|Research and dissertation|
At Aalto University, the goal is for the doctoral candidates to complete their degree in four years of full-time study, during which they complete the required doctoral studies and write a doctoral dissertation to be examined in a public examination of a doctoral dissertation. For this goal to be feasible, the workload of the degree shall be proportionate to the objective duration of studies. This shall be taken into account in the course of the supervision of the doctoral candidate.
An approved doctoral dissertation may be:
A publication consisting of separate publications or manuscripts shall meet the scientific criteria for a doctoral dissertation when evaluated as an entity.
A monograph is a coherent writing based on the work of the doctoral candidate and written by the candidate. The monograph may contain references to previous works by the doctoral candidate on the same topic. The independent contribution of the candidate must be described.
The doctoral dissertation describes the research problem, the research goals, the used methods and results, and presents a summary of the key findings. The summary shall assess the significance of the study for the discipline.
Examination: Examining a monograph requires particular precision and carefulness, since the content is examined as something new.
An article-based doctoral dissertation consists of a set of publications on a related set of problems, and a summary of the findings.
The articles included in the doctoral dissertation are published or submitted for publication in an acknowledged peer-reviewed forum in the discipline (for example a scientific publication series, conference proceedings or other work). Articles not yet accepted for publication can also be included in the doctoral dissertation. The number of publications required for the dissertation depends on their extent, scientific significance and quality as well as on the weight of the independent contribution of the doctoral candidate to the publications.
The articles may also include co-authored publications if the author's independent contribution to them can be demonstrated. An article can be included in several dissertations if the separate contribution of the doctoral candidate can be demonstrated.
The summary of the article-based doctoral dissertation is an independent entity, which provides an overview of the dissertation contents. The summary shall describe the research problem, research goals and methods, and presents a summary of the key findings. The summary shall assess the significance of the study for the discipline. The summary shall contain a list of the publications included in the dissertation and describe the independent contribution of the candidate in each publication separately.
Examination: In an article-based dissertation, all or some of the articles have already undergone peer review. The examination is thus directed with particular precision and carefulness on the unpublished manuscript and on the summary.
An essay-based doctoral dissertation consists of scientific essays and a summary. The essays and the summary shall deal with a single research problem or set of problems.
Each of the essays shall contain new results and viewpoints, and shall primarily be based on independent research by the author, but also collaboratively written essays may be accepted as part of the doctoral dissertation.
The number of essays required depends on their extent, scientific significance and quality as well as on the weight of the independent contribution of the author to the essays.
The summary describes the research problem, research goals and methods, and presents a summary of the key findings. The summary shall assess the significance of the study for the discipline. The summary contains a description of the independent contribution of the author in each of the essays.
Examination: In an essay-based dissertation, the examination is directed with particular precision and carefulness on the unpublished essays and on the summary.
At its discretion, the school may also approve as a doctoral dissertation some other work meeting corresponding scientific criteria.
As of 1 August 2020, the accepted forms of theses are monographs, article-based dissertations and essay-based dissertations. A period of transition is one academic year, until 31.7.2021. On reasonable grounds, a dissertation manuscript of form ‘Other works meeting corresponding scientific criteria’ can be submitted for pre-examination before this. (Curriculum for Aalto Doctoral Programme in Science 2020-2022)
The doctoral dissertations of Aalto University are published in compliance with the Aalto University open access principles.
Open access to doctoral dissertations is made possible by the authors depositing their work in the open access repository maintained by Aalto, Aaltodoc.
From academic year 2019-2020 onwards, personal information of those doctoral students who enrol as attending is transferred to Aalto Current Research Information System (ACRIS). More information.
If the dissertation contains material that has already been published (such as pictures) the doctoral candidate should refer to it appropriately and obtain the required copyrights. Copyrights should also be obtained for the separate publications included in an article dissertation. Publications in an electronic form should be equivalent in content with the printed publications.
Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity: Responsible conduct of research.
The idea of scientific writing with references and source information is to show your own contribution (new research results) in relation to what was already known.
