Helsinki University Library 1 copy Address: As per Faculty instructions, the remaining 11 printed copies of the dissertations must be distributed as follows: The doctoral candidate must provide any extra copies for distribution at the public examination. The statement must include an assessment of the scientific merits of the dissertation, of the fulfilment of its purpose, and of the performance of the doctoral candidate at the public examination.
Grounds must always be given for a decision to fail a dissertation. The Faculty Council will decide on the approval of the dissertation and on the grade awarded. The Faculty applies a two-tier grading scale: Pass and Pass with Distinction.
The latter grade is given only to dissertations of an exceptionally high standard and cannot be granted to more than ten per cent of dissertations approved by the Faculty. The opponent will submit a proposal for the grade to the Faculty. The preliminary examiners are also requested to submit with their statements a well-reasoned proposal for the grade. A doctoral dissertation must consist of peer-reviewed scholarly publications or manuscripts accepted for publication, as well as a summarising report on the said documents an article-based dissertation ; or it must be a scholarly work in the name of the doctoral candidate alone and based on previously unpublished research results a monograph.
All doctoral dissertations should meet the following scholarly criteria: The supervisor and the doctoral candidate must limit the topic and content of the dissertation in such a way that the degree can be completed in four years of full-time study.
The doctoral dissertation must have a brief abstract of one to two pages, providing a summary of the dissertation and its key results.
Instructions for opponents and preliminary examiners. Permission to print and defend the dissertation. Advertising the dissertation and its public examination. Approval of the dissertation. When examining a dissertation or a Licentiate thesis, particular consideration should be given to the following: The topic and its originality The quality of the research material and its applicability to investigating the matter under discussion The research methods and their reliability.
Has the work required the use of methods which examine the problem under scrutiny in a new way, or the creation of completely new methods? The reliability and scientific significance of the observations. Do the research results support previous observations, or does the research feature completely new observations? Are the conclusions reliable, and can the author contrast his or her own observations with previous research?
Particular attention should be paid to the significance of the conclusions with respect to opening new perspectives in the field of the dissertation. Does the author display a command of the field and a familiarity with the literature? Are the overall composition the relative scope and logical organisation of the literature review and the sections discussing the material, methods, etc.
Public examination The Faculty Council appoints one or two opponents to examine the dissertation, and one of the Faculty professors as the custos for the public examination. The course of the public examination Advertising the public examination Instructions for advertising the public examination at the Faculty of Medicine can be found here.
Distribution of dissertations The doctoral candidate must submit free-of-charge deposit copies to the University ten days before the public examination, as specified in the instructions below. Distribution of dissertations from 1 January A total of 20 copies of the dissertation must be printed, regardless of whether the doctoral candidate intends to also publish the dissertation online using the E-thesis service. University of Helsinki head porter University of Helsinki Main Building PO Box 3 Fabianinkatu 33 University of Helsinki As per Faculty instructions, the remaining 11 printed copies of the dissertations must be distributed as follows: Doctoral candidate, opponent and custos Supervisor s Faculty of Medicine Education Planning Officer, research and postgraduate studies PO Box 63 Haartmaninkatu 8, 3 rd floor University of Helsinki The doctoral candidate must provide any extra copies for distribution at the public examination.
In addition, the relevant parties must not have been in close contact or have influenced appointment decisions in the past three years connection between an applicant and a member of an appointment committee. Being on the editorial staff of the same publication, writing an article for the same collection of articles special issue or compilation or submitting an unsuccessful application for funding do not constitute grounds for disqualification. Supervisors themselves must decide on their disqualification and refrain from evaluation or decision-making if there is reason to suspect grounds for disqualification.
The Faculty strives to clear up any issues related to ineligibility before the examiners are officially appointed. The statement will be enclosed with the minutes of the Faculty Council meeting in which it decides on the permission to defend the dissertation, after which the statement will become a public document. The Faculty Council of the Faculty of Educational Sciences will appoint two preliminary examiners for a doctoral dissertation based on the proposal of the responsible professor.
The preliminary examiners must be professors or docents, or doctoral degree holders with equivalent academic qualifications. As a rule, the preliminary examiners must come from outside the University of Helsinki.
A person who has co-authored publications or worked together on a research project with the doctoral candidate may not be appointed as a pre-examiner. Please see Ethical instructions below. The pre-examiners are requested to submit their statements to the Faculty within two months. Their statements must explicitly recommend that the candidate be either granted or denied permission to defend his or her dissertation in public. When drafting their statements, the pre-examiners must take into consideration the assessment criteria for doctoral dissertations approved by the Faculty of Educational Sciences.
