Acknowledging the doctoral candidate as a member of the academic community is a starting point for a good supervisory relationship. The doctoral candidate has a professional right and duty to participate in sustaining and developing the academic community, regardless of the employer or funding source. The European Charter for Researchers contains principles about duties and rights of researchers, their employers or other funding sources.
The faculty appoints at least one supervisor for each doctoral candidate already when granting the doctoral study right. The doctoral candidate and supervisors are encouraged to interact and co-operate regularly and systematically. The supervising process and arrangements should aim at supporting the doctoral candidate’s development into an independent and responsible member of the academic community. Doctoral candidates are encouraged to seek support and supervisors should actively offer it, especially at the early stages of the doctoral path when the foundations of the whole process are built.
It is recommended to include doctoral candidates in teaching and supervising already at the beginning of the doctoral path. According to the general collective agreement for universities, it is possible for salaried junior researchers to participate in teaching and other tasks, but is should be included in the work plan and dimensioned properly to allow for completion of the dissertation within the planned timetable. It is generally recommended that no more than 5 % of the annual working time is used for teaching, and that teaching is linked to the individual’s own research interest where possible.
In addition to the appointed supervisor(s), the doctoral candidate can get support from the academic community: seminars, courses and mentoring are opportunities for advice from experienced teacher-researchers. Mentoring in this context means informal support and sharing know-how based on experience to younger colleagues. Mentors do not participate in supervising but rather help the younger colleague in more general, professional challenges and advise the candidate in other questions arising on the doctoral path, such as publishing processes, networking and academic traditions. Mentors also share information about current topics of which they typically have first-hand information due to their expert roles in academia and the society at large.
In addition to supervisors and mentors, the doctoral candidate can ask for support from various units at the university: Library, Communications and External Relations, International Relations, Research Support Services, and the Graduate School team will be happy to assist.
The supervisor and the doctoral candidate should together fill in and sign the supervising agreement
The agreement is
• a document that describes the responsibilities and duties of the people involved – the principles for sharing workload are included
• articulates the working methods and schedules agreed on to support the dissertation process
• is in line with and strengthens the doctoral candidate's personal study plan
• brings the university's recommendations for good supervising practices to a concrete level.
Doctoral study plan (JOPS)
The doctoral study plan (in Finnish often referred to as JOPS, short for jatko-opintosuunnitelma) is the doctoral candidate's plan for completing a doctoral degree. In addition to studies that are included in the degree, the doctoral candidate should also give some consideration to career planning and reflect on his/her progress on the doctoral path.
The form is also used in the candidate's annual discussion with the supervisor(s) whereby focus is laid on progress of the dissertation and studies.
Good supervising practices
Developing a good supervisory relationship is one of the prerequisites for a successful dissertation. The starting point of our recommendations is to support the candidate in taking an active role as an acknowledged member of the academic community. The recommendations aim at creating systematic communication and co-operation between the candidate and supervisors on a regular basis. The recommendations outline responsibilities and duties at a general level to be defined more accurately by the parties involved. Supervising practices vary somewhat between faculties.
Read the recommendations >
If a research topic or setting requires ethical consideration, the doctoral candidate can ask our research ethics committee for a statement. Due attention to ethical questions is in order if your research involves minors, for example. The funding source, co-operation partner or publication channel of your research may also require ethical review.
Read more >
The faculty council grants the doctoral candidate permission to defend the dissertation. The council also appoints both the opponent and the custos. The public examination is arranged no earlier than four weeks after permission to defend the dissertation has been granted so that there is enough time for preparations. When the permission has been granted, the administrative secretary of the faculty sends a letter to the doctoral candidate to provide further advice about the arrangements. The faculty covers the travel and accommodation costs of the opponent while helping with other practicalities. The administrative secretary also contacts the custos and the opponent about to make necessary arrangements.
Read the guidelines >
Publishing a dissertation
The library has guidelines about publishing a dissertation. The dissertation must be published at least ten (10) days prior to the public defence. The faculty and the library both require final copies of the published dissertation at least ten (10) days prior to the defence; the number of copies required varies between faculties. The publisher's timetable must therefore be taken into account when planning the public defence.
If the doctoral candidate is graduating from the Faculty of Art and Design and the dissertation includes an artistic production, a series of productions, a product development project or their recording, the doctoral candidate must announce the location for viewing at least ten (10) days prior to the public defence.
Press release about a dissertation
The Communications and External Relations at the University of Lapland will e-mail the doctoral candidate well before the public examination to discuss communication about the dissertation. The candidate should write a draft to be further edited into a press release. The draft should be delivered to the Communications and External Relations no later than two weeks prior to the public examination.
Language versions and their distribution should also be agreed on well in advance.
Read more >
A lectio praecursoria is a short presentation or an introductory lecture given by the doctoral candidate about the background and most interesting points of the research. A good lectio praecursoria is understandable also to those who have not familiarised themselves with the dissertation earlier.
Read more about lectio praecursoria >