The requirement is that you write in your own words and give credit to the authors of the sources you have utilized. Besides being a skill, this requirement is also an ethical principle. Disregarding this principle means for example unacknowledged borrowing or plagiarism. Because plagiarism is not accepted in dissertations sent for pre-examination, it is worth practicing and making sure beforehand that your text is following good practices of academic writing.
It is highly recommended to utilize Turnitin in order to identify unintentional and intentional plagiarism.
The most fruitful way of taking advantage of Turnitin is to use it in co-operation with your supervising professor. You can check if your supervising professor already has a workspace in MyCourses. If your supervising professor doesn’t have a workspace, he/she can order a ready-made personal workspace for thesis supervision.
1. Draft versions of the dissertation
The purpose of using Turnitin for draft versions of the dissertation, is to improve the scientific writing of the doctoral candidate and to prevent unpleasant surprises later in the process.
2. Final version of the dissertation to be sent for pre-examination
The purpose of using Turnitin on the final version of the dissertation manuscript to be sent for pre-examination is to check that the dissertation sent to the pre-examiners doesn’t contain plagiarism.
3. The final version of the dissertation to be published (permission for public defense has been granted)
The purpose of Turnitin usage for the final version of a dissertation/thesis is bipartite:
You can use word or LaTeX template when writing your dissertation text. Templates are available in Aalto webpages (requires login).
The School appoints to each doctoral candidate a supervisor and a thesis advisor. Their role is significant in starting the studies and research as well as in the final phases. They support and encourage the doctoral candidate, help with financing arrangements and also contribute to the doctoral candidate’s career planning. The supervising professor is in charge of the doctoral candidate's studies and research in their entirety. S/he should see to that the general arrangements for successful studies and research are adequate.
The supervising professor may delegate to the thesis advisor some of the duties listed below, or act himself/herself as a thesis advisor. The duties are agreed upon in the doctoral candidate's supervision plan.
The doctoral candidate may have several thesis advisors at different stages of the research, e.g. if the chosen methodology requires external expertise.
Aalto University Academic Affairs Committee, 20 December 2011
The supervising professor is in charge of the supervision arrangements for the doctoral candidate. The supervising professor is obligated to supervise those doctoral candidates who have enrolled as attending doctoral candidates, who have progressed in their studies according to their personal study plan, and who report on the progress of their studies on a regular basis. The supervising professor may either assign some of the duties mentioned below to the thesis advisor. The thesis advisor shall hold a Doctor of Science (Technology) or a similar academic doctoral degree. What is said below of the duties of the supervising professor shall apply, as appropriate, also to the thesis advisor, where compliant with the division of responsibilities specified in the plan.
Aalto University Academic Affairs Committee, 20 December 2011
When starting doctoral studies, the doctoral candidate commits to long-term and goal-oriented study and research. The doctoral candidate has a right to study in accordance with the personal study plan and to receive knowledgeable guidance in his/her studies on a regular basis. In return for such guidance, the doctoral candidate commits to studying in accordance with the confirmed study plan and the associated research proposal. Eligibility for supervision also requires enrolling as an attending doctoral candidate at the university.
In addition, the doctoral candidate commits to acting in compliance with the guidelines of the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity on good scientific practice.
Doctoral candidates admitted to doctoral education are required to prepare a personal study plan including at least the theoretical studies and a plan of the execution of the research. Also the supervision practices are agreed upon at the start of the doctoral studies. It is recommended that the supervising professor, thesis advisor(s) and the doctoral candidate make a written supervision plan where they agree on the responsibilities, rights and obligations of each party involved in the doctoral training process.
At the School of Science the supervision plan is required and shall be made when applying to doctoral studies. The supervision plan shall be updated as necessary, e.g. in cases where supervising professor or thesis advisor changes.
Supervision plan, if the doctoral degree is divided between two schools of Aalto for the funding model
Templates for supervison plan and research plan are available on page "How to apply" ("Application form and its appendices")
If the collaboration with your supervising professor does not work, you can always contact the students services of the doctoral programme and discuss how to proceed. Here are a few choices: