POLICIES ON DOCTORAL DEGREES AND OTHER POSTGRADUATE (3 RD CYCLE) DEGREES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI

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1 Unofficial translation POLICIES ON DOCTORAL DEGREES AND OTHER POSTGRADUATE (3 RD CYCLE) DEGREES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI Policy decisions by the University Senate on 8 June 2006 A central premise in preparatory work was that policies should be based on the strategic choices of the University of Helsinki, especially on the University s research-oriented profile. Doctoral dissertations and related research work are the most extensive and important parts of doctoral degrees. In the University policies, doctoral studies refer to all work required for a doctoral degree: the dissertation and related research work, seminars and other degree studies. Other doctoral studies may refer to a variety of teaching and learning methods, including courses or similar study units and studies integrated with research work which help the student reach the objectives of the doctoral degree. The doctoral degree as the primary postgraduate (3 rd cycle) degree Policy 1: The primary postgraduate (3 rd cycle) degree at the University of Helsinki is the doctoral degree. The University also offers Licentiate degrees which serve as professional qualifications or specialist degrees in some fields. The workload and credits of doctoral degrees Policy 2: Policy 3: Policy 4: Doctoral degrees will be defined and supervised so that they can be completed in four years of full-time study. Doctoral studies can be either full-time or part-time. The conditions of part-time students for doctoral studies and research will be ensured and enhanced. ECTS credits will not be used to define the total workload of doctoral degrees or the dissertation workload, but they will be used to define other doctoral studies.

2 Policies approved by the Senate on 8 June Doctoral studies and the required workload Policy 5: Doctoral degrees include the dissertation and related research work. They also include ECTS credits of other doctoral studies (40-60 ECTS credits in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine). Policy 6: Doctoral studies must support the dissertation and provide the knowledge and skills required for research work and other demanding expert assignments. In addition to research work and field-specific studies, doctoral studies consist of studies in the philosophy of science, research ethics, international research work and general areas of expertise, including leadership, university-level teaching and learning, scholarly communication and project work. General principles of admissions Policy 7: Admissions decisions are based on pre-determined and published criteria and systematic admissions. The University will ensure that prospective students receive high-quality supervision and support on the dissertation topic. To prepare matters relating to admissions, it is recommended that faculties or departments set up admissions committees or similar groups. Grading scales Policy 8: Policy 9: To assess doctoral studies, a general grading scale from 0 to 5 will be used (5=excellent, 4=very good, 3=good, 2=satisfactory, 1=adequate, 0=fail). Faculties can also use a pass-fail assessment system. It is recommended that an eight-tier scale be used to assess dissertations (laudatur, eximia cum laude approbatur, magna cum laude approbatur, cum laude approbatur, non sine laude approbatur, lubenter approbatur, approbatur, improbatur=failed). A faculty may, however, decide to use a three-tier scale instead (approved with distinction/approved/failed). The assessment criteria for each grade must be clearly described.

3 Policies approved by the Senate on 8 June Supervision and the personal study plan Policy 10: Policy 11: Policy 12: Policy 13: Policy 14: Each doctoral student must be assigned one or more than one supervisor. It is recommended that each student also be supported by a monitoring group. Supervision at the start of doctoral studies should be given particular attention. Each doctoral student must be provided with orientation in doctoral studies and with guidance in taking advantage of course offerings. The integration of doctoral students into the scholarly community must also be supported. Each doctoral student must be regularly supervised both in research work and in doctoral studies. Faculties will lay down general principles for the supervision of research work and studies, including the rights and responsibilities of students and supervisors. All doctoral students will draw up a personal study plan which consists of a research plan and a study progress plan. The personal study plan will be updated together with the supervisor throughout doctoral studies. Progress monitoring Policy 15: Faculties will systematically monitor students progress in research and studies. The personal study plan will be used as a monitoring tool. The information systems maintained by the University s Student Register will be developed to better meet the needs of monitoring and compiling statistics on doctoral education. Electronic systems can be widely used in supervision and monitoring. The ehops tool in Oodi will be developed for these purposes. The circumstances of postgraduate (3 rd cycle) students enrolled in the Student Register will be monitored seven years after they began postgraduate (3 rd cycle) studies. Students registered as attending students will then be asked to update their personal study plan together with their supervisor. The updated plan will be valid for up to three years at a time. This screening system

4 Policies approved by the Senate on 8 June will apply to all postgraduate (3 rd cycle) students. The Rector will decide on the practical implementation of screening. The Licentiate degree Policy 16: In addition to a Licentiate thesis, a Licentiate degree programme includes the same studies (60-80 ECTS credits) as those required for a doctoral degree, unless the Licentiate degree is a specialist degree or a professionally oriented degree. Each faculty will decide on studies included in specialist and professionally oriented Licentiate degrees. Each faculty will decide on the scope of Licentiate theses. The grading scales used to assess Licentiate studies are the same as in doctoral studies. Each faculty can decide whether to assess Licentiate theses using an eight-tier scale (laudatur, eximia cum laude approbatur, magna cum laude approbatur, cum laude approbatur, non sine laude approbatur, lubenter approbatur, approbatur, improbatur=fail) or a three-tier scale (approved with distinction/approved/failed). Specialist degrees in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine Policy 17: Faculties will decide on policies concerning the structures, contents and grading of specialist degree programmes in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine. Cooperation between doctoral programmes 1 and faculties in doctoral education Policy 18: Doctoral programmes and faculties must cooperate closely in the arrangement and implementation of teaching and supervision. The objective is that the education provided in doctoral programmes be of wider use in the relevant faculty and at the University as a whole. Principles of international joint degrees Policy 19: The relevant parties will conclude separate agreements on international joint degree programmes. These agreements will be signed by the Rector and the Dean on behalf of the University. 1 At the present, the Ministry of Education is funding a total of 124 Finnish doctoral programmes. Of these, 30 are coordinated by the University of Helsinki. These programmes may be multidisciplinary and coordinated by several universities.

5 Policies approved by the Senate on 8 June The agreements will cover at least the following: the objectives and parties of the degree programme, admissions criteria and arrangements, the student quotas for each participating university, a definition of the home university, the criteria for awarding a degree and a degree diploma, the distribution of duties and financial responsibilities, the practical organisation of student and teacher exchange, dissertation supervision (including joint supervision), and the public examination of doctoral dissertations. Information on postgraduate (3 rd cycle) studies Policy 20: The distribution of information relevant to national and international recruitment will be developed and targeted to key networks and partners in keeping with the University s strategic plan. The objective is to recruit talented and motivated students. General principles in the transition period Under the Universities Act, the transition period associated with the degree reform will conclude on 31 July 2010 in the degree programmes of Master of Science (Architecture), Master of Science (Technology), Master of Science (Landscape Architecture), Licentiate of Veterinary Medicine, Licentiate of Dentistry and Licentiate of Medicine, and on 31 July 2008 in other fields. Finnish universities will decide on practices and procedures in the transition period. After the transition, students can no longer complete degrees according to the old degree system. Policy 21: The transition of postgraduate (3 rd cycle) students to the new degree system must be as flexible as possible. When deciding on principles applied in the transition period and on individual cases, the University must ensure that the transition does not unnecessarily hinder or extend doctoral studies. For example, previously completed studies should be included in the new degree as fully as possible. Faculties will draw up instructions applying to the transition period and will inform their students of the content of these instructions. Further information: Support Group for the Reform of the Degree Structure P.O. Box 4 (Vuorikatu 3), University of Helsinki

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