Requirements for Doctoral Dissertation and Licentiate Thesis

The most important part of the doctoral degree is research in the main subject field, resulting in a doctoral dissertation or a licentiate thesis. NOTE! Faculty-specific complementary instructions can be found at the webpages of the doctoral programmes.

Doctoral Dissertation

The doctoral dissertation demonstrates the student’s in-depth knowledge of the field of research, related fields and the philosophy of science. Furthermore, the dissertation demonstrate his/her ability to apply the methods of scientific research into practice both independently and critically in his/her field of research as well as independently generate new information.

According to the Recommendation of the Finnish Council of University Rectors (7 December 1998), a dissertation shall:

  1. show the doctoral abilities in independent research work,
  2. form a coherent whole
  3. be based on original idea and aims; and
  4. present new results or ideas.

A dissertation can be:

  • a monograph
  • article-based or compilation dissertation which comprises a sufficient number of publications, or manuscripts accepted for publication dealing with the same set of problems:
    a)In addition to the articles, the dissertation includes a summary
    b)The articles form the chapters of the dissertation. In addition to article chapters, the dissertation usually also includes an introductory chapter and a chapter for conclusions.

In the summary of the compilation, the doctoral candidate presents the background, aims, methods, results and conclusions of the research. A name is given to the dissertation. The purpose of the article-based dissertation is not to unnecessarily copy sections of the articles included in it but to arrange and interpret the information introduced in those publications. In addition, the author looks at new problems that are to be solved.

If one or more articles that form a part of the dissertation are joint publications, the doctoral candidate must provide a written clarification on his/her individual contribution to them. The student’s postgraduate supervisors are asked to give an opinion on the clarification. For a justified reason, the same article may be used as a part of another doctoral dissertation as well.

In business an essay-based dissertation can also be approved. The essay-based dissertation comprises at least three published or unpublished independent entities dealing with the same set of research problems. Some of these entities may be scientific articles or other publications and unpublished essays.

Licentiate Thesis

The licentiate thesis demonstrates the student’s in-depth knowledge of the field of research as well as his/her ability to apply the methods of scientific research into practice both independently and critically.            

The licentiate thesis can be a single piece of research (a monograph). Alternatively, it can consist of a sufficient number of scientific publications, or manuscripts accepted for publication, accompanied with a summary, which examine the same set of problems. The licentiate thesis can also be another scientific work which meets the same criteria. If the thesis is a collection of separate publications or manuscripts, their total must have the scientific value required of a licentiate thesis.

If the licentiate thesis consists of scientific publications or manuscripts accepted for publication which examine the same set of problems and are accompanied by a summary, the summary must specify the research background, aims, methods, results and conclusions. The summary is given a separate title. It must be written so as to avoid unnecessarily repetition of what has already been written in the articles. Rather, the summary organises and draws conclusions from information which has been published in the research field and which the postgraduate student’s articles have significantly increased. The summary also discusses new problems yet to be solved. The summary is usually written for the licentiate thesis, but it can also have been published in a scientific journal.

If the publications include collaborative works, the postgraduate student’s independent contribution must be attested. The author must specify his/her part in the publication by writing a clarification. The student’s supervisors are asked to give a statement about the clarification. If justified, the same publication can also be included in another licentiate thesis.