Examination procedure of the doctoral dissertation

Preliminary examination  

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.

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 postgraduate 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 final manuscript of the doctoral thesis must be left to the faculty office for pre-examination in three copies no later than one day 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 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 postgraduate is allowed to comment on the selection. The comment typically concerns incapacity issues. When the pre-examiners have been appointed, the faculty office sends the manuscript and the examination instructions and documents to the pre-examiners.

Permission for a public examination

The pre-examiners issue a statement on whether they consider a manuscript to be of such scientific value that the Faculty Council can authorize a public examination. A pre-examination statement on an article dissertation 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.

Having received an assignment the pre-examiners must give their well-founded, written statements within three months. The statements are delivered to the Faculty Office. The pre-examiner statements are delivered to the process supervisor and the postgraduate as soon as they arrive.

The postgraduate is allowed to submit a reply to the pre-examiner statements. When submitting the reply, the postgraduate 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 postgraduate.

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 postgraduate has the main responsibility for the research and for the final form of the doctoral thesis.