The pre-examiner may write his own statement or a joint statement with the other pre-examiner. The doctoral candidate will enclose with the dissertation manuscript a written report, approved by the supervisor, describing his or her contribution to the research.
The pre-examiners may demand that corrections and improvements be made to the manuscript before recommending that permission for a public defence be granted.
The doctoral candidate must not contact the pre-examiners during the examination process. In addition to submitting their statements to the Faculty, the pre-examiners may make comments and detailed suggestions for corrections directly to the author. The author then discusses with the supervisors which suggestions will be included in the final version of the dissertation. In assessing an article based dissertation it must be noted that the articles have already been published and therefore focus on the summary.
Doctoral dissertations are graded on a scale of Pass with Distinction, Pass or Fail. As a rule, doctoral dissertations receive the grade Pass. The Fail grade must be given only if the dissertation includes serious ethical deficiencies. In exceptional cases, if a doctoral dissertation is highly distinguished in the light of all assessment criteria, the dissertation may receive the grade Pass with Distinction.
Pass with distinction The dissertation is outstanding and ambitious in the light of all the assessment criteria. The dissertation meets the relevant ethical criteria. Choice of topic and research problem While the dissertation topic must be connected to previous research, the dissertation should also generate genuinely new knowledge. It may also serve to open a new line of investigation. The study must be appropriately delineated. The research questions must be phrased in a way that allows them to be reasonably answered within the scope of the study.
Conceptual clarity and theoretical mastery of the topic The concepts must be clear, and the author must demonstrate that he or she is in command of the theories behind the research and able to conceptualise the research problem. Use of methods The methods must be well grounded and enable the author to address the research problem. Diverse use of research methods is commendable, as is in-depth mastery and insightful use of the research methods.
Material The material must be high quality and sufficient considering the choice of research problem and method. Presentation of the results The results must be presented clearly and logically. Analysis should be logical and well grounded. Conclusions The conclusions must be systematic and well grounded and pertain to the research problem, material and method. The author should avoid speculation. The dissertation as a whole and the standard of the language used The dissertation must have a logical structure with clear language.
The text should be coherent and logical and focus on the essential. Argumentation must advance logically. The researcher must demonstrate critical thinking, originality and independence.
Brief summary of the practices and procedures followed in the public examination of doctoral dissertations. In the actual examination, the opponent discusses the dissertation.
He or she may spend at most four hours on this examination. At the conclusion of the public examination, the opponent makes a final statement. The opponent must submit to the Faculty Council a reasoned written statement on the dissertation within two weeks of its public examination. The opponent and the internal examiners must together complete the dissertation assessment form. In the Faculty of Educational Sciences, the dissertation supervisor the professor in charge of dissertation supervision is usually appointed as the custos.
As the chair of the public examination, the custos opens the examination, presents the doctoral candidate and the opponent as well as ensures that the doctoral candidate is able to respond to each comment and that the speakers do not digress from the topic.
The custos also ensures that the public examination proceeds appropriately and in a dignified manner. If the examination takes a long time, the custos may interrupt it by announcing a break.
The examination cannot last more than six hours. The custos closes the public examination. The custos must write a statement on the public examination and submit it to the Faculty Council. This statement must mention the time, place and duration of the public examination as well as the number of participants, and provide a description of it.
The custos must also record the comments and questions from the audience in his or her statement. It is standard practice in the Faculty of Educational Sciences that, unless the custos has supervised the dissertation, he or she participates in its grading, serves on the grading committee appointed by the Faculty Council and is entitled to vote as a committee member. If the custos has supervised the dissertation, he or she will have the right to speak but not to vote at the committee meeting.
Members of the committee include the custos, the opponent s and one or two faculty representatives. The faculty representative must be a professor or a member of the research and teaching staff who has the qualifications of a docent. The committee must include at least three members entitled to vote. The members of the grading committee must attend the public examination of the dissertation and the committee meeting following the public examination.
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These rules and guidelines are based on the 20 June Rector’s Decision entitled “Preliminary examination and approval of doctoral dissertations as well as general dissertation criteria at the University of Helsinki”, and further specifications laid down in the decisions of the Faculty. All doctoral dissertations completed at the University of Helsinki are to be published in the University’s open digital archive, i.e., the E-thesis service. For compelling reasons (e.g., if the dissertation contains unpublished articles) the doctoral candidate may refrain from publishing the dissertation using E-thesis.
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