the dissertation work, a clarification of this needs to be made and added in the dissertation as well. The supervising professor approves this clarification by signing the pre-examination application form.


  • The supervising professor shall propose two independent pre-examiners (LINKKI) to the dissertation

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    Please check who can act as a pre-examiner(LINKKI) and the guidelines for pre-examiners (LINKKI). The Doctoral Programme Committee decides on the examiners based on the supervising professor’s proposition.

  • After the pre-examiners have been appointed, the department secretary sends the manuscript with instructions to the pre-examiners.
  • When the statements have arrived the Doctoral Programme sends them to the doctoral candidate and the supervising professor.
  • The supervising professor makes sure that the doctoral candidate makes all the necessary corrections (LINKKI) to the dissertation manuscript that have come up as a result of the pre-examination process.
  • The Doctoral Programme Committee grants the permission for public defence (ie permission for publishing the dissertation and proceed to the defene).

The public defence

  • The supervising professor proposes an opponent for the public defence, the custos, the date, the time, the place and language of the defense.

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    • The Doctoral Programme Committee appoints the opponent and confirms the custos, the date, the time, the place and the language of the defence based on the supervising professor’s proposition. The supervising professor acts as the Custos of the defence.
    • If the opponent has been appointed at the same time as pre-examiners, but e.g. the time and place of the public defence need to be changed, this can be confirmed by the Chair of the Doctoral Programme Committee.
  • Arrangements for the public defence along with the opponent’s travel arrangements and the opponent’s remuneration are taken care of at the department. The Coordinator of the doctoral programme provides practical instructions for the candidate.

Evaluation of the final dissertation

  • The Doctoral Programme Committee evaluates the dissertation based on the opponent’s written statement and decides about its approval.