When you and your supervisor consider your manuscript to be ready for pre-examination you will present the research in the postgraduate seminar and finalize the work based on given feedback. Before starting the preliminary examination procedure, the supervisor estimates whether the manuscript is ready to be offered for preliminary examination. The supervisor is committed to guide the last steps and to ensure that an unfinished manuscript is not put forward in the examination procedure.

After receiving the permission to print the thesis the student must deliver three copies of the thesis manuscript or of the article-based dissertation’s articles and an electronic version (email/usb) to faculty office to Secretary of Administrative Affairs Helena Juntunen  before the Faculty Council meeting that appoints the pre-examiners. When turning in the manuscript for pre-examination by the faculty, the student must be enrolled for attendance at the university.

The pre-examination process starts when the supervisor or supervisors deliver a written proposal to the faculty to send the manuscript for pre-examination. The author of the thesis may also request the faculty to appoint the pre-examiners and thereby to start the pre-examination process. The proposal/request to appoint the pre-examiners must be delivered to the Chief of Administration no later than two weeks before the Faculty Council meeting in which the pre-examiners are to be appointed.

The process supervisor and the Chief of Administration negotiate on suitable pre-examiners. A supervisor cannot act as a pre-examiner. The pre-examiners are invited from another university, another research institute, or a foreign university. When using a foreign pre-examiner, one must make sure that the criteria used at the University of Lapland are fulfilled. When selecting the pre-examiners, gender equality is observed as far as possible. Incapacity issues are as provided in the Administrative Act 434/2003, section 28. The pre-examiners must have a doctor's degree and their combined expertise must cover the field or fields, the subject area, and the methodological and theoretical frame of the work to be examined.

The Faculty Council names the pre-examiners of a dissertation. There are two pre-examiners. Before appointing the pre-examiners, the author is allowed to comment on the selection. The comment typically concerns incapacity issues.

The pre-examination must be set apart from the actual instruction and supervision process. The pre-examination is an external quality control method carried out by the academic community. Its purpose is to ensure that the research fulfills the criteria of scientific research and writing.

When the pre-examiners have been appointed, the faculty office sends the manuscript and the examination instructions and documents to the pre-examiners.


Having received an assignment the pre-examiners issue a well-founded, written statement on whether they consider a manuscript to be of such scientific value that the Faculty Council can authorize a public examination. The pre-examiners must give their statements within three months. The statements are delivered to the Faculty Office. A pre-examination statement on an article thesis must specify whether the topics of the articles form a uniform problem setting. A pre-examiner statement can only propose authorization or rejection of a public examination – it cannot contain conditions. The pre-examiner statements are delivered to the process supervisor and the author as soon as they arrive.

The author of the thesis is allowed to submit a reply to the pre-examiner statements. When submitting the reply, the author is entitled to request delaying the public examination permission to the next Faculty Council meeting. The pre-examiners may present the comments specifying their statements directly to the doctoral candidate.

Based on the pre-examiner statements the Faculty Council makes the final decision on permission to carry out a public examination. If the pre-examination statements are contradictory or too general, the Faculty Council may
  1. request the pre-examiners to specify their statements or
  2. acquire additional information to support its decision or
  3. acquire a third statement.

If permission for a public examination is denied, the pre-examination process is canceled and the dissertation returns to the supervisory process. The same pre-examiners may be used after the cancellation.

The process supervisor must ensure that the pre-examination statements are observed in finalizing the dissertation. However, the author has the main responsibility for the research and for the final form of the doctoral thesis.


When permission to proceed to a public examination has been granted, the Faculty Council appoints an Opponent/Opponents based on a proposal issued by the process supervisor. The selection criteria for the Opponent are the same as those for the pre-examiners. A pre-examiner may act as an Opponent. Before appointing the Opponent(s) the doctoral candidate is allowed to comment on the possible incapacity of the proposed Opponent(s).

The Custos must be a tenured professor of the discipline or a related discipline at the university. The faculty typically appoints the Custos and the Opponent(s) in the same meeting.

To determine the time and venue of the public examination, the process supervisor negotiates with the doctoral candidate, Custos, Opponent, and Chief of Administration, after which the Faculty Council decides the time and venue. Public examinations are typically arranged in the premises of the University of Lapland; other venues are exceptions. Room reservations are made by the faculty office when the event is arranged in the university premises. Other reservations are made by the doctoral candidates themselves.


The Opponent(s) must give a well-founded, written statement(s) of the dissertation. This is done either jointly or separately. The statements also contain grading proposals.

The Custos writes a statement of doctoral candidate’s defense in the public examination. Before the dissertation is graded, the author is reserved an opportunity to reply to the Opponent’s statement. The reply is addressed to the Faculty Council.

Based on the above-mentioned statements, the Faculty Council decides the approval and the grade of the dissertation. A doctoral thesis is graded according to the following seven-step scale:
  • approbatur
  • lubenter approbatur
  • non sine laude approbatur
  • cum laude approbatur
  • magna cum laude approbatur
  • eximia cum laude approbatur
  • laudatur

The author may issue a rectification request regarding the grading of the doctoral thesis. The request must be sent to the Faculty Council within 14 days from being informed of the grading decision.


  1. The manuscript is handed in for pre-examination to the faculty office in three (3) copies.
  2. The Faculty Council appoints at least two pre-examiners for the manuscript. The student is allowed to comment on the examiner candidates before the appointment decision is made.
  3. The Faculty Council grants permission to proceed to the public examination on the basis of the pre-examiner statements. The student is allowed to comment on the statements before the public examination decision is made.
  4. The Faculty Council appoints the Custos and the Opponent(s). Before making this decision, an opportunity is reserved for the student to comment on the opponent candidate(s).
  5. The Faculty Council rules the date of the public examination.
  6. The thesis must be published no later than ten days prior to its public examination.
  7.  Public examination of the thesis.
  8. The opponent(s) give their statements and grade proposals.
  9. The Faculty Council grades the thesis. Before making the grading decision, the author is allowed to comment on the statement(s) of the Opponent(s).
  10. The student may apply for a rectification of the Faculty Council’s grading decision.